The Blog

Papers of California Shipbuilding Corporation 1941-1976

i Jun 9th No Comments by
CalShip Log cover, September 1, 1941

The first bi-monthly issue of CalShip Log, September 1, 1941.

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 75.

The collection contains 10.5 cubic feet of photographic prints and negatives, 17.75 linear feet of oversized photographic prints, and 3 cubic feet of documents.

Read the collection guide at Online Archive of California.

Description: California Shipbuilding Corporation built 467 Liberty and Victory ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

This collection contains documents, correspondence, personnel lists, publications, motion pictures, and photographs of ship launchings and activities and events at the shipyard. The photographic prints and negatives in the collection were created to publicize the ships in local media. CalShip Log, a bi-weekly magazine for employees was published by the firm from September 1941 to September 1945.

Biographical Notes: California Shipbuilding Corporation was created by the United States Maritime Commission as an emergency shipyard to build cargo and transport ships for World War II. The shipyard, built in January 1941, was located on Terminal Island, near Long Beach and San Pedro, California. The first ship was launched later that year on September 27th. Each completed ship was launched with pomp and circumstance. Each ship had a sponsor who christened the ship by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow. The sponsors ranged from employees to contest winners to film and radio stars.

The photographic collection includes a range of images and subjects: employees, managers and personnel, events, guests, sponsors, ship launches, ships underway, ships construction, and aerial photographs of the shipyard were featured. The photographic prints are 5” x 7” and form the bulk of the collection. Additionally, prints in large format (8” x 10” up to 16” x 20”) include thematic groups of images selected to illustrate company history and ships underway. Graphic posters were created to urge employees to maintain and use good on-the-job habits–a campaign to make CalShip a safe place to work.

Highlights include portraits of women whose acquired skills were once considered the domain of men, such as arc welding, portraits of sponsors, and those of managers, lend a personal side to the collection.

A selection of images from this collection can be viewed on this website at Online Exhibits.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment: To view the collection in person, please make an appointment online.

Announcing a Library Sale…

i May 26th No Comments by
Library Book Sale Spring 2015

Library Book Sale.

Books that are duplicates or otherwise taken out of our collection are ready for your inspection! Books are generally in very good to excellent condition and would be wonderful additions to your own collections in selected topic areas. Our Book Sale offers topics in sailing and yachting, naval history, navigation and the history of sail. You can see the book lists here. Follow the instructions for ordering a book which are given on the first page of the pdfs. Treasure these books which were once owned as resources by maritime-history enthusiasts like yourself!

William A. Bergstrom Engineering Collection of California Shipbuilding Corporation

i May 22nd No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 1

Image of construction worker standing above steam winch.

California Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard construction worker guiding head block and boom in Liberty and Victory ship construction circa 1941.

Shipbuilding and engineering together form the science of ship design and the skills required in ship construction. Challenges include the design aspects of stability, strength, speed, buoyancy, rolling, and trim. Engineers practice this science with an array of tools and a knowledge of physics, materials, and the properties of water.

Description: The William A. Bergstrom Collection is a collection of photographic prints, documents and training manuals that pertain to engineering and shipbuilding at the California Shipbuilding Corporation during World War II. The collection offers a glimpse of twentieth century building standards and innovation. Prints depict a range of subjects from model ship to full size construction, displaying both prototypical designs and hull and engine construction phases. The collection also contains training manuals used for employees of the corporation.

Biographical Notes: William Bergstrom was trained at California Shipbuilding Corporation by his father-in-law, Cyril Hubert, a chief engineer. Bergstrom became Chief Loftsman (the supervisor in charge of making full-size templates of ship parts) and coordinated all training in the loft (a large open area which can accommodate the full-size plans of a ship). After World War II, the shipyard closed and Bergstrom and Hubert worked at MGM Studios building sets. Later Bergstrom founded the “Vent-a-Hood” company in Buena Park, California.

A selection of images from this collection can be viewed at online exhibits.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment: To view the collection in person, please make an appointment online.

Charles L. Sauerbier, USNR

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 62

Press release image, dated 1963.

Press release image, dated 1963.

The collection of Charles L. Sauerbier shows his work with the Indonesian maritime academy. Charles Sauerbier is also the author of the book, “Marine Cargo Operations”, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1956.

Abstract: A collection of documents (photographic prints, printed brochures, presented papers, maps and ephemera) related to Charles Sauerbier’s work with a maritime academy in Indonesia in the 1960s.

Biographical information: Charles Sauerbier is the author of “Marine Cargo Operations”. At the time it was published he was chief of the Cargo Section, Department of Nautical Science, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online..

The Liberty Manufacturer, a cargo ship

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 44

8 x 10 photographic print, a copy, of the Liberty Manufacturer, grounded near Pt. Fermin at San Pedro Bay, California, 1972.

8 x 10 photographic print, a copy, of the Liberty Manufacturer, grounded near Pt. Fermin at San Pedro Bay, California, 1972.

The Sven Olsen Collection of the SS LIBERTY MANUFACTURER describes the events of an incident just outside the Los Angeles Harbor in the early fall of 1972.

Description:
The collection contains newspaper articles, snapshot images in color taken by the creator of the collection, and his diary account of the incident and events following it. Formats include newspaper clippings, photographs, and CD scans of selected newspaper articles.

Scope note: Specifications were not found in ships registers for this vessel, although the name and port of registry are shown painted on the hull at the time of this incident.

Biographical notes:
The LIBERTY MANUFACTURER was an 8000-ton cargo ship, carrying wood pulp and paper board en-route from Louisiana to Japan in early fall of 1972. The ship had begun to make its way into the Main Channel at Los Angeles Harbor when it ran aground just outside the channel. The cause of the mishap is suggested by the creator of these records. After a few days the ship was towed into San Pedro for repairs and later released back to duty.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

Papers of Perry G. Davis

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 50

The collection was created by Perry G. Davis, a sailor in the U.S. Navy. He sailed with the Great White Fleet, travelling to Japan and China early in the 20th century.

Description: Postcards of scenes in Asia and the United States: 25 rural or urban scenes in China, 15 rural or urban scenes in Japan, 2 post card sets with applied color, mounted, of the Great White Fleet Tour of Asia, 1 U.S. scene depicting the winners of race of oarsmen in dory from USS SOUTH DAKOTA, 1 New Zealand water and landscape scene.

Biographical Note: Perry G. Davis (born 1886 in Missouri) was a sailor in the United States Navy on ships of the Great White Fleet during its tour of the Orient. Dates given in his journal and seaman’s papers are between 1908-1911.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

The Ocean Waif

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 24

From a contact print in the Matthew Joseph Walsh Collection showing Ocean Waif and Thorobred in yacht racing competition, circa 1915.

The collection contains documents from the operation of a 20th century schooner.

Description: Contains early history, and operation and maintenance of the vessel when it was owned by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Biographical notes: The ocean Waif was designed by Hugh Angelman as a 42-foot staysail schooner, built and launched at the Wilmington Boat Works (WILBO) in 1927. The schooner was raced successfully on the West coast, and sometime later the schooner was re-rigged as a ketch. The ketch was donated to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in 1988.

Administrative Information:
Repository: Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library
Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

Elmer Ellwood Bright

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 43

This collection contains illustrations, photographic prints, artifacts of diving collected by Elmer Bright, a diver for the U.S. Navy between the late 1920s and the late 1960s.

Description: Artifacts of diving are found in the Main Gallery of the Museum.

The Papers of Elmer Bright contain correspondence concerning questions and queries about Bright’s co-workers, colleagues and supervisors gathered by Torrance Parker during the research phase for Parker’s book “20,000 Jobs Under the Sea”. His collection also contains personal correspondence and memorabilia, books, manuals, working notes and instructions, awards, newspaper clippings, photographic prints, and souvenirs.

Biographical Note: Elmer Ellsworth Bright was born in Philadelphia PA on June 6th, 1911. He served in the U.S Navy as Seaman 1st Class, from August 1st, 1928 to May 24th, 1932, working as a diver in the Pacific Fleet. Following his U.S Navy service, he worked at an East coast naval shipyard, and later at Long Beach Naval Shipyard from 1943 until his retirement on June 6th, 1966. His working life from U.S Navy service through retirement from Long Beach Naval Shipyard was connected with diving as a diver, technician, instructor or consultant. The family stated that he died at about 90 years of age.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

SS Matsonia, a cargo ship

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 59

The collection is entitled SS MATSONIA Reconstruction, March 1987 to October 1987.

Description: Collection of Papers Relating to the SS MATSONIA Re-Construction at Todd Pacific Shipyard in 1987. Collection contains documents relating to certificates, interoffice memos, lists of documents, consumables and tools that represent the re-construction.
Physical Characteristics: The paper documents are mostly photocopied documents arranged by subject or corporate name. Three files of photographic prints are included. Two of these directly relate to the reconstruction of the ship; the earlier file shows portraits of naval officers and L.A. Shipbuilding personnel.

Biography: in 1987 by TODD Shipyard of the SS MATSONIA, a 15,000 ton oil freighter built in 1973 at Chester, Pennsylvania. The vessel was originally built in 1973 for the First Interstate Bank of San Francisco.

Administrative Information:Please inquire at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

George Billings, 5-Masted Schooner

i Mar 4th No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 21

Photograph of the logbook for the George Billings, dated 1917-1922.

The collection contains documents of the GEORGE BILLINGS, a 5-masted schooner.

Abstract: The George Billings collection contains ships log books and supporting documentation covering the period of operation of the 5-masted schooner “George E. Billings” as a merchantman in Pacific waters between the years 1905 and 1923.Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment: To view the collection, please make an appointment online.