New York Shipbuilding Corporation

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (or New York Ship for short) was an American shipbuilding company that operated from 1899 to 1968, ultimately completing more than 500 vessels for the U.S. Navy, the United States Merchant Marine, the United States Coast Guard, and other maritime concerns. At its peak during World War II, NYSB was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world. Its best-known vessels include the destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245), the cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), the nuclear-powered cargo ship NS Savannah, and a quartet of cargo-passenger liners nicknamed the Four Aces.

New York Shipbuilding Corporation
HeadquartersCamden, New Jersey


It was founded in 1899 by Henry G. Morse (1850—2 June 1903),[note 1] an engineer noted in connection with bridge design and construction and senior partner of Morse Bridge Company.[1] The original plan was to build a shipyard on Staten Island, thus the name of the company.[2] Plans to acquire a site failed and, after exploration as far south as Virginia with special attention being paid to the Delaware River area, a location in the southern part of Camden, New Jersey, chosen instead.[3] Site selection specifically considered the needs of the planned application of bridge building practices of prefabrication and assembly line production of ships in covered ways.[4] Construction of the plant began in July 1899 and was so rapid that the keel of the first ship was laid November 1900.[1] That ship, contract number 1, was M. S. Dollar, later to be modified as an oil tanker and renamed J. M. Guffey.[5][note 2] Two of the first contracts were for passenger ships that were among the largest then being built in the United States: #5 for Mongolia and #6 for Manchuria.[6] Morse died after securing contracts for 20 ships. He was followed as president by De Coursey May.[1]

On November 27, 1916, a special meeting of the company's stockholders ratified sale of the "fifteen million dollar plant" to a group of companies composed of American International Corporation, International Mercantile Marine Co., W. R. Grace and Company and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.[7][note 3]

New York Ship's unusual covered ways produced everything from aircraft carriers, battleships, and luxury liners to barges and car floats.

Air view, Yorkship Village ca 1920
Air view of Yorkship Village.
Camden Shipyard 1919
Eight destroyers of the Wickes class, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 1919.

During World War I, New York Ship expanded rapidly to fill orders from the U.S. Navy and the Emergency Fleet Corporation. A critical shortage of worker housing led to the construction of Yorkship Village, a planned community of 1,000 brick homes designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield and financed by the War Department. Yorkship Village is now the Fairview section of the City of Camden.

New York Ship's World War II production included all nine Independence-class light carriers (CVL), built on Cleveland-class light cruiser hulls; the 35,000-ton battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57); and 98 LCTs (Landing Craft, Tank), many of which took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy.

After World War II, a much-diminished New York Ship subsisted on a trickle of contracts from the United States Maritime Administration and the U.S. Navy. In 1959 the yard launched the NS Savannah, the world's first nuclear powered merchant ship. The yard launched its last civilian vessel (SS Export Adventurer) in 1960, and its last naval vessel, USS Camden, was ordered in 1967. The company's final completed submarine was USS Guardfish (SSN-612), which had been ordered in the early 1960s, but construction was halted from 1963 to 1965 because of the loss of the USS Thresher. Guardfish was commissioned in December 1967.

In 1968, lacking new naval orders, NYS went bankrupt. USS Pogy (SSN-647), then under construction, was towed to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for completion.

The yard's site is now part of the Port of Camden.

Ships built

Ships built by New York Ship include:

See also


  1. ^ Not to be confused with architect Henry Grant Morse, Jr. (1884—May 28, 1934).
  2. ^ U.S. Navy as USS J. M. Guffey (ID-1279) commissioned 14 October 1918 at Invergorden, Scotland, decommissioned Philadelphia 17 June 1919 (DANFS).
  3. ^ On page 510 of the reference notes that American International Corporation holds interests in the International Mercantile Marine Company, Pacific Mail Steamship, Grace Lines and other ocean transportation companies. The same journal in the October issue, page 440, states American International Corporation had "control of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company."


  1. ^ a b c Marine Engineering (July 1903).
  2. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 9.
  3. ^ American International Corporation 1920, pp. 9—10.
  4. ^ American International Corporation 1920, pp. 10—11.
  5. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 17.
  6. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 19.
  7. ^ Marine Engineering (December 1916).
  8. ^ Shipscribe: SS Plymouth- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  9. ^ Shipscribe: SS Fairmont- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  10. ^ Shipscribe: SS Winding Gulf- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  11. ^ Shipscribe: SS Tidewater- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  12. ^ Shipscribe: SS Glen White- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  13. ^ Google books: The Rudder; SS Sewalls Point(Thomas Fleming Day, Fawcett Publications, 1919, pp. 233)
  14. ^ Shipscribe: SS Franklin- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  15. ^ Shipscribe: SS William N. Page- Retrieved 2017-08-15


  • American International Corporation (1920). History and development of New York Shipbuilding Corporation.
  • Marine Engineering (1903). "Death of Henry G. Morse, President New York Shipbuilding Company". Marine Engineering. New York: Marine Engineering Incorporated. 8 (July 1903): 376. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  • Marine Engineering (1916). "Shipbuilding and General Marine News". Marine Engineering. New York: Marine Engineering Incorporated. 21 (December 1916): 510, 557. Retrieved 4 March 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 39°54′39″N 75°7′20″W / 39.91083°N 75.12222°W

Abram S. Hewitt (fireboat)

The Abram S. Hewitt was a coal-powered fireboat operated by the Fire Department of New York City from 1903 to 1958.

She was the department's last coal-powered vessel and had a pumping capacity of 7,000 gallons per minute.

She was launched on July 11, 1903, at the shipyards of the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. She was commissioned in October 1903, and was named after recently deceased former mayor Abram Hewitt.

Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation

Bethlehem Steel Corporation Shipbuilding Division was created in 1905 when the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, acquired the San Francisco shipyard Union Iron Works. In 1917 it was incorporated as Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Limited; otherwise known as BethShip.Headquarters were in Quincy, Massachusetts, after acquiring the Fore River Shipyard in 1913, and later in Sparrows Point, Maryland, southeast of Baltimore, Maryland, in formerly rural/now suburban Baltimore County, (acquired 1916), in 1964.

In 1940, it was number 1 of the "Big Three" U.S. shipbuilders who could build any ship. Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock and New York Shipbuilding Corporation (New York Ship) were #2 and #3. Bethlehem had 4 yards in early 1940: Fore River, Sparrows Point, San Francisco, and Staten Island. Bethlehem expanded during World War II as a result of the Emergency Shipbuilding program administered under the United States Maritime Commission.

The Quincy / Fore River yard was later sold to General Dynamics Corporation in the mid-1960s, and closed in 1986. The Alameda Works Shipyard in California was closed by Bethlehem Steel in the early 1970s, while the San Francisco facility (former Union Iron Works) was sold to British Aerospace in the mid-1990s and survives today as BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair.

Bethlehem Steel ceased shipbuilding activities in 1997 in an attempt to preserve its core steel making operations.

Cleveland-class cruiser

The Cleveland class was a group of light cruisers built for the U.S. Navy during World War II, and were the most numerous class of light cruisers ever built.

List of ship launches in 1921

The list of ship launches in 1921 includes a chronological list of some ships launched in 1921.

List of ship launches in 1943

The list of ship launches in 1943 includes a chronological list of some of the ships launched in 1943.

SS Manhattan (1931)

SS Manhattan was a 24,189-ton luxury liner of the United States Lines, named after a borough of New York City.

USS Atlanta (CL-104)

USS Atlanta (CL-104) of the United States Navy was a Cleveland-class light cruiser during World War II. She was the fourth Navy ship named after the city of Atlanta, Georgia.

The ship was laid down on 25 January 1943 at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, launched on 6 February 1944, sponsored by Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind, who also sponsored the previous Atlanta (CL-51)), and commissioned on 3 December 1944, Captain B. H. Colyear in command.

USS Babbitt (DD-128)

USS Babbitt (DD–128) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II, later classified as AG-102. She was named for Fitz Babbitt.

Babbitt was launched on 30 September 1918 at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, sponsored by Miss Lucile Burlin. The destroyer was commissioned on 24 October 1919, Commander William E. Eberle in command, and reported to the Pacific Fleet.

USS Badger (DD-126)

USS Badger (DD–126) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I. She was named for Commodore Oscar C. Badger.

Badger was launched 24 August 1918 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey; sponsored by Mrs. Henry F. Bryan, granddaughter of Commodore Badger; commissioned 29 May 1919, Commander Q. T. Swasey in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

USS Dayton (CL-105)

USS Dayton (CL-105) was a Cleveland-class light cruiser of the United States Navy. The ship was named after the city of Dayton, Ohio.

The ship was launched 19 March 1944 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, sponsored by Mrs. H. Rueger, and commissioned 7 January 1945, Captain Paul William Steinhagen in command. Construction for Dayton was underwritten in part by the citizens of the City of Dayton Ohio through the purchase of war bonds.

USS Fall River (CA-131)

USS Fall River (CA-131) was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy. Launched on 13 August 1944 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey, sponsored by Mrs. Alexander C. Murray, wife of the mayor of Fall River; and commissioned on 1 July 1945, Captain David Stolz Crawford in command.

USS Hatfield (DD-231)

USS Hatfield (DD-231/AG-84) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for John Hatfield, killed in action 1813.

Hatfield was launched 17 March 1919 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation; sponsored by Helen Brooks Haugh; and commissioned 16 April 1920, Lieutenant N. Vytlacil in command.

USS Herbert (DD-160)

USS Herbert (DD-160) was a Wickes-class destroyer. She was named for Hilary A. Herbert (1834–1919), Secretary of the Navy from 1893 to 1897.

Herbert was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden in New Jersey on 9 April 1918, launched on 8 May 1919 by Mrs. Benjamin Micou, daughter of the late Hilary A. Herbert and commissioned on 21 November 1919, Lieutenant Commander E. A. Logan in command.

USS Hopkins (DD-249)

USS Hopkins (DD-249/DMS-13) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the third ship named USS Hopkins and the third named for Esek Hopkins.

Hopkins was launched 26 June 1920 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation; sponsored by Miss Sarah Babbitt, a descendant of Esek Hopkins; and commissioned 21 March 1921 at Philadelphia, Lieutenant Commander C. A. Bailey commanding.

USS Lawrence (DD-250)

The fourth USS Lawrence (DD-250) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for James Lawrence.

Lawrence was laid down 14 August 1919 and launched 10 July 1920 by New York Shipbuilding Corporation; sponsored by Miss Ruth Lawrence, and commissioned 18 April 1921, Lt. Cmdr. J. E. Wellbrook in command.

USS Reuben James (DD-245)

USS Reuben James (DD-245)—a post-World War I, four-funnel Clemson-class destroyer—was the first United States Navy ship sunk by hostile action in the European theater of World War II and the first named for Boatswain's Mate Reuben James (c.1776–1838), who distinguished himself fighting in the First Barbary War.

Reuben James was laid down on 2 April 1919 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, New Jersey, launched on 4 October 1919, and commissioned on 24 September 1920, with Commander Gordon W. Hines in command. The destroyer was sunk by a torpedo attack from German submarine U-552 near Iceland on 31 October 1941, before the U.S. had officially entered the war.

USS Schenck (DD-159)

USS Schenck (DD-159) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral James F. Schenck, USN (1807–1882).

Schenck was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden in New Jersey on 26 March 1918, launched on 23 April 1919, sponsored by Miss Mary Janet Earle and commissioned on 30 October 1919, Commander N. H. Goss in command.

USS Tattnall (DD-125)

USS Tattnall (DD–125) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first ship named for Captain Josiah Tattnall.

Tattnall was laid down at Camden, New Jersey, on 1 December 1917 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation; launched on 5 September 1918; sponsored by Miss Sarah Campbell Kollock; and commissioned on 26 June 1919, Commander Gordon Wayne Haines in command.

USS Washington (BB-47)

USS Washington (BB-47), a Colorado-class battleship, was the second ship of the United States Navy named in honor of the 42nd state. Her keel was laid down on 30 June 1919, at Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. She was launched on 1 September 1921, sponsored by Miss Jean Summers, the daughter of Congressman John W. Summers of Washington.

On 8 February 1922, two days after the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments, all construction work ceased on the 75.9%-completed superdreadnought. She was sunk as a gunnery target on 26 November 1924, by the battleships New York and Texas.

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