Philadelphia Naval Shipyard collection, 1862–1996.
17 boxes, plus 4 oversize folders (8.9 linear feet).
About Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, formerly Navy Yard, was the first naval shipyard of the United States. The site’s role as a U.S. Navy facility ended on 30 September 1995. Soon after, the West end of the site became a commercial shipyard, currently called the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. The Navy still maintains a presence at the location, especially via Naval Surface Warfare Center Ship Systems Engineering Station, and the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NIMSF), which continues to store decommissioned and mothballed ships.

About the collection

This collection is scheduled to be arranged and described. Please stay tuned for updated collection information. A collection of papers, personnel records and memorabilia related to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Personnel materials include: employee/telephone directories; employee manuals; instruction manuals for shipriggers, shipfitters, machinists, and welders; trade skills description; glossary of shipbuilding terms; photographs of workers (portraits and candids of people at work and social gatherings); ID badges, stickers, and other ephemera; receipts and notes; and schedules of wages. Other papers and records include: roll of Sparmakers and Boatbuilders, 1873-1881; Foreman’s muster book of boatbuilders, coopers, and blockmakers, 1900-1905; List of vessels ordered, 1918-1920; time study for U.S. Navy shipbuilding, 1900-1910; plans on mylar of Naval Shipyard facilities and shops, 1974; booklet of general plans for USS Cimarron, 1939; an 1862 pamphlet “Navy Yard on the Delaware”; several Navy Day programs between 1914 and 1952; Appreciation Week program, 1983; invitations for launchings; visitors’ register from the office of the Shipyard Commander, 1964-1996; and PNSY letterhead. Apprentice school materials include: timesheets and schedules; commencement programs and certificates; graduation photographs of apprentices; and yearbooks. Printed materials in the collection include: manuals and journals on equipment and trade skills, many published by the Naval Training and Training Support Command; and printed labor agreements between Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the Metal Trades Council and the Planners, Estimators & Progressmen Association. Photographs in the collection include: images of the shipyard, a number related to the construction of USS Dobbin, circa 1920; other photographs of ship construction from the era of the 1920s; snapshots around the Navy Yard from the 1940s; shots of the drydocks and USS Valley Forge; photographs of the USMC Depot of Supplies, ca. 1940s; a 1981 photograph of the construction of I-95; approximately 150-200 glass lantern slides, circa 1919 and 1940s; and slides of “72 shop” ships, machine shops, workers. Closing Ceremony materials include: 4 copies of a video “Historical Journey of Excellence”; “Philadelphia Quality Process” video; “Meritorious Commendation Award Ceremony” video; the last ship deck log kept at the PNSY, 1996; 1991 photo of shipyard employees; statements on the yard’s closing by members of the “17 Shop”; a program and other materials for the 1996 closing ceremony. Additional items include: strategic planning reports; a 1993 Historic Preservation planning report; and a 1989 microfiche card index of Navy publications and forms.

Related collections
  • University of North Carolina, Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Records, 1832-1877, Collection Number 45
Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
  • Philadelphia Docks and Wharves
Sep 192010
James Barron papers, 1831–1836.
1 folder (0.08 linear feet).
About James Barron

James Barron (1768-1851) was a U.S. Naval officer. He was appointed as Lieutenant in 1798 and as Captain in 1799. He was commander of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard from 1824 to 1825 and from 1831 to 1837.

About the collection

This group of 16 letters received from John Rodgers, Isaac Chauncey and others, discuss maintenance of ships at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 1831-1836.

Related collections
  • University of North Carolina, Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard Records, 1832-1877, Collection Number 45 (includes letterpress copy book, 1832-1835, of James Barron at the Navy Yard, and official daily reports on activities, 1836-1837)
Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Independence Seaport Museum collection of Philadelphia Naval Shipyard oral histories, 1993–1999.
6 containers (4.5 linear feet).
About the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard oral history project

The Philadephia Naval Shipyard Oral History Project consists of a series of fifteen interviews exploring the history of work and community at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (PNSY) from the World War II era to the present. Most of the interviewees were former PNSY employees who worked as apprentices, journeymen, superintendents, clerks, and labor organizers in the yard’s core divisions. The project was conducted by the Philadelphia Maritime Museum (now the Independence Seaport Museum) and directed by Thomas Heinrich.

About the collection

This is a collection of interviews and papers from the Philadephia Naval Shipyard Oral History Project. Items in the collection include: CDs, audiocassettes, and DAT tapes of interviews; files on the project, including transcripts, release forms, correspondence, and questionnaires; and background materials on the Naval Shipyard and photocopies of newspaper articles.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Sep 192010
Josef Liener collection of Philadelphia Naval Shipyard photographs and memoranda, 1916–1957.
1 box, FIX (0.41 linear feet).
About Josef Liener

Josef Liener was a boat designer and builder. Established in 1799, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was the first Naval Shipyard in the United Sates. The shipyard was originally located in the Southwark region of Philadelphia, but was later relocated to its present site just upriver from the Philadelphia International Airport. For many years, the workload at the shipyard consisted primarily of new construction and conversions of ships. For example, during World War II the battleship Wisconsin, the aircraft carrier Antietam, and the cruisers Chicago and Los Angeles were launched in a period of seven months. However, during the late 1960s at the direction of Defense Secretary McNamara the Navy gradually phased out of the new construction business, turning this work over to the private sector. The last ship built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was the command ship USS Blue Ridge in 1970 and the yard was officially closed in 1995.

About the collection

This is a collection of approximately 450 black and white photos from the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Images document modeling, construction, and testing of vessels at the yard. Ships represented in the photographs include 40-foot and 50-foot utility boats, personnel and rescue boats, minesweeping launches, a LCVP (landing craft vehicle, personnel), and area command cutters. The collection also includes some photographs of personnel. Memos from the Industrial Department of the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and from the Navy Department, dated 1921 and 1942-1943, relate to materials and procedures to be used in glue-laminated wood construction.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Sep 192010
Joseph Sergi papers, 1988–1995.
1 box (0.2 linear feet).
About the collection

This is a collection of papers of Joseph J. Sergei. Materials include: photographs of Sergei and other employees at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; student manuals on drafting and shop equipment published by Naval Sea Systems Command; construction plans, general notes, removal and completion for the dental rooms and adjacent compartment aboard USS Kitty Hawk, circa 1986; construction plans for ventilation in the Combat Intelligence Center aboard USS Constellation; and a blank “significant incident form” from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Naval correspondence collection, 1831–1842.
1 box (0.2 linear feet).
About Naval correspondence

The Board of Naval Commissioners was a United States Navy administrative body in existence from 1815 to 1842. The establishment of the Board of Navy Commissioners by act of Congress on February 7, 1815 (3 Stat. 202), was the outgrowth of efforts to relieve the Secretary of the Navy of some of his responsibilities connected with the civil functions of the Navy so that he could devote more time to overall administration. The procurement of naval stores and materials; construction, armament, equipment, repair, and preservation of naval vessels; establishment of regulations to secure uniformity in the classes of naval vessels; preparation of estimates of expenditures for different parts of the naval service; and supervision of Navy yards, naval stations, and Navy agents became the responsibilities of the board. The Secretary retained control over personnel and appointments, movement of ships, and other administrative matters not delegated to the board.

About the collection

This is a collection of letters received by the Commanding Officer of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, sent by the U.S. Navy Department, Board of Navy Commissioners, including 59 signed by John Rodgers, 58 by Isaac Chauncey, 61 by Lewis Warrington, and 1 by A.P. Upshur. The letters concern the refitting, outfitting and building of ships at the yard, and while many refer to enclosures no longer with the letter, some include specifications and prices for timber, masts, sails, ordnance, etc. Ships mentioned in the letters include Warren, Pennsylvania, Raritan, and Enterprise.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
William L. Crothers papers, 1935–1972.
5 volumes, 1 folder (0.33 linear feet).
About William L. Crothers

William L. Crothers was born in 1912. In 1935 Crothers started employment in the Design Division of the Philadelphia Navy Yard (later named the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard). In the same year he joined the Philadelphia Ship Model Society. Crothers retired from the shipyard in 1972.

About the collection

This is a collection of personnel records of William Leech Crothers from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Documents in the collection date from 1935 to 1972 and include: letters regarding appointments, promotions, and pay increases; job description forms; travel requests; performance ratings; applications for positions; photocopies of draft cards; and an “honorary retired membership” card. Printed volumes include publications from Bethlehem Steel Company related to steel plates and structural shapes, circa 1930s; and column tables and mathematical tables.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Sep 192010
Michael Mally photographs, 1986–1994.
2 flat boxes (0.33 linear feet).
About Michael Mally

Michael Mally was a staff photographer at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He had previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, and his photographs have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Forbes, and numerous other publications. He followed the Navy Yard story since his arrival in Philadelphia and his photographs were used to illustrate Steve Twomey’s 1986 Pulitzer Prize winning account in the Inquirer of aircraft carriers at the Yard.

About the collection

The photographs document the final decades of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and its workers. Twenty-six photographic prints by Michael Mally of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, shipyard workers, vessels, foundry, and machinery at the shipyard (1986-1994). Vessels include USS Constellation, USS Inchon, USS Kennedy, USS Garcia, USS Independence, and USS Biddle. Also includes 20 slides of workers and foundry. The photos were used in an exhibit at the Independence Seaport Museum in 1995.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Sep 192010
Domenic Brancato papers, 1905–1986.
2 boxes (0.83 linear feet).
About Domenic Brancato

Domenic Brancato (1905-1986) started working in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard at age 14 and worked there for about 50 years.

About the collection

This is a collection of papers of Domenic Brancato. Materials include: Brancato family photo albums, 1920s-1960s, one with newspaper clippings related to Brancato’s 50 year anniversary with the Navy Yard and other clippings about his career; photographs of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard facilities showing workers on the job and group photos of work units, visits of various officers and guests, dinners and awards ceremonies, and photo postcards of ships at sea; correspondence related to Brancato’s career, mainly official Navy Yard letters, memoranda, and personnel records; and a manuscript autobiography written in 1984. A small number of personal papers, including: correspondence; cards; newspaper clippings; name plates and ID tags; a DOD Metal Identification chart; photographs and photocopies of certificates, awards, and letters of congratulation for his long service; and ephemera. The collection also includes photographs of Brancato’s son Peter during his service in the Air Force and a copy of the 150th anniversary booklet on the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Library reference files that may contain related information
  • Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
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