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The Launch

January 15, 2010

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The launch of a ship has been the topic of celebration for hundreds of years.  The tradition of having a lady christen a ship as it left the cradle and headed toward the deep began in the early 1900’s, peaking during WWII as hundreds of ships left the docks adorning each American shore.

These old photos of launch parties and the celebration of ships heading to sea, capture the moment during its heyday and offer a glimpse into the romanticism of the time.  A time when people took what they wore and dressing well seriously; not a poorly dressed person in sight.

As for the ships, most of these are Liberty Ships and were commissioned at shipyards in either Camden, New Jersey or San Francisco, California, two powerhouses during the war.  Other heavy hitters included shipyards in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Charleston, Mass., Staten Island & Brooklyn, N.Y. and Philadelphia, Penn.

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S.S. Patrick Henry, September 1941, San Francisco, California.

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S.S. Ocean Voice, 1941, San Francisco, California.

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USS Nashville, October 2, 1937. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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SS Eurana, July 16, 1921. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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SS Camden, November 24, 1920. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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USS Bainbridge, June 12, 1920. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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USS Reuben James, October 4, 1919. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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SS Lone Star State, December 23, 1920. New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey.

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