Collection including correspondence, legal papers, photographs, newspapers, etc. relating to the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, and the construction of "Liberty Ships" during World War II.
The North Carolina Shipbuilding Company was a subsidiary firm of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Newport News, VA. This organization arose out of the need for increased shipping brought on by World War II. NCSC produced a total of 243 ships between the years of 1941 and 1946. The ships produced were all cargo-type vessels, largely of the well-known Liberty ship variety and C-2, the more powerful successor to the Liberty.
The collection consists of an original accession and an addition. The first accession is a collection of materials donated by Ms. Beth Crabtree. Ms. Crabtree used this material for research on her book The "Zebulon B. Vance", a United States Liberty ship. The book was originally published in 1956. The addition donated by Scott contains notes and research materials used for his master's thesis. This material makes up the greater part of the collection. Scott's thesis, Welding the Sinews of War: A History of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Corporation, was completed within the History Department of East Carolina University, Greenville, NC in 1979.
The bulk of the correspondence is to Ralph Lee Scott and his adviser, Dr. William Still, and concerns Scott's research. These letters are from organizations, such as the Newport News Shipyard, as well as private individuals. Other correspondence concerns the collection of material by the North Carolina Department of Archives and History for the publication of a pamphlet on S.S. Zebulon B. Vance, the first ship to be produced at the Wilmington shipyard. Specifically, this correspondence pertains to inquiries related to Vance initiated by the director and staff of the department to a wide variety of firms and individuals.
Legal documents in the collection include transcripts, interviews, and depositions from several National Labor Relation Board cases. The majority of these represent actions taken for and against union organizations related to the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company. Also included are photocopies of the certificate of registry and certificate of inspection for S.S. Zebulon B. Vance, and the commission of the U.S. Army hospital ship John J. Meany. Vance was converted to the hospital ship Meany after serving as a cargo vessel to Murmansk and the European theater of war. Later the ship was again named S.S. Zebulon B. Vance and converted to an Army transport ship used to carry "war-bride" dependents of servicemen to the United States.
Other materials include those compiled by Ralph Lee Scott in the preparation of his thesis. These relate to the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, North Carolina Ports Authority, and the United States Maritime Commission. The majority of the papers are production reports, copies of speeches, and safety records. Both the NC Ports Authority and US Maritime Commission played a large role in legal matters concerned with the NCSC. Also included are numerous notes and research materials compiled by Scott.
Printed materials include copies of newspaper articles, book excerpts, a biography of Zebulon B. Vance, official orders, assorted programs, itineraries, crew lists, ship publications, a personal account, and other papers relating to the activities of Vance in its varied roles. Booklets and pamphlets include The "Zebulon B. Vance", a United States Liberty ship by Beth G. Crabtree (State Department of Archives and History, 1962 edition) and Five Years of North Carolina Shipbuilding (North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, N.C., 1946). Worksheets and notes used in the preparation of a pamphlet on Vance can also be found in the collection. Among the periodicals are several issues of The North Carolina Shipbuilder, the company publication of the NCSC, several issues of Shipyard Bulletin, a company organ of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and copies of Maritime Reports and Marine Age, both shipbuilding publications.
The bulk of the photographs concern S.S. Zebulon B. Vance in its various roles of service. A sizeable portion of the photographs relate to the conversion of the ship to a hospital ship, and its activities as the same. Included is a photograph of Vance's first captain, and Vance as a transport.
Newspapers consist of several photocopied issues of The Independent Press. These issues include volumes 1, no. 1-7, 9-17 and 25 (14 May-22 June; 6 July–7 September; 12 October 1944), and were published by and for the employees of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company. Topics relate mainly to the competition between USA, the company union, and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) to organize the shipyard workers during World War II.
Gift of Beth G. Crabtree
Gift of Ralph Lee Scott
Processed by: October 1968 by Thomas H. Sloan
Revised May 2002 by Joshua Howard
Revised July 2008 by Dale Sauter
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.