North Carolina Shipbuilding Collection

1939-1979, undated
Manuscript Collection #62
Creator(s)
Crabtree, Beth G.; Scott, Ralph L.
Physical description
1.043 Cubic Feet, 7 boxes, copies and originals consisting of correspondence, legal papers, photographs, newspapers, printed material, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
North Carolina Shipbuilding Collection (#62), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

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.


Biographical/historical information

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.


Scope and arrangement

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.


Administrative information
Custodial History

August 30, 1968, ca. 250 items; Correspondence, reports, magazines, clippings, photographs, etc., concerning the shipbuilding industry in North Carolina, particularly during the 1940s. Gift of Miss Beth G. Crabtree, Raleigh, N.C.

June 28, 1988, (addition 1) ca. 500 items; Research Notes, Photocopies of archival records and published materials pertaining to shipbuilding and the North Carolina shipbuilding company. Donor: Mr. Ralph Lee Scott.

May 21, 2008, (addition 2) 17 items, 0.084 cubic feet; Collection (14 May-22 June; 6 July-7 September; 12 October 1944) of The Independent Press newspapers, Vol. 1, no. 1-7, 9-17, 25, published by and for the employees of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, NC, relating 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; photocopies of original newspapers in the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America Archives, University of Maryland at College Park, MD Library. 11" x 17". See preliminary inventory attached. Donor: Mr. Ralph Lee Scott.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Beth G. Crabtree

Gift of Ralph Lee Scott

Processing information

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

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Container list
Box 1 Folder a Letters pertaining to the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company and S.S. Zebulon B. Vance, a hospital ship 1948-1956
Box 1 Folder b Letters pertaining to the surplus yards located in Wilmington, North Carolina after World War II 1947-1951
Box 1 Folder c Letters pertaining to the founding and building of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company 1939-1942
Box 1 Folder d Correspondence from various persons to both Ralph Scott and William Still 1975-1977
Box 1 Folder e Correspondence between various persons and William Still, Ralph Scott's thesis director 1975-1979
Box 2 Folder a Clippings (Newport News Daily Press) concerning building of shipyards, union organization, and the anti-union NLRB cases 1941-1945
Box 2 Folder b Clippings (Raleigh News and Observer) concerning the actions against unions, the NC Ship. Co.'s operations and wartime activities in Wilmington 1941-1949
Box 2 Folder c Clippings (Shipyard Worker) concerning the evolution of the NC Shipbuilding Company, workers, and ship production, 1942-1946
Box 2 Folder d Clippings (Wilmington Morning Star) concerning the evolution of the shipyards, ships built at the NCSB, and the economy of Wilmington 1941-1949
Box 2 Folder e Typewritten histories of S.S. Zebulon B. Vance1941, undated
Box 2 Folder f Materials related to the history of S.S. John Meany, including copies of the ship's newspaper, Compass1944, undated
Box 2 Folder g Book titled Five Years of North Carolina Shipbuilding, eleven copies of Shipyard Bulletin, and Marine Age1941-1945
Box 2 Folder h Various copies of articles and chapters pertaining to shipping and Wilmington 1946, undated
Box 2 Folder i Book titled Zebulon B. Vance: U.S. Liberty Ship. publ. 1962. NC Dept. of Archives and History by Beth Crabtree 1962
Box 2 Folder j Chapters of books and articles from South Atlantic Quarterly and The Navy and Industrial Mobilization in WWII1949-1951, undated
Box 2 Folder k Book on USS North Carolina, chapter copies from Ships of the American Merchant Fleet, Fortune Magazine, Nov. 1936 and July 1943, Ships For Freedom and Report of Special Committee on National Defense1936-1975
Box 3 Folder a Documents related to S.S Zebulon B. Vance and S.S. John J. Meany, 1942
Box 3 Folder b Legal documents of Case R5455 and 5-C-1237, statements and responses concerning union practices, depositions, etc. From National Archives RG25, 1943
Box 3 Folder c Legal documents of Case 5-R-1528, actual transcripts of case involving union elections, petitions and decisions of the NLRB. From NA RG 25 and 280 1943-1944
Box 3 Folder d Legal documents of Case 5-C-1565 involving illegal practices versus the unionization of workers, statements, etc. From NA RG 25 1942-1946
Box 3 Folder e Photocopy of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company bylaws 1941-1943
Box 4 Folder a Various reports and records concerning Wilmington and the NC Shipbuilding Company 1941-1942, undated
Box 4 Folder b Reports ranging from Wilmington population to the lunch menu from the shipyard's café 1942-1944, undated
Box 4 Folder c Materials related to the history of S.S. Zebulon B. Vance1946-1948, undated
Box 4 Folder d Materials relating to the use of power and light by the NC Shipbuilding Company 1942-1947, undated
Box 4 Folder e Financial reports of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company 1944-1951, undated
Box 4 Folder f Papers of the NCSPA relationship with the North Carolina Shipbuilding company. Documents from North Carolina State Archives, Perkins Library, Duke University, and Nat. Archives RG 178 1945-1963
Box 4 Folder g Reports related to the use of the Wilmington shipyard and port depths 1958-1967, undated
Box 4 Folder h Reports related to the NC Shipbuilding Company and various other shipyards including Newport News, Virginia 1943-1945
Box 4 Folder i NC Shipbuilding Company production reports, speeches, interviews with workers, etc. From NA RG 178 and 179 1941-1976
Box 4 Folder j Copies of reports titled Employing Women in Shipyards by the Women's Bureau and A Statistical Summary of the Wilmington Area by the US Dept. of Labor. Also records pertaining to the Department of Defense 1943-1946, undated
Box 4 Folder k Copy of Gerald Fischer's A Statistical Summary of Shipbuilding Under the US Maritime Commission During WWII. Hist. Reports of War Administration, 1949
Box 5 Folder a An interview transcript and several pages of handwritten research notes, 1944, undated
Box 5 Folder b Notecards, handwritten notations concerning the history of S.S. Zebulon B. Vance1944-1948, undated
Box 5 Folder c Various typewritten and handwritten notes undated
Box 5 Folder d Materials such as hand written research notes on notebook paper and a typewritten copy of a thesis chapter, undated
Box 5 Folder e Edited copy of Ralph Scott's thesis, 1977
Box 7 Folder a Item 1 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 1 "Yard's Workers Accept USA: Outsiders' Drive Is Halted." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 5/14/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 2 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 2 "CIO Humiliates World War Fighters." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 5/18/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 3 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 3 "More Income Seen Under USA." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 5/25/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 4 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 4 "USA Shows Steady Membership Gains." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 6/1/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 5 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 5 "Ships Built in Carolina Yard Participate in Invasion Move." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 6/8/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 6 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 6 "CIO Strikes Despite Invasion; Bond Drive Starts With 'Whoop.'" Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 6/15/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 7 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 7 "CIO Gets Another Drubbing in Vote." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 6/22/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 8 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 9 "Workers Ready to Vote Against CIO; Voting Ordered But Exact Date Is Yet to be Set." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 7/6/1944 Note: #8 missing
Box 7 Folder a Item 9 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 10 "Workers Rally to USA Standard; Future Clear-Cut In NLRB Vote.; White and Colored Workers Join in Move for Drubbing of CIO Union in Next Vote." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 7/13/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 10 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 11 "CIO Union Hanging on Ropes; Record of Yard Brings Contract for More Ships; Defeat Looms for Radicals; USA Is Gaining." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 7/20/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 11 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 12 "CIO Union Crawls Out of Vote Fate; USA Protests NLRB Vote Delay; USA Appeal Asks for Election in Yard as Planned." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 7/27/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 12 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 13 "Watch CIO Warning is Sounded Here; They're Beat But They Will Start Up Anew." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 8/3/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 13 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 14 USA Confidently Waits for Election; CIO Sounds Its Usual Wail of 'Unfair' Labor Practices; CIO Now Quiet, But Workers in Yard Must Watch." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 8/10/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 14 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 15 "Defeated CIO Issues Usual Threats; Organizers Rant About Situation; Seek More Dues." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 8/17/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 15 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 46 [16] "Radicals' False Claims Bared in Yard; USA Wants Bargaining Agency in N. C. Yard; Independents Wait Reply of Company Heads." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 8/31/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 16 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 47 [17] "Victory of Independents Scored at Newport News Rocks CIO Here; Defeat of Radical Outfit is Hailed; USA is Confident." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 9/7/1944
Box 7 Folder a Item 17 The Independent Press, Vol. 1, No. 25 "Land Appeals for Speedy Building of Ships Here for Big Offensives; All-Out Production Urged in Telegram Sent to Yard Here." Published by and for the employees of the N. C. Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. Photocopy of original newspaper. 11" x 17". 10/12/1944
Folder os1 Printed material, newspapers, 1941-1956, n.d.; Maritime Activity Reports, 1945-1946