Quincy's Shipbuilding Heritage Collection
Collection Title: Quincy's Shipbuilding Heritage.
of 7 bound volumes, photographs and newspaper clippings
Collection Location: Quincy Room, Thomas Crane
40 Washington Street, Quincy, Massachusetts 02169
by: Staff of the Thomas Crane Public Library
Restrictions: Bound volumes, photographs,
newspaper clippings, glass negatives and slides can only be viewed
in the Library under the supervision of the Reference Librarian.
The digitized collection is available through the Library's
Web site at http://thomascranelibrary.org/shipbuildingheritage. The collection is stored in CD format for archival
Provenance: Volumes owned by the Thomas Crane Public Library
Warren S. Parker Collection photographs purchased
by the Library (1944).
Historical Note: In 2000 the Library
began a digital imaging project of materials related to the shipbuilding
industry in Quincy. The project is funded by a Library Services
and Technology Act (LSTA) grant under the direction of the Massachusetts
Board of Library Commissioners. The goal of the grant is to provide
worldwide electronic access to researchers and interested parties
of this significant local history material. Preservation and physical
integrity of the original items is also assured by this project.
With the interest now displayed in the recollections of World
War II veterans, it is timely that this collection be available
to those who served and others. Many of the ships built in Quincy
such as the battleship “Massachusetts”, the
“Quincy ”, the “Lexington ”, the “Salem”
and countless others were the homes of the “greatest generation”
away from home.
The history of Quincy shipbuilding spans decades from its colonial
beginnings to its unprecedented contributions in World War I and
II and into the prosperous post war years. The Quincy region was
an ideal area for shipbuilding due to its geographical attributes
such as twenty-seven miles of shoreline, deep-water channels and
low tide depths averaging from twenty-four to thirty feet. In
1789 the largest merchant ship built in North America was launched
from the shores of Germantown, a Quincy neighborhood. In the 1800's,
clipper ships, fishing and whaling boats and local seafaring crafts
were an integral part of the region's economic livelihood. With
advances in engine mechanics and steel manufacturing the shipbuilding
industry flourished in the twentieth century.
It reached its peak during the years of World War II with a labor
force of 32,000 local workers. Generations worked side by side
and every local household was somehow affected by the activities
of the Fore River Shipyard. Adults and children knew the
time of the day by the whistle-blows and attended the many charitable
events conducted through the years. The Quincy yard was called
“ the world's greatest shipyard in World War II”.
This was due to its high production rate; an average of some form
of naval transport was launched every twelve and one half days.
From 1941-1943 it produced a total of eighty-eight ships of eleven
different types. As these ships traveled the world a distinguishing
feature of Quincy built ships became known. The phrase “
Kilroy was here” and the accompanying graphic of a bald
headed character looking over a fence was the trademark of Fore
River Shipyard welder inspector James J. Kilroy. After the
war, production centered on tankers, cargo ships, passenger liners
and additional naval contracts. The smaller shipyards mentioned
in the lectures concentrated on pleasure yachts and racing craft.
These would also be distinguished within the shipbuilding industry
as being of the highest standards of quality workmanship.
Scope and Contents Note: This is an artificial
collection created by the Thomas Crane Public Library. The items
selected are part of the Quincy Historical Room Collection, which
houses materials relating to Quincy's history and material by
Quincy authors. The photographs and clippings are from the Warren
S. Parker Collection. Bound volumes are housed in the Quincy Room
on open shelves. The numbered glass negatives, slides and newspaper
clippings are filed in the Quincy Room.
Mr. Parker held the position of city building inspector. He created
a series of lectures about Quincy history using glass slides as
illustrations. These photographs date between 1875 and 1932. There
are approximately 500 pages of notes, newspaper clippings, including
small pamphlets on early shipbuilding in Quincy. The majority
of the material concentrates on the history of shipbuilding in
Quincy primarily at the Fore River Shipyard. Additional materials
include information on the Quincy waterfront, Souther Tide Mill
and the Victory Plant.
Other material related to the naval history of World War II can
be found in the library's collection by subject access on the
online catalog. Detailed photographs and descriptions of
some of the Quincy built ships can be found in Jane's Fighting
Ships of WW II (Ref. 623.825 J25w). A personal memoir
by Helen M. Lincoln on Quincy Point and the shipbuilding industry
can be found in the Quincy Room (Q.R. 974.47 L63). A pictorial
history of the USS Lexington entitled, The ”Lady Lex”
and the “Blue Ghost”, can be found in the reference
collection (Ref. 359.9435 EW56). Many general histories
of Quincy also contain chapters on the shipbuilding industry.
S. Parker Collection – 311 images in varied formats
- Lantern Slides, Glass and/or film negatives, prints. The collection
of photographs is indexed and the material selected can be accessed
by these entries:
Waterfront, Northerly Section
Waterfront, Southerly Section
– Southerly Section, Parker, Q.R. 917.447 v.14 pt.2
III: Bound Volumes
Bethlehem Steel Company, Shipbuilding Division, New York, 1958.
Q.R. 359 B46B
Quincy's Largest Industry, William Churchill Edwards:
Historic Quincy Massachusetts. City of Quincy, 1957. Q.R.
974.47 Ed9th 1957ed
River Log, May 1915-March 1920
Q.R. 623.8 F76
History of Shipbuilding at Fore River. Anthony F.
Sarcone and Lawrence S. Rines. Quincy, Mass.: Quincy Junior
College, Department of History, 1975?
Q.R. 623.82 Sa7
Plant of the Fore River Ship & Engine Company, Quincy, Mass.
The H.B Humphrey Company, Boston, 1902., Rogers Dickinson. Q.R
IV: Notes and Clippings
Shipbuilding, Parker Q.R. 974.47 P22n v.6, pt.3 (in
Pt3 A2 Fore River Shipyard
Pt3 A6 Warships A-L
Pt3 A6 Warships M-Z
Pt3 A7 Submarines
Pt3 A8 Merchant Ships
Pt3 B1 Victory Plant
Pt3 B2 Miscellaneous Shipyards