New York Shipbuilding Corporation

Coordinates: 39°54′39″N 75°7′20″W / 39.91083°N 75.12222°W / 39.91083; -75.12222
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New York Shipbuilding Corporation
FateCeased operations in 1968
HeadquartersCamden, New Jersey, U.S.

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (or New York Ship for short) was an American shipbuilding company that operated from 1899 to 1968, ultimately completing more than 500 vessels for the U.S. Navy, the United States Merchant Marine, the United States Coast Guard, and other maritime concerns. At its peak during World War II, NYSB was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world.[citation needed] Its best-known vessels include the destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245), the cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), the nuclear-powered cargo ship NS Savannah, and a quartet of cargo-passenger liners nicknamed the 4 Aces.


It was founded in 1899 by Henry G. Morse (1850–2 June 1903),[note 1] an engineer noted in connection with bridge design and construction and senior partner of Morse Bridge Company.[1] The original plan was to build a shipyard on Staten Island, thus the name of the company,[2] but plans to acquire a site there failed. The company then explored other potential sites as far south as Virginia, particularly in the Delaware River area, and ultimately chose a location in the southern part of Camden, New Jersey.[3] Site selection considered the needs of the planned application of bridge-building practices of prefabrication and assembly-line production of ships in covered ways.[4] Construction of the plant began in July 1899; the keel of the first ship was laid in November 1900.[1] That ship, contract number 1, was M. S. Dollar, which was later modified as an oil tanker and renamed J. M. Guffey.[5][note 2] Two of the first contracts were for passenger ships that were among the largest then being built in the United States: #5 for Mongolia and #6 for Manchuria.[6] Morse died after securing contracts for 20 ships. He was followed as president by De Coursey May.[1]

On November 27, 1916, a special meeting of the company's stockholders ratified sale of the "fifteen million dollar plant" to a group of companies composed of American International Corporation, International Mercantile Marine Co., W. R. Grace and Company and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.[7][note 3]

New York Ship's unusual covered ways produced everything from aircraft carriers, battleships, and luxury liners to barges and car floats.

Air view of Yorkship Village
Eight destroyers of the Wickes class, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 1919

During World War I, New York Ship expanded rapidly to fill orders from the U.S. Navy and the Emergency Fleet Corporation. A critical shortage of worker housing led to the construction of Yorkship Village, a planned community of 1,000 brick homes designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield and financed by the War Department. Yorkship Village is now the Fairview section of the City of Camden.

New York Ship's World War II production included all nine Independence-class light carriers (CVL), built on Cleveland-class light cruiser hulls; the 40,000-ton battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57); all three of the six 30,000-ton Alaska-class cruisers that were built (Alaska, Guam, and Hawaii), four 15,000-ton Baltimore-class heavy cruisers, and 98 LCTs (Landing Craft, Tank), many of which took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy.

After World War II, a much-diminished New York Ship subsisted on a trickle of contracts from the United States Maritime Administration and the U.S. Navy. In 1959, the yard launched the NS Savannah, the world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship. The yard launched its last civilian vessel (SS Export Adventurer) in 1960, and its last naval vessel, USS Camden, was ordered in 1967. The company's final completed submarine was USS Guardfish (SSN-612), which had been ordered in the early 1960s, but construction was halted from 1963 to 1965 because of the loss of the USS Thresher. Guardfish was commissioned in December 1967.

In 1968, lacking new naval orders, NYS ceased operations. USS Pogy (SSN-647), then under construction, was towed to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for completion.

The yard's site is now part of the Port of Camden.

World War II Slipways[edit]

Slipway Width Length Date Notes
J 110 feet (34 m)[8] 840 feet (260 m)[9] 1900-41 Length originally 600 ft,[8] lengthened to 840 ft[9] for construction of Alaska-class cruisers[10]
K 110 feet (34 m)[8] 840 feet (260 m)[9] 1900-41
L 110 feet (34 m)[8] 840 feet (260 m)[9] 1900-41
M 110 feet (34 m)[8] 840 feet (260 m)[9] 1912[10]-41 Length originally 700 ft,[8] lengthened to 840 ft[9] for construction of Alaska-class cruisers[10]
O 112 feet (34 m)[8] 900 feet (270 m)[9] 1915[10]
T 130 feet (40 m)[note 4] 650 feet (200 m)[9] 1941
U1 180 feet (55 m)[note 4] 650 feet (200 m)[9] 1941 Could be extended up to 1,000 ft[9]
U3 200 feet (61 m)[note 4] 650 feet (200 m)[9] 1941 Could be extended up to 1,000 ft[9]

Ships built[edit]

Ships built by New York Ship include:


An Athletic team for the 16,000 employees was created in the 1910s.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with architect Henry Grant Morse, Jr. (1884 – May 28, 1934).
  2. ^ U.S. Navy as USS J. M. Guffey (ID-1279) commissioned 14 October 1918 at Invergorden, Scotland, decommissioned Philadelphia 17 June 1919 (DANFS).
  3. ^ On page 510 of the reference notes that American International Corporation holds interests in the International Mercantile Marine Company, Pacific Mail Steamship, Grace Lines and other ocean transportation companies. The same journal in the October issue, page 440, states American International Corporation had "control of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company."
  4. ^ a b c Based upon measurements made with Google Earth of slipway remains.


  1. ^ a b c Marine Engineering (July 1903).
  2. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 9.
  3. ^ American International Corporation 1920, pp. 9–10.
  4. ^ American International Corporation 1920, pp. 10–11.
  5. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 17.
  6. ^ American International Corporation 1920, p. 19.
  7. ^ Marine Engineering (December 1916).
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Hearings Before Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, on Estimates Submitted by the Secretary of the Navy, 1919. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1919. p. 333.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gardiner Fassett, Frederick (1948). The Shipbuilding Business in the United States of America. Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. p. 208.
  10. ^ a b c d "A Place Called YORKSHIP: The Facilities".
  11. ^ Shipscribe: SS Plymouth- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  12. ^ Shipscribe: SS Fairmont- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  13. ^ wrecksite SS Black Point
  14. ^ Fairmont (ID 2429)
  15. ^ Shipscribe: SS Winding Gulf- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  16. ^ Shipscribe: SS Tidewater- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  17. ^ Shipscribe: SS Glen White- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  18. ^ Google books: The Rudder; SS Sewalls Point(Thomas Fleming Day, Fawcett Publications, 1919, pp. 233)
  19. ^ Shipscribe: SS Franklin- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  20. ^ Shipscribe: SS William N. Page- Retrieved 2017-08-15
  21. ^ "Gulfoil". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Sylvan Arrow". Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Dixie Arrow". Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  24. ^ SS Panhandle State (pp. 61)- Retrieved 2019-07-22
  25. ^ Evening Public Ledger, Jul 3, 1919.[1] Retrieved Dec 3, 2023
CV / CVL Class Carriers: Book; USS INDEPENDENCE CVL-22, A War Diary of the Nation's First Dedicated Night Carrier by: John G. Lambert


External links[edit]

39°54′39″N 75°7′20″W / 39.91083°N 75.12222°W / 39.91083; -75.12222