Collection of Photographs Documenting Ship Construction at the Port of Los Angeles by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918. SHIP-BUILDING CALIFORNIA, WORLD WAR I.
Collection of Photographs Documenting Ship Construction at the Port of Los Angeles by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918
Collection of Photographs Documenting Ship Construction at the Port of Los Angeles by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918

Collection of Photographs Documenting Ship Construction at the Port of Los Angeles by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918

Nineteen original black and white photographs measuring ca. 4 x 5 inches. Fifteen are stamped "Chief Inspector, U.S.S.B.E.F.C. Jul 24 1918" on the back; the other five were probably taken by an L.A. Examiner photographer (based on notes on the envelope in which they were found). All in very good condition or better.

The Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) was established by the United States Shipping Board in April 16, 1917, less than two weeks after the U.S. entered World War I. Its purpose was to construct, maintain, and operate merchant ships to meet the needs of national defense and foreign and domestic commerce. Under contract for the EFC, the Western Pipe and Steel Company constructed a shipbuilding yard at Terminal Island in Long Beach Harbor. According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, by May 2018, "the company held government contracts for the delivery of 20 ships, with total expenditures of $30 million and a projected 5,000 employees. The launch of the first ship, the West Carnifax, only six months later broke four world records for yard construction and delivery time. Representatives from the federal government visited the shipyard to personally laud the achievement. In a speech at the occasion, the yard manager said, 'We believe that we have done our share in showing the nation just what Los Angeles enthusiasm and enterprise can do, and we can get behind the nation, no matter what our talk. Shipbuilding came to Los Angeles as a war measure, but it has come to stay, for Los Angeles is a world port from now on.'" These images offer vivid documentation of both that enterprise and the enthusiasm, with many shots of men laboring at various stages of the ship-building process, as well as one of a great crowd of workers waving their hats in the air—quite possibly in celebration of a newly completed vessel.

Item #19935

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