Thursday, October 21, 2010

a busy life

Here are photos by OWI's Ann Rosener taken in 1943 at a California shipyard. She recorded the experience of workers there, including their construction of a Liberty ship, the SS George Washington Carver, at Richmond Shipyards.* As with my previous post of her photos, these can all be found in collections of the Library of Congress. The captions explain what's on view.

{California shipyard workers. Eight hours of work in a Richmond, California shipyard find these two workers grateful for the calm and quiet of the ferry trip back to San Francisco, 1943 Feb.}

{California shipyard workers. Workers on the day shift at the Richmond, California shipyards leaving the ferry in San Francisco, 1943 Feb.}
Here's a detail from this photo.

{California shipyard workers. This woman worker pushes back her helmet during a moment's pause from her welding job at the Richmond shipyard in California, 1943 Feb.}

{California shipyard workers. Attired in a welder's outfit this worker is one of California's many women shipyard workers employed at the Richmond Shipbuilding Company, 1943 Feb.}

{Rushing the SS George Washington Carver to completion. Negro skilled workers played an important part in the construction of the SS George Washington Carver, second Liberty Ship named for a Negro, in the Richmond Shipyard No. 1 of the Kaiser Company. Approximately 1,000 Negro women are included among the more than 6,000 colored workers in the four Kaiser shipyards at Richmond. Miss Anna Bland, a burner, is shown at work on the SS George Washington Carver. 1943 Apr.}

{Rushing the SS George Washington Carver to completion. Negro skilled workers played an important part in the construction of the SS George Washington Carver, second Liberty Ship named for a Negro, in the Richmond Shipyard No. 1 of the Kaiser Company. One of the best chippers in the yard is Bonaparte Louis, Jr., shown above with a fellow worker as the Carver is being rushed to completion. 1943 Apr.}

{Richmond, California. Women shipyard workers riding to the yards, 1943 June.}


The LC's collections of photos by Rosener show her to have had a busy time during the first half of 1943.

In January she worked in San Francisco, shooting first at a rail yard ("woman railroad worker learning how to grease an engine wheel") then in SF itself "sign on the top of a hill in the residential section" [from a set on headlight dim out signs].

In February, she finished up the SF shoot ("pile of salvaged tin cans at the metal and thermite company") then in Albany, Calif. ("dehydrating potatoes in Western Regional Research Laboratory") then the Kaiser shipyards of Richmond, Calif., from which come the photos I show above, then in El Segundo, Calif. ("Italian-American at work on a model of a military plane at the Douglas Aircraft plant") then in San Pedro, Calif. ("ship undergoing repairs") then Santa Monica, Calif. ("Italian-Americans at work on bombers at the Douglas Aircraft plant") then in Oakland, Calif. "war workers' nursery; Catherine Simmons plays Red Cross nurse at the Bella Vista Nursery School in Oakland, California") then Emeryville, Calif. ("women in essential services; Ethel Peterson, twenty-seven, an expert lift-truck operator at the Paraffine Company in Emeryville, California. Her job demands manual skill and excellent driving judgement, for sharp curves must be rounded and the cargo must be handled with precision and speed at all times") then at unnamed locations ("Major league baseball players in defense work in California" and "women in essential services. Women bus drivers help expedite America's transportation problems").

In March, she was in Glendale, Calif. ("American women volunteer service 'button brigade' sewing on corporal's chevron and mending a ripped shirt seam in the U.S. Army air force barracks") then Brooklyn, New York ("safe clothes for women war workers. How NOT to wear your hair when you work in a war plant. Eunice Kimball's loose, long bob would be a constant danger in any industrial setup. Bendix Aviation Plant, Brooklyn, New York") then an unnamed location ("wartime food demonstration. March, 1943. Home economist showing a group of housewives how to cook in relation to wartime food and nutrition problems").

In April the was in Washington, D.C. ("saving waste fat and greases from which war material will be made") and at unnamed locations ("Kay Francis and Mitzi Mayfair, back from entertaining American troops in the British Isles and Africa, pose in the costumes they wore while traveling. They formed half a United Service Organization (USO) camp overseas unit, with Carole Landis and Martha Raye") and ("slaughtering for the "black market" in meat. April, 1943. Illegally slaughtered animal hanging up and the wasted parts of the carcass left lying on the floor of a makeshift abattoir").

In May she trailed a nursing student around Washington DC and Baltimore ("eager to be of service to her country, nineteen year old Frances Bullock prepares to leave her Lynchburg, Virginia home to enter one of the nation's 1,300 accredited schools of nursing") and did a shoot at Holabird ordnance depot, Baltimore, Maryland, ("a group of WAACS - Women's Auxiliary Army Corps - receive instruction in tire structure and care as part of the automotive preventive maintenance course which all Army men and women at Holabird must take.") then Washington, D.C., again for photos at the OWI office and some visiting dignitaries, including the Honorable MacKenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, and then she returned to San Francisco for a set of photos of the Bank of America.

In June she was back in the DC area ("a mother sewing a button on her child's overalls. Silver Spring, Maryland" and "Washington, D.C. 'I'll carry mine,' a campaign to conserve transportation facilities and thus save rubber and gasoline. Boys delivering packages," and photos of the 'flying nun' which I showed in my last blog post, and a visit to the Geological Survey "Miss Barbara Austin, Mrs. Mary Keddy, and Miss Martha Hallman, three employees of the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska branch, making a final checking of the base manuscript, in connection with air navigation charts" and coverage of a "national exhibit at the Library of Congress of paintings, photographs and posters dealing with aspects of the war, made by high school students from all over the country" and finally "Salvaging fats and greases".

In July she was in Michigan ("Ford Motor Company, Willow Run, Mich.") then Rockville Maryland, ("furlough spent by PFC. Harvey Horton, at the dairy farm of N.C. Stiles" and finally Silver Spring again, "people waiting for a train at the railroad station").



* The shipyards in Richmond, CA, turned out 747 ships during the years of World War II, "a feat," as the wikipedia article says, "not equaled anywhere else in the world, before or since." By 1944 it took only a little over two weeks to assemble a Liberty ship by standard methods and costs were about one-fourth those of other shipyards. Shipyard #2 at Richmond later became the home of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. Shipyard #3 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is the George Washington Carver being launched, May 7, 1943.

source: wikipedia

1 comment:

posterboy said...

Thanks for your site on Rosener, I work with a lot of WWII history and didn't know of her. She died last year, you can look up her obit. I think you are in error in crediting her for the photo of the female black chipper rushing out the SS George Washington Carver - the Library of Congress and the Schomberg both credit it to E.F. Joseph.