SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

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Down the Hatch: 1951

Down the Hatch: 1951

January 29, 1951. "S.S. Independence, American Export Lines. Staircase down." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

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She and her sister SS Constitution were elegant gals

I rode both Independence and Constitution during their heyday as cross-Atlantic fast passenger steamers. My father was an Army sergeant and he, my mom and I crossed the Atlantic 5 times before I was 17. Three of those passages were on either of these sister ships. It was a very luxurious passage, even for those passengers who were not in 1st Class. If I remember correctly, the run from Italy to the US (or back) took a week or so. The ships handled weather very well. The other two voyages were on US Navy transports (The General Hodges and the General Rose) and were nearly not so comfortable. The navy crews (contractor) crews were also kind of slipshod and ship handling tended to subject passengers and crew to far rougher passages than perhaps a civilian vessel's line would have tolerated. Thanks for the memories!

Getting Ready for Maiden Voyage

Taken a couple of weeks before going into service.

"Lacks nothing but 3,000 ashtrays"

According to an interesting Life Magazine article on the ship's maiden voyage. "Early sightseers last week paid all this their most sincere compliment: they stole 3,000 of the Independence's specially designed ashtrays."

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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