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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.

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Shipshape: 1898

Shipshape: 1898

Circa 1898. "U.S.S. Massachusetts in dry dock." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward H. Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Depending how long the ship in dry dock will dictate what's to be done with the crew. In the mid 1960s my ship was dry docked in Baltimore. Some of us were sent to Fleet schools and some stayed aboard.

High and Dry

They keep some men on board to do work that the shipyard workers would not do. Also if there were not billets for all the men some would be quartered aboard the ship.

I have a friend who spent the last 18 months of his four year enlistment aboard a submarine that was in dry-dock for refitting. There were still watches to stand and regular day to day activities that go on aboard ship. Someone has to push the papers around on the desk.

Scrollwork and swabbies

I love the scrollwork on the bow - you won't see that anachronism on a modern destroyer.

For those who are/were in the Navy - why would sailors be actively on a boat that's inactively in dry dock?

"Cat head"

Interesting that this ship retains the method of securing the anchor used by wooden sailing ships of previous centuries. Much more pronounced on the old sailing ships, but here it is in stubby form.


I see the drummer entering into the lower bow and, of course the oarsmen are already seated on their benches, dreading the coming order for "Ramming Speed!"

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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