PHILADELPHIA – As the SS United States Conservancy continues in its race against time to save America’s Flagship, the organization has received a major donation of an exciting collection of artifacts from the SS United States‘ captain’s quarters. The items were donated by Steve Williams of Swampscott, Mass., whose uncle Melvin Williams had a passion for the SS United States and purchased the items in the 1980s. The 17 items were originally used in the suite located below the ship’s bridge that served as the quarters for the Commodore who commanded the vessel.
“We are so grateful to Mr. Williams for this generous donation,” stated Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, and granddaughter of the vessel’s designer, William Francis Gibbs. “These artifacts help tell the story of America’s Flagship, and what life at sea was like for the men who commanded this great ship as she steamed across the Atlantic.”
The Conservancy is in the middle of its ‘We are the United States’ campaign to raise resources for the vessel’s future. Without additional donations the organization may be forced to reef or recycle the ship in the coming months.
The donation includes the Commodore’s desk, end table, locker, safe, bookcases, reclining chairs, and dresser, along with extensive ship documents and smaller items, including flags, towels, blankets, and other unique items from the SS United States’ service career. Over the last five years, the organization has been conducting a nationwide search for original furnishings, artwork and fittings of the iconic American vessel. The Conservancy has built a substantial collection of artifacts that one day are envisioned to be part of permanent and traveling exhibitions showcasing the world’s fastest liner and the only ship to bear the name of our nation.
Williams, who grew up just north of Boston, recalls that his uncle developed a fascination for large vessels while on deployment to the European theater during World War II. “He was very interested in Boston Harbor,” Mr. Williams stated. “He lived in a luxury condo at Rowes Wharf and often held Tall Ship parties. He was very friendly with the harbor masters and tugboat people and was often spotted dock hopping. He also had a vast book collection of the sea and ships.”
“As I have grown older I have a greater appreciation, understanding and respect for the accomplishments of people that came before us,” Williams continued. “Like my uncle and William Francis Gibbs, I believe we are honored to be the guardians of great moments in history.”
To support the Conservancy’s campaign to save the United States click HERE.