In 1940, Henry J. Kaiser signed an agreement with the British government to build 31 cargo ships to aid that country in their war effort. After scouting several sites, Kaiser chose to construct a new shipbuilding yard in Portland, Oregon, and on May 19, 1941, his Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation launched …
Letter from Pres. Roosevelt to Albert Bauer, 1944
This letter, signed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt and addressed to Albert Bauer, was found in the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation photographic collection in the S.S. Nehalem album folder. The Nehalem was the first ship of the year completed by the Swan Island shipyards in 1944, and it was launched by an (almost) all-women crew.
In the letter, Roosevelt congratulates the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation for its aggressive production schedule, and refers to war efforts in the Pacific, where the majority of the ships built in Oregon were put to use. Albert Bauer was the general manager for OSC, and he probably passed the letter on to his employees to thank them and to keep morale and production levels high. It is unclear who he is addressing in his handwritten note, but it is likely to a generalized "you"--that is, all the employees of OSC. Because the letter was found with the Nehalem photos, it is also possible that he was directing his acknowledgements specifically to the women working for the company because of their indispensible labor contribution during a time when federal government contracts were pushing shipbuilding companies to their limits.
Written by A.E. Platt
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This entry was last updated on March 17, 2018