SS United States E-Newsletter

June 10, 2011
SS United States, July 2010
The SS United States, July 2010 (photo by Greg Shutters)

Latest News from the SS United States Conservancy

Greetings to all of our members and supporters!   


Fifty-nine years ago, the SS United States set out on her high speed trials.  On June 9, 1952, the mighty vessel headed out the James River packed with 1,700 politicians, corporate leaders, members of the press, maritime officials and other lucky guests.  When the ship was finally permitted to allowed to sprint at top speed on June 10, the Tribune reported that the "awesome wake churned up by the four huge propellers rivaled the Niagara River."  Her actual speed was deemed a national secret: canvas covers were draped over her engines' revolution counters.  Commodore Harry Manning, ship designer William Francis Gibbs and a small number of other officers and officials were the only ones who knew the truth.  The SS United States had achieved the incredible speed of 38.23 knots - or over 44 miles per hour - while developing 241,785 shaft horsepower.  


Today this speed champion rests at Philadelphia's Pier 82, and instead of running with the wind off the Virginia Capes, she is racing against a ticking clock.  Thanks to the extraordinary donation from philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, the Conservancy was able to purchase our "ship of state" in February of this year. However, the Lenfest funds secure the ship for only another year and a half.  The Conservancy is engaged in extensive outreach with prospective developers and investors with the goal of refurbishing our national flagship as a sustainable multi-purpose enterprise.  We are also moving forward in our comprehensive historic preservation planning as well as initial designs for a shipboard museum.  Time is short.     


To save our nation's flagship, we urgently need your help.   To make a tax-deductible donation in support of the Conservancy's predevelopment and historic preservation efforts, please click here.


As always, thank you so much for your support, and long live the SS United States


In this issue: 

gala Don't Miss the Conservancy's June 24th Gala "Relive an Evening
Aboard the SS United States"


Relive an Evening Aboard the SS United States 



The SS United States Conservancy's summer gala,  "Relive an Evening Aboard the SS United States," promises to be a wonderful event.  Scheduled for Friday, June 24, 2011, it will take place at the Corinthian Yacht Club just outside of Philadelphia, and will include dinner, an open bar, dancing to the Albert Oehrle Orchestra, and a live auction.   


The honorary gala co-chairs are H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest and former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil.  This special evening will celebrate the transfer of the SS United States to the Conservancy and benefit the Conservancy's $1 million pre-development and historic preservation fund.  The cost of admission is $250 per person. A table for 8 may be purchased for $2,000.


Excitement is building as the event nears. We will be welcoming friends and supporters from Madrid to Manhattan, from Los Angeles to Hawaii.


To see recent coverage of the event in the Examiner, click  here .


The Conservancy is very grateful to our generous corporate sponsors and auction contributors, including lead sponsor Wilmington Trust, Narragansett Beer, the Steamship Historical Society of America, Palmer Beizup & Henderson, and Brooks Brothers.  


If you or your company are interested in sponsorship opportunities or would be willing to make an auction donation, please contact Steven Ujifusa at for further information.   


Unfortunately, the celebration will not take place on board the SS United States.  The gorgeous Corinthian Yacht Club is located within easy access of I-95 and the Philadelphia International Airport. For a list of local hotels, see: 



For secure, online reservations, please click here.  


If you are unable to attend the event, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the SS United States Conservancy: your name and/or the name of your organization will be listed prominently in the event program as well as in other promotional materials. The following link will provide you the opportunity to donate: 


auction Fabulous Gala Auction Items - Preview them here!

The Conservancy is thrilled to preview some of the exciting offerings at our live and silent auctions at the forthcoming June 24 gala at the Corinthian Yacht Club.  We are still accepting auction donations - no item is too big or too small!   

To learn more about some of the fabulous auction items at the June 24 gala,  please click on any of the descriptions below:


A Round of Golf and Lunch for Three at Applebrook Golf Club   

  Market Value: $1000


Tickets & Greenroom Passes for 2 at The Curtis Symphony Orchestra  

Market Value: $500


A Guided Historical Tour and Reception at the Powel House  

Market Value $350


Brooks Brothers Tie 

Market Value $79.50


Delaware River Cruise and Limo Ride 

Market Value $2000


Liberty Ship Cruise 

 Market Value $280


Rare Ashtray from the SS Europa 

Market Value $250


SS United States Dinner Plate 

 Market Value $50


Phillies VIP Tickets  

Market Value $260


Steamship Historical Society Memorabilia Basket  

Market Value $298.50

  painting Original Painting Donated to Conservancy

by Renowned Maritime Artist James Flood

James Flood's painting of the SS United States
James Flood's painting of the SS United States

The Conservancy is delighted to announce that renowned maritime artist James Flood has donated a gorgeous original painting to the SS United States Conservancy!  We will be auctioning off a signed limited edition gicl�e at the June 24th gala, and we soon we will be selling prints through our on-line store.  James Flood has very generously agreed to donate a major percentage of each sale to the Conservancy's preservation efforts.  James Flood will be joining us at the Conservancy's Corinthian Club event, and the original painting will be on display. 


The painting depicts the SS United States departing the historic towers of downtown Manhattan in the early years of her career, her vast hull gleaming in the late afternoon sun. Pictured in the foreground is the artist and his wife, transported back in time to the 1950's and motoring in their hand crafted launch Duchess as they pay homage to the great liner. Viewed on either side of the great ship are two picturesque New York Harbor tugs, hugging close to the great ship as they escort her out to sea.


The Conservancy's limited edition prints will be signed by the artist, numbered, and documented.  These gicl�e prints are individually hand printed using durable acid-free art paper (exceeding density of 250 gsm), museum quality canvas and UV-stable inks.  The print size is 18" x 24" and the image size is 14.5" x 22". 


For more information about James Flood and his fabulous art, visit

 James Flood's web site

 bigshipThe Conservancy Partners with Turner Publishing to Re-Issue the Classic Text, The Big Ship   

The Big Ship

In THE BIG SHIP: The Story of the S.S. United States (Turner Publishing; July 2011; $19.95), legendary maritime historian Frank O. Braynard reveals the fascinating behind-the-scenes story of one of the fastest and most luxurious passenger liners ever built. Now residing in a dry dock in Philadelphia, the "Big U" was once the most glamorous ship in the world. Dignitaries, politicians, and celebrities such as JFK and Jackie, Grace Kelly, Charlton Heston, Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor regularly graced the decks of the United States. Not only was the SS United States beautiful, she was-and is-an incredible feat of engineering. The ship still holds the North Atlantic westbound speed record.


For the last 20 years, the S.S. United States Conservancy has fought tirelessly to preserve the historic integrity of this unique national treasure. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this reissued edition of Braynard's definitive history-which now includes a gorgeous photo insert of the ship's many celebrity passengers-will go to the Conservancy and their efforts to preserve and restore this great ship.


The volume will be released on July 4th and will soon be available for purchase through Turner Publishing. Special arrangements have been made to distribute copies of the book at the June 24 gala at the Corinthian Club, one more reason why we hope you can join us in Philadelphia later this month!  


The Conservancy would like to once again thank Advisory Council member Noelle Hollander for her generous support of this effort! 

 dcchapterConservancy Lays Groundwork for Washington DC Chapter

SSUSC DC Chapter

Conservancy members met in Washington, D.C. recently to begin planning for the launch of an active Conservancy chapter in the nation's capital.  Present were Conservancy President Susan Gibbs, Executive Director Dan McSweeney, Bill Myhre, and Seth Levey, each of whom brings unique experiences and affiliations in the D.C. region in support of a successful redevelopment of the SS United States.


The D.C. Chapter will be in a unique position to leverage federal support for the ship and spread the word about the ship's significance among a range of policymakers and other constituencies.   


Preliminary plans are to organize a happy hour and initial gathering on the evening of June 29 at the the Caucus Room in downtown Washington.  Please stay tuned for further details!      

For the latest news about the SS United States,
please visit our website,


Please visit our bookstore on 

Please support our efforts to save the SS United States by visiting our store


SS United States Conservancy

P.O. Box 32115

Washington, DC 20007



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