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R. A. Stearn Collection - GLMS 63

Introduction | Organizational History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

 Introduction

The records of the R. A. Stearn, Incorporated collection were transferred to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes in May 1986. The instrument of gift was signed in January 1989.

Literary and property rights have been donated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and scholarly research. Final processing was completed with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in June 1991 by Mark J. Barnes, Monica Manny, and A. J. Du Fresne.

 Organizational History

R. A. Stearn, Incorporated was based in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and provided naval architectural services for shipbuilding companies. Stearn worked closely with the Leathem D. Smith Company of Sturgeon Bay on many collaborative projects regarding military vessels in World War II. During the war, Stearn was particularly active in designing cargo vessels, escort boats, frigates, gun boats, net tenders, submarine chasers and water tankers. Conversion of many of these vessels to peacetime purposes is documented in the Stearn Collection.

 Scope and Content

As a window into ship building activities at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, the R. A. Stearn, Incorporated collection provides researchers with a view of the technology of ship design in the period 1940-1950. Stearn, a naval architect, participated in the design phase of vessels used for military purposes in World War II. Much of Stearn's work recorded in the collection was performed in conjunction with the Leathem D. Smith Shipbuilding Company of Sturgeon Bay. The conversion of many of these naval vessels to civilian usage following 1945 occupied the Stearn and Smith companies for many years.

The files in the collection are heavily oriented toward construction projects. A small series of subject correspondence is present (one cubic foot out of the collection of eleven cubic feet). Projects are the most frequently discussed subjects. In larger quantity are the Job Files (three cubic feet) developed on such projects as the conversion of the SS ARROWWOOD from military use into a car ferry. The single largest file for a project is on the SS JAMES LAUGHLIN.

Blueprints and drawings regarding the various classes of vessels (cargo, submarine chaser, escort, tanker, etc.) form the largest series in the collection (seven cubic feet). These items have been retained to provide an historical record of vessel construction.

Photographic material (35 items) have been separated for cataloging purposes to the main Historical Collections of the Great Lakes photograph collection. Similarly, published items have been removed for separate cataloging.

 Series Description

CORRESPONDENCE

SUBJECT CORRESPONDENCE, A-Y
1933, 1941-1947, 1961-1962
Arranged alphabetically
Series contains subject files maintained on projects for vessel construction or alteration. Plans and blueprints accompany the correspondence in some instances. The files on Net Tender vessels form the largest single subject area in the files.

PROJECT FILES

JOB FILES, ALPHABETICAL, A-U
Box 1
1937-1938, 1941-1946
Series contains project files regarding vessel construction and alterations. Correspondence and plans form most of the items in this series. Each project has been assigned a letter to separate it from other files. The alphabetical arrangement refers to this letter designation and not to an alphabetical list of vessel names. The projects included are:
A - 3,800 ton lumber carrier, August 1945
B - Shrimp boats for J. W. Martin, 1937-1946
C - 55 meter combination cargo and passenger ship, June-August 1945
D - Special 110 meter cargo vessels for French, n.d.
E - Banana boat - Chile, September 1945
F - 2,000 ton DW Peruvian tanker, 1944-1945
G - Pleasure boat, 1945-1946 H - Jones and Laughlin self-unloader, March 1946
J - Railroad truck, October 1945
L - 150 meter tankers for C. R. Fisher (Mexico), 1945
O - Chile - self-unloading collier, 1937, 1945-1946
P - Chinese ships for Captain Yeh
N - Turkish ships (Whitehead), 1945-1946
S - Ocean/River ship, Bartenfeld, 300' x 48' x 21', November 1945
T - Lighter Barge for AGWI Lines, October 1945
U - Self-unloader parts, 1945-1946

JOB FILES - NUMERICAL
Boxes 2-4
[1-964], scattered, 1922, 1943-1951
Arranged numerically by file number
Series contains project files regarding vessel construction and alterations. Correspondence and plans form most of the items in this series. Prominently featured are projects converting vessels from military purposes to peacetime functions after World War II. Lengthy files are found on project 49 - SS ARROWWOOD and ALMOND; project 55 - SS J. A. CAMPBELL; project 110 - SS THOMAS WALTERS; project 111 - SS PHILIP MINCH; project 116 - SS MC GILVRAY SHIRAS; project 125 - SS Christy Corp.; project 126 - SS AMARANTH, HYACINTH, and SOUTH WIND; project 131 - SS JAMES LAUGHLIN; and project 896 with its numerous sub-projects on a host of vessels.

BLUEPRINTS/DRAWINGS

BLUEPRINTS/DRAWINGS
Boxes 5-11
1940s-1950s
Series contains blueprints and architectural drawings prepared by the R. A. Stearn Company, the Leathem D. Smith Company and numerous subcontractors involved in ship construction. Concentration in this series is on views of the vessels detailing large sections of the ship including complete inboard and outboard profiles. Blueprints on military vessels document armaments placement and ammunition storage areas for researchers interested in World War II vintage naval vessels.

 Inventory

Box 1: Correspondence, Job Files

Folders

1-59. Subject Correspondence, A-Y, 1933, 1941-1947, 1961-1962
60-75. Job Files--Alphabetical, A-U, 1937-1938, 1941-1946

Box 2: Job Files--Numerical

Folders

1. 1A, Police Boat for Turkey, February-March 1946
2. 3.3.572, Canopy Support for Peninsula Players, May 1946
3. 45, Cook and Brown Lime Company barge, May 1946
4. 48 - N Steamers SS UTICA, GEORGE D. DIXON, FRED W. SARGENT, ca. 1945-1950
5-20. 49, Conversion of the SS ARROWWOOD and ALMOND, 1946-1947
21. 50, Permanente Steamship Company, self-unloader, 1944-1947
22-25. 55, J. A. CAMPBELL, 1947-1948
26. 62, 50-yard standard hopper, 1947
27. 63, lifeboat plywood mold, 1943-1944, 1947
28. 64, Conveyor hopper for Hurlbut, 1947
29. 64 - PF, USS KNOXVILLE experiment data
30. 71, 35-ton coal hopper job, 1947
31. 78, sliding hatch design, 1948-1949
32. 79, Bartenfeld Self-unloader, 1947, 1949, 1951
33. 80, six-inch conveyor and push-off for Royal Food Products, Inc., 1947-1948
34. 81, Car ferry ramp, 1947
35. 82, Hatch crane-inland waterways, October 1947
36. 83, Cleveland tanker conversion, October 1947
37. 93, Boardman winch installation, 1944, 1948
38. 98, Hurlbut hopper, 1948
39. 105, "Shenango" 60 KW generator, 1948
40-44. 110, Steamer PHILIP MINCH, 1922, 1948-1950
45-55. 111-111G, Steamer THOMAS WALTERS, 1948-1950
56. 115, Steamer H. C. MC CULLOUGH, 1948
57-61. 116, SS MAC GILVRAY SHIRAS, 1947-1949
62. 118, Tape machine, 1948-1949 63. 119, Seaplane ramp, ca. 1946

Box 3: Job Files, Numerical

Folders

1-21. 125-125W, Christy Corporation projects, 1930, 1941-1958, 1961-1970
22-28. 126-126E, SS AMARANTH, HYACINTH, SOUTHWIND, 1928, 1949-1955
29. 130, 34-foot workboat for Chicago Sanitary District, 1949
30-60. 131, SS JAMES LAUGHLIN, 1940-1950

Box 4: Job Files, Numerical

Folders

1-9. 131, SS JAMES LAUGHLIN, 1949-1950
10. 135, "Post" and "Ewig" new tank top, 1949
11. 137, LSM conversion to paper barge, 1949
12. 889, Clark's Super Gas Company 20,000 BbL Oil Barge, 1945
13. 890, Inland Steel Company Diesel Electric Drive, 1945
14. 894, Grain Storage Barges, 1944-1945
15-18. 895, Estimate on small push boat for Meyer Company, 1945-1947
19-44. 896-896.36, various projects, 1946 45. 915, Socony Vacuum Oil company Barges 69'0" x 17'10" x 4'3", September 1945
46. 916, Barge,70' x 25' x 4' 1945-1946
47. 917, Whitehead proposal on 319' cargo vessels, 1945
48. 918, 8,000 ton self-unloading collier, 1946
49. 920, Plow unit and quack grass cutter, 1945
50. 921, Socony Vacuum staff and service launches, 30' 4 1/2" x 5'9" x 3' 4 1/2", 1945
51. 924, Socony Vacuum river towboats, 48'0" x 13'4" x 4'3", 1945
52. 926, Mining machine development, 1945
53. 930, Estimate on French Trawlers, 1945
54. 934, Ski Tow, 1945-1946
55. 936, Estimate on SS CLETUS SCHNEIDER, 1946
56. 940, Brazilian River boat, 62.5' x 13.45' x 3.5', 1945
57. 941, Trail-a-boat, 1946
58. 942, SHENANGO, repairs not contemplated under contract, 1945-1946
59. 943, SS PRESQUE ISLE, repairs not contemplated under contract, 1946
60. 944, SS WILLIS L. KING, repairs not contemplated under contract, 1945-1946
61. 945, SS SULLIVAN BROS, repairs not contemplated under contract, 1946
62. 947, General ledger account for Snug Harbor, 1946
63. 949, WILLIS L. KING, new pilot house, 1945-1946
64. 950, WILLIS L. KING, new after deck house
65. 951, WILLIS L. KING, additional wiring, 1946
66. 953, PRESQUE ISLE, construction of new room, 1946
67. 954, SHENANGO, repair damaged bow plate, 1946
68. 955, SS SULLIVAN BROS., new breaching for stack, 1946
69. 956, SS PRESQUE ISLE, repair shell plating, 1946
70. 957, SS SULLIVAN BROS., new stack, 1946
71. 958, SS WILLIS L. KING, new bulkheads, 1946
72. 960, Cook and Brown Lime Company Barge, 141' x 21'6", 1946
73. 963, Experimental steel runabout pilot model, 18' x 6' x 3', 1946
74. 964, Shipyard pusher with outboard motor, 24' x 10' x 4', n.d.

Box 5: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1-12. Class AN 78, 84, 87, net tenders, 1943-1945
13-18. Conversion of the SS ARROWWOOD and SS ALMOND, 1946

Box 6: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1. Vessel, J. A. CAMPBELL, 1947
2. Class C & R, 1937, 1943
3. Clas CI, 1943
4-20. Class C1-M-AV1 & C1-ME-AV6 (cargo vessel) through S67 sequence of drawings

Box 7: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1-3. Class C1-M-AV1 & C1-ME-AV6 (cargo vessel), after S67 sequence of drawings
4. Cook and Brown Lime Company (cargo barge), 1946
5. Class EC, 1941, 1945
6. E. F. Hauser Company, 1943
7. Hull #216, 1940
8. "K" Gun Foundation, 1943
9. SS JAMES LAUGHLIN, 1949
10. Mast and Flag details, 1941
11. Class N3, 1943
12-16. Class PC (Submarine chaser), 1943
17. Class PF (frigate), 1943
18. Pilot House details, 1941
19. Class RE, 1944
20-27. Class S2-S2-AQ1 (Twin Screw Escort Vessel), 1943-1945

Box 8: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1-3. Class S2-S2-AQ1 (Twin Screw Escort Vessel), 1943-1945
4. Staff Launch, Socony Vacuum, 1945
5-6. US Engineers Tugs, 1940
7. Class VC-2, 1946
8. THOMAS WALTERS, 1948
9. Class YN (Tanker), 1943
10-14. Class YO (Tanker), 1943-1945
15-17. Class YW (water tanker), 1943-1945

Box 9: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1-3. AN (net tender) vessels, 1943-1945
4-5. Conversion of SS ARROWWOOD and SS ALMOND, 1942-1943
6-18. C1-M-AV1 & C1-M-AV6 Cargo vessels, 1943-1945

Box 10: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1. Defoe Boat & Motor Works Vessels, 1941
2. EC2-S1-C1, 1941
3. Engine #173, 1922
4. SS JAMES LAUGHLIN, 1949
5. N3 class vessels, 1943
6-18. PC Submarine Class vessels, 1943-1945

Box 11: Blueprints/Drawings

Folders

1-4. S2-S2-AQ1 (twin screw escort vessel), 1943-1945
5. US Engineers Tug, 1941
6. VC2 vessels, 1946
7-8. YO class vessels (tankers), 1943-1945
9. YW class vessels (water tankers), 1943-1945

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