The Liberty Ship- SS Julius Rosenwald

Posted on October 13th, 2015 by

Recently, a fan of the Rosenwald film, Christine Clark, reached out to us with information about a ship named after Julius Rosenwald. Christine writes;

“I don’t have information on the Rosenwald schools, but I have often wondered who Julius Rosenwald was. My father, Francis Clark, was a Merchant Marine and during WWII (when the Coast Guard commissioned the Merchant Marines into service), my Dad was on the liberty ship, Julius Rosenwald. … [Rosenwald] touched more lives than we can imagine”

Francis Clark (left) aboard the SS Julius Rosenwald
Photo courtesy of Christine Clark

“I am pretty sure that photo is from World War II. My Dad enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1941 and stayed with them until his retirement in 1969. He died in 1984 and I never knew which liberty ships he was on during the War. My Mom died in 2014 but had dementia so I was never able to get details from her. I found this photo after we cleaned out Mom’s home. I just did some research via the Net to find out who Julius Rosenwald was because I was curious as to why a ship was named after him.”

Between 1941 and 1945, the United States produced 2,710 Liberty ships for use by the U.S. fleet and for delivering war materials to Britain and the Soviet Union. The first Liberty ship constructed, the SS John Henry, set a precedent for naming the ships after prominent American figures. The cargo ship design was chosen for its low-cost construction. Surprisingly, many of the ships outlived their 5 year life expectancy with over 2,400 surviving World War II.

On the note of surviving Liberty ships, Christine also shares this information with us:

“… only two that I know of remain, one is the Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco and the other is John W. Brown (not sure where that is located)”

image from http://www.armed-guard.com

“This Liberty Ship was built by J.A. Jones Constr. Co., Panama City, Florida, Hull #1533. It was at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
It was scrapped in March 1963.
Hope this information helps some.

Best regards,
Christine Clark”

The ship was laid in the Panama City shipyard on July 7th, 1943, and launched on September 13th of the same year. Throughout the next year, the ship spent a total of 84 days on ways and in the water. During this time it was badly damaged during an enemy attack. It was sold to a private seller in 1947, and as we’ve learned from Christine, scrapped in March of 1963.

Additional Sources:

http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=1926
http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/merchantships/wwii/libertyships4.htm
http://www.usmm.org/l/deltajones.html#1206