Praising the past and welcoming new leadership - February 14-18, 2018

SSHSA had a successful Annual Meeting and "transition of the gavel" from one person to another while participating as a leading sponsor in the 11th Maritime Heritage Conference last month in New Orleans. Mary Payne handed off leadership to incoming President Don Leavitt in a ceremony at the meeting. Now known as Immediate Past-President Payne, Mary served on the SSHSA Board of Directors for 10 years, serving five years as Vice President and her last three years as our president. Mary's role as a caring leader served the organization well during its years of transition. She continues to consult with the board and membership, and is already enjoying more travel time, volunteer work and sports in her "retirement."

In his new role as President, Don thanked Mary on behalf of the board, membership and staff for her service, dedication and leadership. He presented Mary with a certificate recognizing her achievements while at the helm, as well as a special crystal award wishing her fair winds and following seas. Don then took charge as the gavel was passed peacefully and the meeting continued. We thank Mary for her service, and welcome our newest chairman of the board to SSHSA!

SSHSA seeking educational website feedback - March 12, 2018

Following up on our presentation at the 11th Maritime Heritage Conference, we are in the process of mailing out informational packets about our education program to all Rhode Island high schools. Our goal is to find teachers to test our materials in their classroom and provide us with feedback. We are also nearing the deadline for the Stoltenberg Art Initiative, which will have art teachers test our lessons and primary sources with their students. Their students can then enter their artwork into a maritime art contest to win cash prizes.

If you or anyone you know is a teacher who would like to help us test our materials, email SSHSA Education Coordinator Aimee Bachari at Educators can also fill out our short 8 question survey on the website here: With feedback from teachers and students, SSHSA will roll out its educational website and announce the winners of the Stoltenberg Art Initiative on National Maritime Day, May 22, 2018.

Coming up in PowerShips #305 - March 12, 2018

The next issue of PowerShips is in production now and will be mailed in mid-April. There's still time to renew your membership today - make sure you don't miss it! Check out some of the highlights from the spring 2018 issue!

America's 'Mini Liners' of the 1930s
Even though the harsh Depression raged in the 1930, short trips along the East Coast on little luxury liners, "Mini Liners," provided an ideal escape. In Lives of the Liners, William Miller takes us aboard the Clyde Mallory Lines Shawnee and Iroquois, which boasted luxurious salons, wonderful food and comfortable cabins.

Alcoa's Combination Liners
Immediately after World War II, the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) put in service three distinctive cargo-passenger ships, originally unfinished Victory ships. Terry Tilton presents a detailed maritime history of Alcoa and these ships: Alcoa Cavalier, Alcoa Corsair and Alcoa Clipper.

Preana: Australia's Oldest Operating Steam Vessel
In this restoration story, Jeff Rowe describes the 17 years of effort and dedication, led by Jim Butterworth, that went into bringing the magnificent 1896 steam yacht Preana, Australia's oldest operating steam vessel, back to life. The Preana is docked in Hobart and operates as an exclusive charter and is currently for sale.

Ship Research, Part 3: Flags at Sea & Funnel Marks
In the third installment of his advice on ship research, James Shuttleworth shows you how information on signal flag codes, other ship flags and funnel marks can support your work. Maritime historians, model makers, collectors, maritime enthusiasts and museum curators will benefit greatly from a knowledge of sea flags.

The Ferry Binghamton: 1905-2017
William Fox offers a loving tribute to the ferry Binghamton (1905-2017). She served the Hoboken-Barclay Street commuter run across the Hudson River from 1905 to 1967 and was said to have steamed 200,000 miles and carried 125 million people during her career. She became a restaurant in the 1970s and was demolished in place in 2017.

(Photos: Above, a brochure cover for the Miami and Havana sailings of the Clyde Mallory Lines, dated autumn 1939 - courtesy of William H. Miller. Below, a painting of house flags of the port of New London by John Ewen Jr. in 1844 - courtesy of SSHSA Board Member Paul O'Pecko.)

Grant will help build cases for unique models

If you've visited the Ship History Center in the last year, you have probably noticed the impressive models of ocean liners such as the Leviathan and the Imperator. You may have also noticed, if you looked closely, that some of the models are in need of some repairs and cleaning. Thanks to a kind grant from the Champlin Foundation, that is finally going to happen.

The models in question are part of the George Hawley Collection, named for their builder who constructed them primarily out of paper. While some of the finer points like the masts, railings and other fixtures are made of wood and glue, the majority of the ship is simply cardboard, paper and poster board. But despite using materials that some might dismiss as disposable, these amazing works of art - some of which are 6 feet or more in length - are standing the test of time.

George Hawley was born 1912 in Baldwinsville, NY. He served in World War II in Japan and stayed there for several years after the war as an educator before heading home to teach math at Baldwinsville High. Though his career lay in numbers, he had originally wanted to be an architect. His artistic side was expressed by visiting museums and copying some of the works there, and also building models. In addition to ships, Hawley carefully researched and built models of theaters and other buildings.

The Hawley models came out of storage for the first time in over a decade when the Ship History Center opened in 2015. Due to the effects of time, fragility and several moves, the models require conservation on some of the smaller fixtures, such as masts, sails, anchors and lines. Fortunately, The Champlin Foundation recently awarded SSHSA with a grant for $19,500 which will be put toward proper display cases, light cleaning, and repairs for these unique models and 20 others that are part of our collection.

The Champlin Foundation has provided us with more than $115,000 since 2007 to assist us with projects like cleaning, restoring and digitizing images from our collection so they could be displayed online in our Image Porthole. Now they have helped preserve another inimitable collection that will be on display here at the Ship History Center for years to come.