The Bureau of Ships was established on June 20, 1940 by the Department of the Navy. This new bureau consolidated the Bureau of Engineering and the Bureau of Construction and Repair.
The Bureau of Ships was responsible for supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of U.S. Navy vessels of varying sizes (it also acquired ships for the Army and the Army Air Corps).
A record collection in Ancestry.com (available to use for free at Central Library and our branches) contains thousands of photographs of military ships dating from 1914 to 1946. Each photograph has a “Ship Name” and “Date of Photo” associated with it (dates can be approximate). The photographs are searchable by these fields. The photographs can also be browsed by vessel number or name. Photos showing construction, christening, and cruises are available for most vessels. Photos vary widely in terms of quality. Photos can be downloaded or printed.
This database also contains images of the Index to these photographs. The Index is comprised of index file cards that list the name of the ship and some information about it. That information is often extremely limited (such as date and number of a blueprint associated with a section of a vessel). These cards are not presently searchable, but can be browsed by vessel number or name.
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