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A Glimpse of Early 20th-Century Life at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company

The man himself, January 28, 1905. Charles Bailey was also administrative vice president for the project of building the Mariners’ Museum and creating the Park.

Charles Franklin Bailey (1863-1934), a native of Vermont, came to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in 1891 as chief draftsman. Appointed chief engineer in 1900, Bailey was later named engineering director and a member of the yard’s board of directors in 1918. From its beginning, Bailey was active in the founding and success of The Apprentice School. After he retired from the shipyard in 1934, the Charles F. Bailey Award was created in his honor, recognizing the graduate with the highest scholastic average.

Bailey enjoyed photography and he created three small albums of photographs that he took between 1903 and 1905. In addition to documenting ships under construction or in for repair, there are views of the shipyard, buildings in Newport News and residences in Norfolk.

Among my favorites are these taken from his office window:

View of the shipyard from office windows of the Charles F. Bailey, 2/6/1905
Snow covered shipyard, 2/11/1904
Another view from offices, with Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s Mongolia in dock, while on her maiden voyage, 2/1/1904
Crowd at the launch of Virginia, 4/5/1904. A NNSBDD-built battleship, Virginia (Hull #40) took part in the 1907 to 1909 cruise of the Great White Fleet around the world.
Bailey titled this photo: Dinner a la “Cart”- shipyard. Taken outdoors among boilers and other shipyard material, workers are getting food from vending carts, 1905.

Julie Murphy contributed content to this post.

Source: The Apprentice School: Celebrating a Century by William A. Fox . Brookfield, MO, The Donning Company Publishers, 2019.

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