S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

S.S. America interiors

Above: Charles Baskerville painted portraits of the wealthy and documented the Jazz Age in his drawings for the New Yorker Magazine, but the tropical murals in the America’s First Class lounge were the sort of work he enjoyed most.
(Sandy McLendon) Image from the Mariners’ Museum Collection

  • Ship decorators Anne Urquhart left, and Dorothy Marckwald. Photo by Wilbur Pippin

The first all women design team to decorate an ocean liner Dorothy Marckwald and Anne Urquhart look out at us with a confident knowing smile. They created a ship that was uniquely American in style and spirit.

When the Marckwald/Urquhart team designed the America they stayed clear of the opulent ArtDeco style found on the Normandie. They also avoided the confusing mixture of French provincial, Elizabethan, Georgian, and pseudo-hunting lodge – Wild West interiors found on the Manhattan and Washington.

“For the America”, said Marckwald, “it was decided that this latest of our passenger ships should distinctly and completely represent our own personality; therefore, a simple, comfortable American style was determined upon.” “Simple” meant comfortable yet elegant. For “American style”, she chose contemporary art and “Hollywood Modern”   interiors. The cream-colored walls, recessed lighting and black linoleum floors with white inlaid swirls, shared a similarity with the slick stage sets of a Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire film. The ship was a hit with the traveling public and continued to have a loyal following well into the 1970’s

 

  • Steamship America cabin U 49
  • Ballroom Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “S.S. America interiors

  1. Larry larsen

    We sailed from New York on April 11, 1964 bound for Le Havre with stops at Cork and Southampton. Two days out the ship encountered heavy seas which strengthened until there were estimated 50′ seas. There were many young aboard and we had a great time attempting to dance around wrapped cables strung across the ball room and all other open spaces. A day out of Cork the captain attempted to alter course during lunch. The ship wallowed broadside to a wave and plates, glasses and food crashed onto the guests as the table cloths slid off the tables. Fortunately our chairs were chained to the tables so we stayed in place. We were then served sandwiches as the galley had been destroyed. A good adventure. A good storm.

  2. Ian R Lamb, Sr

    My mother and I came to the US Feb 1947. She was a war bride and I was born in England. My father was an American soldier. We came over on the S.S. America. I was just 17 months old so I don”t remember anything about her. Would like to find info .

  3. Hannelore Repetto

    My mother and I came to America on the SS America in January 1951 it was a terrible winter Crossing. Neither one of us spoke a word of English
    We must of been in steerage because our room had no resemblance to the pictures that they show of America’s interior?
    I was seasick for seven days and the only thing I could eat was red delicious apples I had never had before. Needless to say 60 years later I have never eaten another red delicious apple!

  4. marlene fencik

    i WAS ON THIS SHIP APRIL OF 1959 COMING HOME FROM GERMANY.HUSBAND WAS IN US ARMY. IT WAS THE WORSE STORM WE HAD IN 30 YEARS AND I WAS IN CABIN CLASS. IT WAS A GREAT SHIP IT GOT US HOME SAFE AND SOUND. ALL SO WAS ON THE SS UNITED STATS. GOING TO GERMANY IN MARCH OF 1958. SEA SICK BOTH WAYS. BUT IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE.!

  5. Jackie stahl

    I sailed on the America as a child to England, and all I remember was that my mother was seasick the entire time. strangers had to comb my hair. When I saw how the ship deteriorated after being beached near the Canary Islands, I found it.very depressing.

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