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

Dream to reality

The great lady decorators. Anne Urquhart, left, Dorothy Marckwald, right. Photo by Wilbur Pippin.

The great lady decorators. Anne Urquhart, left, Dorothy Marckwald, right.
Photo by Wilbur Pippin.

THE GREAT WOMEN DECORATORS:

The S.S. United States and America embodied America on the high seas in the same manner as did the ‘Queens’ for the Cunard Line and the Ile De France for France. Walk up the gang plank after a long sojourn in Europe and you were back in the USA. The American style and sprit of these liners was no accident. Interior designers Dorothy Marckwald and Anne Urquhart discarded the stuffy old world style previously found on American ships and replaced it with a modern fresh contemporary look that emphasized simplicity over palatial, restrained elegance over glitz and glitter, and modern interiors that were soothingly homelike.It was a winning combination that brought back travelers year after year.

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FROM THE DRAFTING BOARD TO REALITY

 

  • First class dining room. "The walls and ceiling are an off-white, the aluminum leaf is glazed gold, the lighting is indirect. From the balcony the orchestra plays during dinner."
  • First class dinning room
  • First class ballroom lounge. The main social room of the ship. Soft indirect lighting spreads out from a central dome and dozen carved glass panels. From the L Driscoll collection
  • A sense of forum was created by the used of the circular domed lighting and curved glass screens, separating the bar area from the dance floor.First class ballroom lounge; From the L Driscoll collection
  • View from the bar. photo American Merchant Marine Academy Museum
  • Drinks from the bar
  • "First class passengers will spend many relaxing hours in this restful smoking room.
  • The smoker: Colors included a hint of brown overshadowed by a variety of copper, yellow, orange, red, and green. The combination gave the room a cozy, clubby atmosphere.
  • Photo American Merchant Marine Museum
  • "'Come on in the water is fine!' That's the happy invitation spelled out by pennant-flags flying at the far end of the brightly-colored swimming pool. And whether you choose to swim or just be a spectator, you'll find the atmosphere exciting. Electric stars sparkle on the water... lounging chairs line the water edges under gaily-stripped awnings.
  • For the swimming pool Dorothy Marckwald departed from the ‘Roman Bath’ school of pool design found on the Queen’s with a clever simulation of a tropical beach. Sunken lights and a starlit indigo ceiling compensated for the low space over the pool.
  • Cabin class dining; The cabin class dinning salon is midnight blue... the curtains are a combination of green and red stripes. Here with quiet indirect lighting, brilliant sculpturing in bas-releif, gleaming china and silver and snowy white table linen, is the perfect setting for mealtime at sea."
  • The cabin class dining room. Guests who made the delivery run from Newport News to New York preferred the cabin class dining room to that in first class. They found it a friendlier place, with its lower ceiling, dark blue wall and comfortable green leather covered chairs. The gelded figure of Taurus is on the dark blue wall.
  • Cabin class and first class shared the same kitchen.
  • The representation of Taurus the Bull proved a twinge too graphic for the sedate postwar “I Love Lucy” meets “Our Miss Brooks” code of modesty that still dominated society. It seemed that the prominent male genitalia of the well-endowed aluminum bovine caught the eye of several guests … most notably George Horne, the New York Times’ shipping news editor, who took the matter of common decency all the way up to William Francis Gibbs. Overriding objections (from the artist and decorators), the oblivious bull was unceremoniously emasculated and the severed appendage delivered to the Times’ shipping news room affixed to a mahogany plaque.” From the "Last Great Race" by Lawrence Driscoll. Photo American Merchant Marine Museum
  • One of the fourteen suites in First Class
  • Suite U 87-89: Favored by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was popularily called the "Duck Suite".
  • US Lines
  • Tourist Lounge Conceptual
  • Tourist Lounge
  • Tourist Lounge
  • Cabin lounge
  • Cabin class lounge
  • Tourist dining L Driscoll collection
  • Tourist Cabin rendering L Driscoll collection
  • L Driscoll collection