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Home / 1930s / The KENNEDYS, OLYMPIC TEAMS and STARS sailed aboard the SS Manhattan during the 1930s.
The KENNEDYS, OLYMPIC TEAMS and STARS sailed aboard the SS Manhattan during the 1930s.

The KENNEDYS, OLYMPIC TEAMS and STARS sailed aboard the SS Manhattan during the 1930s.

  • At the time of their construction, the SS Manhattan and her sister ship, SS Washington, also built by New York Shipbuilding Corporation, were the largest liners ever built in the United States, and Manhattan was the first large liner built in the US since 1905.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

John F. Kennedy and Kennedy family aboard the SS Manhattan.

  • The Manhattan and Washington were two of the few pure liners built by New York Shipbuilding, which had previously built a large number of cargo liners.

  • She carried over 1,100 passengers in Cabin, Tourist, and Third class.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

Cabin Class public rooms on the SS Manhattan. After WW 2 Cabin Class became First Class.

  • United States Lines signed contracts in 1931 for the two ships at a cost of approximately $21 million per ship.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

Marlena Dietrich on the SS Manhattan along with other distinguished passengers.

  • This was considered an extreme cost in the Depression, and a gamble by a man in the passenger liner business.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

1936 USA Olympic Team members heading to Germany.

  • Travel writer Douglas Ward claims in his book “Berlitz Guide to Cruising” that the alcoholic beverage “Manhattan” was named after the ship.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

The favored cocktail aboard ship. The Manhattan.

  • However, there is little evidence to confirm this. Beginning in August 1932, the Manhattan flew the US Lines flag on the New York-Hamburg route, a route she would continue to serve with only one short break until December 1939, when Roosevelt invoked the 1939 Neutrality Act against Germany.
ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

USA 1936 Olympic Women’s swim team heading to Berlin on board the SS Manhattan.

In 1936, the ship carried the US Olympic team to the Olympic Games in Berlin. In 1938, it carried some of the Kennedy family to the United Kingdom when Joseph P. KennedySr., appointed U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain.

ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, manhattan cocktail

Cabin Class Bar, with modern chairs for the times, and a stateroom.

From January 1940 until Italy’s entry into World War II in June 1940, the Manhattan sailed between New York and Genoa. On January 12, 1941, while in coastal service on the Atlantic seaboard, the Manhattan went aground just off the Florida beaches nine miles north of Palm Beach, and was re-floated 22 days later.

ss manhattan, united states lines, olympic team, 1930s, retro, John f Kennedy, marlena dietrich, olympics 1936, palm beach, manhattan cocktail

SS Manhattan aground off Palm Beach.

On March 6, 1941, the commander of the marine inspection bureau suspended the captain and first officer after finding them guilty of negligence in the grounding. The captain received an eight-month suspension while the first officer was suspended for one month.

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