HIGGINS INDUSTRIES COLLECTION, ADDENDUM 1

(Mss 177)

INVENTORY

Earl K. Long Library

University of New Orleans

June 2008

Contents

Summary

Biographical Note

List of Series and Subseries

Container List

Index Terms

Procedures for Requesting Special Collections Materials

Summary

Size:

Approximately 1 linear feet (2 boxes).

Geographic Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana.

Inclusive Dates:

1940 to 1970.

Bulk Dates:

1950 to 1960.

Summary:

Several photographs of Higgins Industries ships and construction sites, both of a civilian and military nature.  The condition of the photographs vary from very good to fair, some items bearing the marks of water damage and other deterioration.

Related Collections:

Higgins Industries Collection (MSS 65)

Source:

Gift, 1980-1990.

Access:

No Restrictions.

Copyright:

Physical rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans.

Citation:

Higgins Industries Collection, Addendum 1 (MSS 177), Louisiana and Special Collections Department, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans

Biographical Note

             Andrew Jackson Higgins incorporated Higgins Industries, located at 1755 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, on September 26, 1930,.  This company sought to develop a boat-building sideline, which began with his previous business, A. J. Higgins Lumber and Export Company.  Both companies were put into voluntary receivership in 1931 to forestall bankruptcy, with a friendly judge naming Higgins as his own receiver. Higgins managed to keep Higgins Industries solvent by creating a third business, Boat Services Company, which bought the craft produced by Higgins Industries and sold or leased them to others.  This arrangement allowed Higgins to keep nearly fifty people employed and pay off his debts by 1935.

             Higgins specialized in developing shallow-draft boats that could easily navigate the bayous and marshes of the Gulf Coast and Central and South America.  He built a solid reputation for his company, especially within the petroleum and oil industry.  This led to his first government contract in 1937.  With World War II that reputation enabled Higgins Industries to become one of the largest manufacturers of U. S. naval combat boats during World War II.  The ability of the company to design and produce vessels in record time meant that during the war they produced 20,094 boats, employing 20,000 workers at seven plants in the New Orleans area: St. Charles Ave., City Park, the Industrial Canal, Michoud (and an adjoining plywood plant), Bayou St. John, and Houma.  Among the sixty-four products the company produced were various types of landing craft, notably LCVPs (landing craft vehicle, personnel) used in amphibious landings in the Normandy Invasion and countless other actions, and PT boats.  Its success and lucrative government contracts enabled the company to expand into other related ventures that resulted in the creation of new subsidiaries, including Higgins Aircraft, Higgins Engine Company, and Higgins Plastics Corporation.

             After the war, Higgins attempted to convert this considerable manufacturing capability to the production of such consumer products as appliances and house building materials as well as pleasure boats.  In 1945 Frank P. Higgins, Andrew’s brother, took over the retail end of the business and, with his sons, Ed and Jack, opened Higgins Marine Sales Corporation and operated it out of the City Park plant.  Beset by labor disputes, Andrew Higgins liquidated Higgins Industries, Inc. on November 9, 1945.  In January 1946, he formed a new company, Higgins, Inc., which was to produce commercial boats and pleasure craft. The remaining subsidiaries of Higgins Industries were transferred to the new company in March.  Higgins, Inc. never reached the success of its predecessor.  By fall 1948 most of the wartime plants had been closed and production was concentrated at the Industrial Canal facility.  Andrew Higgins died of a stomach ailment at age sixty-five on August 1, 1952.  His sons (Ed, Andrew Jr., Frank, and Roland) continued the business through the 1950s, but mounting debts resulted in the sale of Higgins, Inc. to New York Ship in 1959.  New York Ship was subsequently sold to what would eventually become Equitable Equipment Company.  Higgins Marine Sales Corporation continued at the old City Park Plant until 1970, when it moved to Thalia Street, where it operated for five more years before closing.

 Source:

Strahan, Jerry E. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II.  Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1994.

List of Series and Subseries

Series I:

Eureka Boats.

Series II:

Pleasure Craft.

Series III:

Ships and Barges.

Series IV:

Construction Sites.

Series V:

Well-head Protector Jackets.

Series VI:

Oil Rigs and Models.

Series VII:

Miscellaneous.

Series Descriptions

I.

Photographs of various models of the famous Higgins “Eureka” boat.

II.

Photographs of various non-military Higgins pleasure boats.  Includes one strip of negatives.

III.

Photographs of large-scale Higgins ships, including military vessels, cargo ships, and barges.

IV.

Photographs of various Higgins construction sites, including oil rig construction and dry docks.

V.

Photographs of “Well-Head Protector Jackets”, meant for oil rig construction.

VI.

Photographs of marine-based oil rigs, including scale models of the same.

VII.

Photographs of various other Higgins equipment and miscellany.

Container List

Series I: Eureka Boats

Box 1:

177-1              8 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

39 ft. “Eureka” Inspection Boat.  Sioux City.

2

30 ft. “Eureka” Work Boat.  Terrapin.  Corps of Engineers.

3

Duplicate of above.

4

“Roustabout of New Orleans”.

5

Eureka boat, unnamed, with cabin set in center.

6

Eureka boat, unnamed, with long cabin and shuttered front windows.

7

“Captain Jack”.  “Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army”.  “New Orleans, LA.”

8

Duplicate of above.

Series II: Pleasure Craft

Box 1:

177-2              6 photographs.  1 strip of negatives.  See itemized list, following:

1

Small Higgins yacht with four passengers, presumably 2 men and 2 women, flying the United States Yacht Ensign flag.

2

Higgins motorboat with two passengers, a woman holding a fishing rod and a man wearing shades and a small cap.

3

Strip of negatives of the previous two photographs.

4

Shallow-bottomed vessel being piloted by Andrew J. Higgins.  Boat has two “horns”, or metal cylinders, attached to the front, pointing straight up.

5

Small Higgins yacht, uncovered, flying a Higgins flag as well as a United States Yacht Ensign Flag.  Passengers include two men seated in front, and two women in bathing suits perched in the rear of the vessel.

6

Interior shot of a cabin.  Contains floral curtains and several cushioned wooden chairs and couches.

7

Higgins 23 ft. Cabin Cruiser.

Series III: Ships and Barges

Box 1:

177-3              10 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

140 ft. Dragline Barge.

2

Duplicate of above.

3

Barge under construction.  Several workmen are on the surface of, or next to, the barge’s main body.

4

Barge bearing a construction crane.  The “H.A. Lindsay”.

5

Two grey barges on a dry construction bed.  Several empty bays between the two barges, and several workmen wandering the area.

6

Barge under construction.  Several workmen are on the barge’s surface.  Several 60s era cars in the adjacent parking lot.

7

Long grey barge carrying cement tanks.  The “Haliburton 104”.

8

Tugboat bearing the name “Andrew J. Higgins”.

9

Large unmarked ship, possibly a cargo vessel.

10

Large ship, possibly a cargo vessel.  The “Guaranesia”.  Photograph severely damaged.

177-4              9 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Several U.S. Army ships.  T-495, T-497, and the T-498.

2

Duplicate of above.

3

Large ship, possibly a cargo vessel.  U.S. Army FSR 791.

4

Duplicate of above.

5

Large cargo ship.  The “Havsbris”.

6

Medium-sized ship carrying cement tanks.  The “Haliburton 209”.

7

Smaller military ship.  440.

8

Same ship as above, from different angle.

9

Several ships in dry dock.  The Merl, U.S. Army LT-2094, W-541, W 257, and J.S. Toler.

Series IV: Construction Sites

Box 2:

177-5              10 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Large multi-tiered structure, possibly the beginnings of an oil rig.

2

Large steel structure, connected by several “X” crossbeams.

3

Large steel structure, connected by several “X” crossbeams.  Well-head jacket can be seen in the background.

4

Duplicate of above.

5

Large steel structure, connected by several “X” crossbeams.  Caption reads: “High Quality Workmanship-On Time!”

6

Duplicate of above.

7

Several small boats and ships mounted on blocks on a wooden dock. 

8

Floating metal shed with several pipes connected to it on the right-hand side, and several metal “chimneys” protruding from the roof.  “T.T. Co. 766”.

9

Same structure as above, different angle.

10

Duplicate of above.

177-6              5 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Large warehouse and work yard area.  Caption reads “Cement Tanks in Mass Production”.  A “White Only” water fountain can be seen in the bottom center of the photograph.

2

Duplicate of above.

3

Two men working on a cement tank, one seated on the tank’s surface.

4

Several men working on a prefabricated two-story prefabricated building.

5

Large construction area with several cars, tractors, and cranes.  The side of one crane reads “Higgins MIKE”.  Sediment of an unknown type is in large piles between the construction site and several large cylinders in the background.  Photograph has several scores and blemishes.

Series V: Well-Head Protector Jackets

Box 2:

177-7              11 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Large structure consisting of 8 cylinders connected by “X” beams.  Caption reads: “Well-head Protector Jacket”.

2

Duplicate of above.  No caption.

3

Same structure as above, from a different angle.

4

Duplicate of above.

5

Similar structure to above, but made up 12 cylinders and connection by triangle beams as well as “X” beams.

6

Same structure as above, from a different angle.

7

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is severely damaged.

8

Same structure as above, from a different angle.

9

Multi-tiered structure made up of eight main cylinders, connected by angled beams.

10

Duplicate of above.

11

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is severely damaged.

177-8              8 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Large structure made up of 16 cylinders.  Each cylinder is crowned with a large cone.  Caption reads: “172 Ton Jacket, Delivered on Time!”

2

Duplicate of above.

3

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is creased down the center.

4

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is severely damaged.

5

Same structure as above, different angle.

6

Duplicate of above.

7

Same structure as above, seated on a barge.

8

Duplicate of above.

Series VI: Oil Rigs and Models

Box 2:

177-9              9 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Large elevated offshore oil rig, with prefabricated house/shed on the same platform.  Large ship, possibly an oil tanker, docked to one side, with smaller structures and boats docked below the platform.

2

Duplicate of above.

3

Floating oil rig, similar to above, but with a thinner peak and with the platform slightly above water level.  Two prefabricated houses/sheds to one side of the platform.

4

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is severely damaged.

5

Duplicate of above.

6

Large scale oil rig model, collapsed.  Gentleman in glasses working with model on one end.

7

Same model as above, but vertically elevated.

8

White oil rig model on a raised platform and set on a wooden base.

9

Same model as above, different angle.

Series VII: Miscellaneous

Box 2:

177-10            8 photographs.  See itemized list, following:

1

Glossy transfer/photograph of sketch of the Elysian Fields Avenue Overpass at Florida Avenue.  “Godat & Heft, Consulting Engineers, New Orleans”.  Reverse side bears the name and address of “Leon Trice Picture Service”.

2

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is scruffed/scratched and the top right corner is torn.

3

Truck bearing the “Higgins Inc.” logo towing several “Baroid Bulkan” containers on a flat trailer.  Caption reads “Baroid Containers, Delivered!”

4

Duplicate of above.  Photograph is severely scuffed in the lower center.

5

Similar truck and cargo to above, but including additional containers on the trailer and from a different angle.

6

Duplicate of above.

7

Large hook/bolt.  Mechanism includes several small springs and hinges.

8

10 cylinders, arranged at slight angles.  Several cylinders are made up of two halves, with the top white half tapering into a slight cone.  Caption reads “New-Type Fiberglass Buoys”.

Index Terms

Higgins, Andrew J.

Higgins Industries (New Orleans, La.)

Best, Coe

Boatbuilding—Louisiana—New Orleans

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