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

SS America interiors

SS America interiors – pictures

The great lady decorators, Anne Urquhart, left, and Dorothy Marckwald Right. Photograph 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 SS America interiors 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 SS America interiors ”, 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 1970s

  • Steamship America cabin U 49
  • Ballroom Art

SS America Wikipedia

15 thoughts on “SS America interiors

  1. Siegfried Linke

    I sailed on the SS America from Bremerhaven to New York to my new home in March 1963 ,one of her last crossings .The sailing was ruff ,we got in to a storm with 50 foot high waves. We were dancing and everybody was pushed to the side on top of each other as the ship was rolling. No insures ,just having a great time. I am blessed to have experianzd this wonderful Ship and get memories. Siegfried Linke.

  2. Mary Ann Buckley

    My family sailed on the SS America from Bremerhaven to New York twice; first in the summer of 1957 for home leave while living in Germany for my father’s job with the US foreign service; the second time was leaving Germany for good in July of 1962. On that trip, we sailed through the edges of a hurricane and most of the passengers were terribly seasick – but the kids like me had a grand time, both in the waves in the swimming pool caused by the rocking of the ship (they finally threw us out and closed it down for safety reasons) and playing ping-pong on the enclosed deck, where the rocking of the ship made it more like racketball as the entire deck would list to the side so the ball in the air would hit the wall or the ceiling instead of the table. They played a movie every afternoon, but there were only two movies that they rotated: “Hatari” and “Lolita.”

  3. Becky Stevenson

    I was on the SS America in 1959 with my parents. My father was in the Army and he was being transferred to France. It took us seven days to complete the trip. I would order breakfast every day and then go swimming. I can only remember some of the voyage, but it was quite an experience. I actually met this person who worked on the ship, Gene, who said that he was going to look me up when I got older to marry me. Well, of course, that didn’t happen.

  4. Marie Lacey

    I do not remember being on the SS America, but I do know I was born on the ship while it was enroute from Cobh to New York many years ago. I treasure any memorabilia I can get on the ship. Fortunately or unfortunately I saw the America in its final resting place in fuertuventura, Canary Islands in 2002.
    Marie Lacey
    Just google my name with SS America

  5. Ruth Wedelich

    I sailed from Bremerhaven to New York in June of 1955. Was so very sea sick. Finally could eat all the food I wanted and I had to get sick. My mother Wilma and my brother Michael were fine. We arrived in New York during a heat wave. It was awful. I was 20 years old and spoke hardly any any english. Now I am almost 84 and am happy my mother decided to come to America. , although I was sooo home sick for a long time.
    It is so sad what happened to that beautiful ship. I saw the SS United States in Philadelphia just rotting away! Sad.

  6. Rudolf Kegel

    I sailed on the Australis, former America from Bremerhafen to Australia in 1970 with stopovers in Southampton, Tenerife, Capetown, Freemantle to Melbourne. In those days the Suez Canal was still blocked from the 67 war and we had to go around Africa. By that time she was 31 years old and being converted to a migrant ship had lost some of her shine, but even the wear and tear could not hide her class. As a former sailor myself I grew quite found of her. It saddened when years later found out her fate of neglect and final end being washed up on Fuenteventura Island and broken up. After a life of faithful service ,may she rest in peace.

  7. lloyd w stephenson

    i returned hme on this ship innov. 1962 iwas an american airman with wife a d two children
    crossing was a little rough oldest child 3 years got a little seasick 7 day crossing from cohb ireland

  8. Kelly Nigro

    My mother and her sister immigrated to the United States on the S.S. America.
    From Le Havre, France 26th Oct, 1950
    Arriving at port of New York 1st Nov, 1950
    They were originally from Switzerland.

  9. Mary Sanichas

    In 1963 my family moved from France to New York on the SS America (7 days). We crossed with my sister’s parakeet and our Standard poodle, who was required to wear a muzzle when we boarded. He stayed in a separate area on another deck, but my father was able to visit him. I was 8 or 9 years old. Rough seas for the first few days but we didn’t mind. My father said we were the only ones in the dining room the first few nights. My sister and I ran wild up and down the decks, even 1st class, where we weren’t allowed. I especially enjoyed drinking consommé on the deck, though weather dreary. I vaguely remember shuffleboard (boring). For the swimming pool I was issued a useless little life vest. At the first slow roll of the ship I found myself standing underwater in the shallow end. Someone wondered why a child was underwater and pulled me out by the hair. I remember a small, low-ceilinged cabin with a porthole, looked institutional like a hospital room. The ocean went on forever, but we churned slowly along.

  10. Anne Gallagher Isakson

    I came to America in May 1950 on the s.s.america from Ireland I was only 16 so here I am today 66 yrs. later & remember the whole journey well, never sick, had a great time even
    though I was the youngest person unaccompanied by a parent, My Uncle met me at the
    dock in NY don’t remember the pier # would like to find out if I could.

  11. 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.

  12. marlene fencik


  13. 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!

  14. 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 .

  15. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *