Cruise and Liner History: Moore-McCormick Lines January 1939 ad from Travel Magazine featuring the “Good Neighbor Fleet” with cruises from New York to South America. This is nine months before World War 2 began.
Messrs. McCormack and Moore (both just shy of 33 years of age) formed Moore & McCormack Company, Incorporated, to charter ships, then to own them. Capitalized at $5,000 with three officer-directors (Henry F. Molloy, as Secretary), with two desks in a ninth floor office of an eleven-story building at 29 Broadway and with ambitions, plans, and hopes as the Company’s major assets.
On the 16th January 1921 a new direct steamship line between Philadelphia, Cork, Dublin and Londonderry was announced by Director Sproul of the Department of Wharves, Docks and Ferries. The line was operated by Moore & McCormack Company, Inc.
In 1926 Moore & McCormack, Inc., as operators, took over the Republics Line which consisted of 11 steamers and the motorship, Tampa. In 1927 the American Scantic Line was sold to Moore & McCormack and was improved under private ownership, with the Pennsylvania railroad eventually purchasing an important interest in it. The American Scantic Line was the first of the Shipping Board lines to enter into agreements with competitive foreign lines under which the United States acquired an equal division of the freight moving between American and foreign ports. The next year the service was extended by adding Leningrad and Gdynia to the ships‘ ports of call. Mooremack played an influential part in the transformation of Gdynia from a small fishing village into a valuable seaport not only for Poland but for all Central Europe.
On the 17th April 1929 a contract was been completed by the American Scantic Line to establish a weekly steamship service between the North Atlantic ports of the United States and the newly created Polish port of Gdynia. It was signed in Poland by Robert C. Lee and was celebrated at a dinner tendered by the Polish Government in Warsaw at which Mr. Lee was guest of honour. The dinner was attended by the Polish Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet, and by Minister Stetson, Consul General Cole, and Commercial Attaché Lane.
On the 25th August 1932 Moore & McCormack made an offer to purchase the American Republics Line, owned by the government and operating between Boston, New York, South Atlantic ports and the east coast of South America. The line is currently operated for the board by C. H. Sprague & Son of Boston, and the shipping board had long sought a purchaser.
On the 16th August 1938 the contract to operate the three Panama Pacific liners, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, operated formerly by the Panama Pacific Line, and the ten freighters of the American Republics Line which were operated by C. H. Sprague & Sons, Inc., was awarded to Moore & McCormack, Inc. The liners are in dry dock, where renovations costing more than $1,000,000 are being made. They will make a speed of 18 knots or better and reach Buenos Aires in 18 or 19 days. Renovations have been carried out that make the ships 100% fireproof, in accordance with Federal regulations.
The contract with the government permits Moore & McCormack to replace any of the ten freighters with ships that are at least equally fast. The ships now operated make about ten knots, and it is planned to transfer ships now owned by the company from other services, so that a minimum speed of 13 knots will be available in the South American freight service.
The firm name of Moore & McCormack, Inc. was changed to Moore-McCormack Lines embracing the new American Republics service and the American Scantic Line service.
On the 8th September 1938 the firm of Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc., was organised. It operated the American Scantic Line service to the Baltic Sea and the Mooremack Lines to South America. The company is an outgrowth of the development of Moore & McCormack. Albert V. Moore was President and Emmet J. McCormack was Treasurer. The officers were Commander Robert C. Lee, Executive Vice President; Captain George Holt, Vice President, and Henry P. Molloy, Vice President and Secretary. Commander Lee was the ranking operating officer. Captain Holt was assistant to Messrs. Moore and Molloy, secretary and counsel.
On the 4th October 1938 the Argentina, Brazil, and the Uruguay were formally taken over by the operators. Captain Granville Conway, Director of the Maritime Commission in New York, and Robert C. Lee, Executive Vice President of Moore-McCormack Lines, signed the necessary papers.
From the 8th October 1938 Moore-McCormack Lines started operating the American Republics Line under charter for the Maritime Commission. After January 1, 1939, it operated it for its own account under a contract for three years. On the 31st December 1938 the American Republics Line was turned over to Moore & McCormack at midnight. The company became operators of the Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. A. V. Moore, president of Moore-McCormack Lines, Inc. stated that operation of the line indicated clearly that the service was considered essential both to the United States and South America. The American Republics Line had three passenger ships and six 13-knot cargo carriers. Mr. Moore announced that starting with the sailing of the Uruguay on January 17, ships of the line will call at Barbados southbound, arriving there on the 4th day, and at Rio de Janeiro on the 12th morning. The ships also would call southbound at Santos, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, and northbound at Santos, Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad.