The Good Neighbor Fleet – Moore McCormack Lines to South America

Cruise and Liner History: Selections from the Gift of Thomas C. Ragan to the Wolfsonian Florida International University Library…


During his March 1933 inaugural speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) promised Americans a New Deal, while also pledging to initiate a Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America. Departing from the interventionist “gunboat diplomacy” of his distant cousin former President Theodore Roosevelt, FDR encouraged the expansion of trade and tourism as the key to US relations with its neighbors to the South. Founded by Albert V. Moore and Emmet J. McCormack in New York in 1913, the Moore-McCormack Company benefitted from FDR’s advocacy for American commercial shipping and from government subsidies for steamship lines servicing Latin American destinations. In the late 1930s, the company marketed three of its ships—the SS Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay—as the Good Neighbor Fleet, a conscious echo of the president’s inaugural pledge.

Mrs Ada Peacock


Born in Iowa, Ada Peacock went to England as a young woman. She attended Heatherley’s Art School in London with her husband Gerry Peacock. They left London for Buenos Aires so that Gerry could manage an advertising agency there. They only intended to remain for a couple of years, but the political situation meant that they would be unable to bring their money out, so they remained there for the rest of their lives.

She painted gouache pictures mostly in the 1940s or earlier, of authentic Argentine people, their costumes, and their lifestyles. Earlier, in England and New York, she had designed costumes for several musical revues. In Argentina she designed menu covers for Ada Peacock was a watercolor artist – mid 20th Century – from Iowa. She married an advertising executive and later moved to South America. A series of her paintings were commissioned by the Moore-McCormack Lines and used as menu covers.



While her colorful palate is entertaining, her attention to authentic detail reveals much more. The following caption was found attached to the back of one of her paintings for Moore-McCormack: “In the old days, the Cholas (native girls) would sit around a big vessel and chew corn, which they would then spit into the vessel to make a delicious pale gray drink. It had to stand for a while until it fermented. Then it was ready for market. The customer has the usual wool in her hand as the women are always making wool thread for weaving. The baby carried on her back has sugar cane in her hand, which is given to children in place of candy.” In the January 1942 edition of Woman’s Home Companion magazine provided a view of the way Ms. Peacock’s art has been carefully inter-woven with cultural education and appreciation. The magazine featured a two page spread of a cut-out paper doll named “Rosita – Our Good Neighbor”.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.