USS Brooklyn CL 40 under constructionOriginal caption: "Navy Yard N.Y. 11-27-36 U.S.S. Brooklyn, F1104-C-90."
The Light Cruiser USS Brooklyn CL40 was built in the New York Navy Yard (commonly known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard) between 1933 and 1936. It started out as a PWA project, but at the last minute, its funding was redirected toward the construction of another ship at a Massachusetts shipyard. Nevertheless, USS Brooklyn is a member of a new class of cruisers that the PWA funding introduced. Furthermore, since the Brooklyn Navy Yard was heavily staffed by WPA workers, the Brooklyn was likely constructed with New Deal labor.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard operated as a Navy facility from 1801 until 1966. It built two warships, USS Brooklyn and USS Erie under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). NIRA gave president Franklin D. Roosevelt the authority to build ships and an agency, the Public Works Administration (PWA), to pay for them. Numerous other Navy ships were built at Brooklyn Navy Yard during the New Deal. These include the light cruiser Honolulu CL48 (1938), the light cruiser Helena CL50 (1939), the battleship North Carolina BB55 (1941), the battleship Iowa (BB61), and the battleship Missouri BB63 (1944). According to this Wikipedia page, about a third of the employees were paid by the WPA. This is backed up by the reasearch of John Stobo at Columbia University.
- Kermit Project, New York City New Deal Navy Ships, accessed June 4, 2018.
- Kermit project, The Light Cruiser USS Brooklyn CL40, accessed June 4, 2018.
- NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive USS BROOKLYN (CL 40), accessed June 4, 2018.
- McBride, William, Technological Change and the United States Navy, Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology, Johns Hopkins Press (2011). Within three weeks of his March  inauguration, Roosevelt was encouraging naval rearmament as part of public works since approximatley 85 percent of shipbuilding costs went to labor ... In a complete break with precedent, naval construction now would be at the discretion of the president and begin by executive order. NIRA gave the president carte blanche to construct ships and procure aircraft as allowed under the terms of the naval treaties ... thirty-two ships [were] contracted by Roosevelt under NIRA...”
- Ickes, Harold, Back To Work: The Story of the PWA, The Macmillan Company (1935).
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 6174 on Public Works Administration, June 16, 1933: “During the ensuing 30 days the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works shall have authority to allot [a] sum ... not to exceed $238,000,000 to the Department of the Navy for the construction of certain vessels”.
- Federal Works Agency, Millions for Defense: Emergency Expenditures for National Defense, 1933-1940, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1940).
- Building the Navy's Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps, 1940-1946, Part II, The Continental Bases, Department of the Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks. The quotation above is just a sample, it's a massive document that deserves a thorough reading.
- Stobo, John R, The New Deal Yard, 1933-1937, Part 2, John R. Stobo, Columbia University, October 2004, which quotes from Thompson, H.I., Inspector of Naval Materiel, “Ships Under NIRA”, letter of 20 September 1933 to commandants of the Navy yards, RG181; National Archives, Northeast Region, New York, which lists each ship that was to be built and at which yards (CL = cruiser; DD = destroyer; PG = gunboat; CV carrier):
Project originally submitted by Frank da Cruz on June 5, 2018.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE