This collection documents the launching of the SS Lakeland Victory on July 18, 1945 at the Permanente Metals Corporation Shipyard number 2 in Richmond, California. It includes photographs of the ship sliding down the ways at its launching, photographs of the people involved in the launching ceremony, and a program for the ceremony which specifically states the ship was "named in tribute to the city of Lakeland, Florida,"
The SS Lakeland Victory was one of a class of cargo ships mass produced by the United States in World War II. The production of Victory ships began in 1943 as a means of replacing the smaller, slower Liberty ships, which had been the backbone of the effort to get military supplies and equipment to the troops in Europe. The Lakeland Victory was not launched until July 1945, more than two months after the war in Europe had ended. Little is known of its subsequent usage or even why it it was named after the City of Lakeland.
The ship made the news in 1949 when it was dispatched to China to pick up US Consul General Angus Ward and nineteen other American citizens who had been released by the Chinese after spending time in a Chinese jail.
The materials were donated to the Special Collections unit of the Lakeland Public Library in 1998 by Mary Crapanzano, the daughter of Navy Chaplain John Chaplain Beamer, who gave the invocation at the launching ceremony.