New in the collection: WWII ship-launching badge

Pinback that reads "North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Launching Admittance Within Lines"

“The opening of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in 1941 is what ultimately revived the region’s economy during the Second World War, transforming Wilmington into the ‘The Defense Capital of the State’….

“The plant… resulted in the city’s population increasing from 33,000 to 50,000. By 1943, the apex of national homefront mobilization, the shipyard employed approximately 20,000 people, [of whom] 1,628 were women and 6,000 were African-Americans….

“[The Cape Fear River shipyard] was one of ten in the country specializing in  Liberty cargo vessels, which transported ammunition, tanks, vehicles and other military supplies.”

-From “Wilmington, North Carolina (American World War II Heritage City)” by the National Park Service

Briefly among the city’s newcomers: playwright Arthur Miller.

This sample badge for launching-ceremony guests was manufactured by the St. Louis Button Co.