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SS La Normandie - History and Ephemera Collection

Ephemera for the SS La Normandie are available at the GG Archives, including Passenger Lists, Menus, Brochures, Event Programs, and more.

The New Steamship La Normandie of the French Line. She will travel between New York and Le Havre.

The New Steamship La Normandie of the French Line. She will travel between New York and Le Havre. GGA Image ID # 132c6501b7

La Normandie is the last picket boat that will be demanded of England since here-after, the vessels designed for the Company's fleet will be built in French yards.

She comes from the shipyards at Barrow, a place which, twenty years ago, was a desert beach. Still, today is a city of 45,000 souls, thanks to the establishments for naval constructions and to a spinning mill that gives employment to the wives and daughters of the ship carpenters.

One of our engravings represents the vessel at the moment of launching. Below and in front of the stem stands a young lady, the godmother of the new horn. The unfastening of a ribbon by her sufficed to give the titan its liberty by bringing about the fall of an ax that severed the last rope holding back the cradle.

A packet boat is a traveling hotel. All the luxury and comfort that reigns in our modern hostelries is found on the Transatlantic steamers and is carried to the most extreme limits in the vessel under consideration.

An examination of the section will show at a glance that the deck has been reserved for general service, for the officers' and engineers' quarters, for the smoking saloon, vestibules for passengers of the first and second class, etc.

Above the deck, on a level with the roof of the cabins, there is a light bridge to serve as a promenade for the passengers, and, overlooking this, is the bridge for the captain.

Orders are given utilizing a speaking tube and telegraphic apparatus, but, if need be, the captain can himself steer the vessel by a simple pressure of his finger upon a servo-motor—a steam apparatus which acts upon the rudder.

The passenger cabins are between decks. Passengers of the first-class occupy the central part of the ship, contrary to the old arrangement, which located them in the back part of the vessel.

There the oscillations due to rolling and pitching, and to the revolution of the screw are less perceptible. The grand dining saloon reaches from larboard to starboard and measures 15 meters in width by 11 in length and 2'6 in height.

It is lighted by portlights set in frames of onyx. Around this saloon are distributed staterooms for 157 passengers, some designed for a single person, others for two, and some for families.

Within easy access, there is a lounge for ladies and bathing saloon,
and staterooms for servants.

Save as to the beauty of the decoration and of furniture, the arrangements are identical for the smoking saloons and the second class cabins for 68 passengers in the back part of the ship.

Steerage - Single Cabin Holds 866 Berths

Emigrants or third class passengers are installed on the third deck, in a cabin containing 866 berths. The hotel part of the ship is heated in winter by a circulation of steam, and at night the vessel is lighted by electricity. This latter is furnished by two machines of 40 HP each.

The general service is facilitated by thirteen large arc lamps. In the interior, the saloons and cabins are lighted by 400 Swan incandescent lamps.

As well known, it is forbidden aboard passenger ships to keep a light in the staterooms after a certain hour. As there is no danger of fire from electric lamps, passengers will only have to touch a button to relight their lamp and enjoy light all night. (Scientific American Supplement, 6 January 1883, p. 5831)

Front Cover, CGT French Line SS La Normandie Cabin Passenger List - 30 June 1888.

1888-06-30 SS La Normandie Passenger List

  • Steamship Line: CGT French Line
  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 30 June 1888
  • Route: Le Havre to New York
  • Commander: Captain G. de Kersabiec


Ephemera contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenirs provided to the passengers of each voyage. Many of these souvenir ephemeral items have disappeared over the years.

Our selection varies considerably by ship, and likely contains only a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.

Bookmark pages you're researching and check back periodically for additions as we continue to digitize our extensive ephemera materials.

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