FYI September 27, 2017

1941 – The SS Patrick Henry is launched becoming the first of more than 2,700 Liberty ships.
SS Patrick Henry was the first Liberty ship launched. It was built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at their Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland, and launched on 27 September 1941.[2][3]

Liberty ships initially had a poor public image and to try to assuage public opinion, September 27, 1941 was designated Liberty Fleet Day, and the first 14 “Emergency” vessels were launched that day. The first of these (with MC hull number 14) was Patrick Henry, launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[3] Other “Emergency” vessels launched that day, in various yards around the country included: SS John C. Fremont, SS Louise Lykes, SS Ocean Venture, SS Ocean Voice, SS Star of Oregon, and SS Steel Artisan.[4]

In the speech delivered at the launching, Roosevelt referred to Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech of 23 March 1775. Roosevelt said that this new class of ships would bring liberty to Europe, which gave rise to the name “Liberty ship”. Patrick Henry was sponsored by Ilo Browne Wallace, wife of Vice President Henry A. Wallace, with Mrs. Robert H. Jackson, wife of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Madame Bruggmann, wife of the Minister of Switzerland Karl Bruggmann and sister of the vice president. Ilo Wallace christened the ship. The ship’s fitting was completed on December 30, 1941.[4]

Service history
Her maiden voyage was to the Middle East. During World War II she made 12 voyages to ports including Murmansk (as part of Convoy PQ 18[5]), Trinidad, Cape Town, Naples, and Dakar.[4]

She survived the war, but was seriously damaged when she went aground on a reef off the coast of Florida in July 1946. The ship was laid up at Mobile, Alabama, and was scrapped at Baltimore in 1958.[6][7]


1818 – Hermann Kolbe, German chemist and academic (d. 1884)
Hermann Kolbe (Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe, 27 September 1818 – 25 November 1884), was a seminal contributor in the birth of modern organic chemistry. He was a Professor at Marburg and Leipzig. Kolbe coined the term synthesis and contributed to the philosophical demise of vitalism through synthesis of the organic substance acetic acid from carbon disulfide, and also contributed to the development of structural theory. This was done via modifications to the idea of “radicals” and accurate prediction of the existence of secondary and tertiary alcohols, and to the emerging array of organic reactions through his Kolbe electrolysis of carboxylate salts, the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction in the preparation of aspirin and the Kolbe nitrile synthesis. After studies with Wöhler and Bunsen, Kolbe was involved with the early internationalization of chemistry through overseas work in London (with Frankland), and rose through the ranks of his field to edit the Journal für Praktische Chemie. As such, he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences won the Royal Society of London’s Davy Medal in the year of his death. Despite these accomplishments and his training, by a storied next generation of chemists (including Zaitsev, Curtius, Beckmann, Graebe, Markovnikov, etc.), Kolbe is remembered for editing the Journal for more than a decade, where his rejection of Kekulé’s structure of benzene, van’t Hoff’s theory on the origin of chirality and von Baeyer’s reforms of nomenclature were personally critical and linguistically violent. Kolbe died of a heart attack in Leipzig at age 68, six years after the death of his wife, Charlotte. He was survived by four children.

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