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That is an interesting question! As you may know the process of naming Liberty Ships often fell onto sponsors so selecting the persons who physically Christen them might also fall upon them. Therefore it may follow that there is no definitive index to these persons. Generally government records would be arranged around offices or bureaus and grouped or cross-referenced by the ships themselves thus a list of participants and attendees of Christening ceremonies might be hard to come by. Fortunately naval history has many devotees so there may be a resource on the topic. Firstly, we recommend inquiring with the Maritime Administration (MARAD).
If MARAD cannot help, another approach might be to examine history texts concerning Liberty Ships. Some texts may only have the most basic information about every ship. If the texts do not have the personal names you’re looking for, take note of the ship names, hull numbers, and launch dates of those constructed in or launched from Richmond and examine local papers for press coverage on those dates. A local library or historical society could help you locate, use, or remotely access scanned newspapers from that time.
Several government agencies dealt with merchant marine matters in World War II. Notable are the Maritime Administration (Record Group 357), the War Shipping Administration (Record Group 248), and the U.S. Maritime Commission (Record Group 178). We checked the Martime Commission, which regulated all water-borne commerce except coastal and internal shipping, supervised freight-forwarding and terminal services, and administered government aid in constructing and operating vessels engaged in ocean commerce. Some records are in the National Archives at San Francisco (located in San Bruno, California) and others in College Park, Maryland.
In San Francisco the accession “West Coast Regional Construction Division Oakland, CA” may have some answers. A series within it is entitled “Word War II Ship Construction Photographs,” which includes may have some helpful captions. Several lines in the finding aid for that series include references to launches or launchings. You may contact them at this e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and inquire further.
You can do likewise with the Still Pictures Branch in College Park, MD. They can be reached at email@example.com . If they do have launch/Christening photographs indexed, the volume of material and work necessary to narrow searches to ships Christened in Richmond may require a fair bit more work and thus require a visit.
A number of videos concerning Liberty Ships are available on the NARA catalog, such as this one here of the SS Benjamin Warner (Hull No. 2700), which was launched with great ceremony as the last Liberty Ship from Richmond. Viewing the video for free may be limited--completely or partially--unless you are on site. Copies are available through the Motion Pictures Branch.
Best of luck!
Compiled by Alex Champion