New York Ship was the dream of Henry G. Morse. After spending 25 years building iron bridges and tunnels for a variety of companies, and two years as president of the Harlan & Hollingsworth shipyard in Wilmington, Delaware, Morse decided it was time to start his own company. With the financial support of Andrew Mellon and Henry Frick, Morse set out to build a state of the art shipyard. He named his company New York Ship, because it was originally intended to be located on Staten Island.
In the end, Morse decided on a large tract of farmland in Camden, NJ, which offered better land, rail facilities, and access to a great number of experienced shipyard workers. The name was kept, and in 1899, Morse began constructing his shipyard, which opened in 1900.