412 Rivervale Road River Vale, NJ 07675 201-391-2323

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The River Vale Free Public Library's

USS Enterprise (CV-6) Collection

Enterprise Collection Museum Case

The Township of River Vale is guardian of the stern plate of the USS Enterprise (CV-6) which rests in our Memorial Park. The River Vale Public Library has taken on the mission of creating a "USS Enterprise (CV-6) Collection" so the public can learn about the history of the ship, her crewmen and the role they played in maintaining the freedom we enjoy today.  The core of the collection consists of a museum case containing artifacts from the ship, donations from her veterans, first hand accounts of her crewmen and memorabilia from members of the USS Enterprise CV-6 Association.

USS Enterprise (CV-6) Artifacts

Enterprise Artifacts
Library Director, Ann McCarthy with
Mary Cardenas and Elizabeth Skrabonja 
of the Orangetown Museum
    Artifacts include:
  • * A 12 x 17 foot ship's flag
  • * Two Lanterns
  • * Ship's Boxing Bell
  • * Five Log Books from the Ship

The Orangetown Historical Museum & Archives in Orangeburg, New York has generously donated their USS Enterprise (CV-6) artifacts to the River Vale Library to become part of the Enterprise Collection. These valuable items from the ship were originally donated to the Tappan Zee Historical Society by the vice president of the Lipsett Corporation, the company responsible for the dismantling of the Enterprise from 1958 to 1960. The artifacts eventually became the property of the Orangetown Historical Museum.

History of the Enterprise

USS Enterprise CV-6 Log book signed
by Newton H. White - Commander for
the ship's Shakedown Cruise in 1938

The USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the seventh U.S. naval ship to be given the name "Enterprise." The tradition of naming a naval ship Enterprise dates back to 1775 when a British sloop was captured by a small American force, renamed Enterprise and used to fight the British.

Commissioned in 1938, the USS Enterprise (CV-6), known as the Big E, earned twenty battle stars and the distinction of being the most decorated naval ship of World War II. For a period of time following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Big E was the only U.S. aircraft carrier available for battle. Alone in the Pacific, her courageous crew hung a sign on the hanger deck - "Enterprise vs. Japan" - which spoke of the ship's precarious situation and the tenacity of her crewman.

Following the war, efforts were made to preserve the Enterprise but the ship was eventually sold for scrap to the Lipsett Corporation in 1958. The dismantling of the ship was directed by River Vale resident, Henry Hoffmann. Hoffmann brought the stern plate of the ship to the township. For many years it was displayed behind the center field of the Little League ball field before it was moved to Veteran's Memorial Park in December 2000 under the determined efforts of River Vale Resident and VFW member, Edward Carter.

The Library and the Enterprise

Veteran, Willard (Bill) Norberg visits
with Library Director, Ann McCarthy

Library Director, Ann McCarthy, has fostered a relationship with veterans of the Enterprise through her contact with their organization, the USS Enterprise CV-6 Association. In 2012, the Library Board of Trustees decided to officially establish an Enterprise Collection that would include information from Big E veterans and memorabilia from the association. Confidential Mail Yeoman on the Enterprise, Willard (Bill) Norberg, has provided the library with extensive information on life aboard the Enterprise during wartime. The purpose of the Enterprise Collection mirrors the goal of the  Enterprise CV-6 Association - to educate the public about the history of the ship, her crewmen and the role they played in maintaining the freedom we enjoy today.

The library continues to accept donations in support of the collection. Enterprise Donation Form

Learn more about the USS Enterprise (CV-6)

    Or check out these great items at the library:

  • Enterprise: America's Fightingest ship and the men who helped win World War II (2012) --- Book or Audiobook
  • Battle 360 - Complete Season One (2008) --- DVD
  • USS Enterprise CV-6, the most decorated ship of World War II : a pictorial history (1982) --- Book
  • The Big E: the story of the USS Enterprise (1962) --- Book 
  • Never Call Me a Hero: A legendary american dive-bomber pilot remembers the Battle of Midway (2017) --- Book 
  • The Jersey Brothers: A missing naval officer in the Pacific and his family's quest to bring him home (2017) --- Book
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