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Dollar Steamship Line History and Ephemera

Dollar Steamship Line - President Liners

The Dollar Steamship Company (commonly known as "Dollar Line") was established on August 12, 1900. In 1902, Captain Robert Dollar sailed to Asia for the first time on a Pacific Mail ship, SS China, to prospect potential lumber markets on the other side of the Pacific. He began to acquire a number of ships, and began his trans-Pacific shipping with a chartered voyage to Yokohama, Japan and the Philippines, marking his entry into international shipping.

During World War I, Robert Dollar ordered the construction of $30 million worth of ships in China, and in 1923 bought seven "502 President Type" liners from the US Shipping Board, pioneering his round-the-world service, marked by the departure of SS President Harrison on January 5, 1924. These were all named after US presidents, a tradition that Dollar Shipping continued until its end.

In 1925, the Dollar Line acquired the assets of Pacific Mail Line and in 1922 the Dollar Line also acquired the Admiral Oriental Line and renamed it the American Mail Line, making Dollar one of the most profitable shipping companies in the world.

Dollar Line continued expanding its business in the late 1920s, buying five more "535 President Type" ships in 1926. In that year, Dollar Line carried over 45,000 passengers and had a gross revenue of $6 million. Dollar encouraged others to invest in Asia with his booklet, "Have You Investigated the Oriental Market for Your Product?", helping to open up Asia to 20th-century industry. The Merchant Marine Act of 1928 (also known as the Jones–White act) also helped Dollar Line, allowing it to sign a lucrative new mail contract and requiring it to build new ships to meet demand.

On May 16, 1932 Robert Dollar died at the age of 88 and was succeeded by his son, Robert Stanley Dollar. Following Robert senior's death, the company began a steady decline. In 1938. American Mail Line became American President Lines.

Vintage Brochures

Dollar Steamship Line
Dollar Steamship Line - The President Liners - 1925 Dollar Steamship Line - The President Liners - 1925
1925 Travel Brochure - The Dollar Steamship President Liners offers a distinctively higher standard of luxury, comfort and convenience a standard designed to meet the requirements of ocean voyagers. 16 Page brochure features 12 large photographs of interiors and passengers and 4 half-size photographs of interiors and passengers. Dollar Steamship Line fleet included President Van Buren, President Monroe, President Harrison, President Adams, President Garfield, President Hayes and President Polk.


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