Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Higgins, Andrew Jackson (1886–1952)

U.S. businessman and naval constructor. Born on 28 August 1886 in Columbus, Nebraska, Andrew Higgins moved to Alabama in 1906. He worked in the timber industry, becoming familiar with shallow-draft boats. In 1923, he started Higgins Lumber and Export Company in New Orleans. By 1926, Higgins had moved away from timber and was focused on manufacturing boats.

During the 1930s, Higgins Industries built a variety of shallow-water boats. Higgins sold vessels to the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers, and in 1939 he received contracts to build a boat for amphibious operations and to manufacture fast patrol torpedo (PT) boats.

Higgins Industries designed and manufactured for the U.S. armed forces in World War II the LCP (landing craft personnel), LCPL (landing craft personnel large), LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel), and LCM (landing craft mechanized). Higgins also oversaw the construction of materials, such as an airborne droppable lifeboat and secretly manufactured items required by the manhattan Project. During the war, Higgins Industries expanded to eight separate plants around New Orleans. The firm built more than 20,000 boats for the Allies. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said of Higgins, "He is the man who won the war for us."

Following the war, Higgins's company experienced financial difficulties, but during the Korean War it again thrived. Andrew Higgins died in New Orleans on 1 August 1952.

R. Kyle Schlafer


Further Reading
Lorelli, John A. To Foreign Shores: U.S. Amphibious Operations in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.; Strahan, Jerry E. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994.
 

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