The ship, built at Sparrows Point, MD in 1911, was formerly the packet steamer SS President Warfield for theBaltimore Steam Packet Company, (American steamship line from 1840 to 1962) providing overnight steamboat service on the Chesapeake Bay, primarily between Baltimore, Maryland, and Norfolk, Virginia.
President Warfield was expropriated in 1942 by the War Shipping Administration for national defense as a transport during World War II. Following the end of World War II, the President Warfield was decommissioned and returned to the War Shipping Administration for disposal as surplus.
The old President Warfield was eventually acquired in early 1947 by Mossad Le’aliyah Bet, a Jewish organization helping Holocaust survivors illegally reach Palestine, then under British mandate.
The former Baltimore Steam Packet and U.S. Navy steamship was renamed Exodus when she embarked from France for Palestine on July 11, 1947, carrying 4,515 passengers. +