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“Truth Touched by Emotion”: The Carpathia’s Arrival in New York City

"Truth Touched by Emotion": The Carpathia's Arrival in New York City

The news of the Titanic disaster had reached shore and spread even while its lifeboats were still being rescued by the Carpathia.

All thanks to the wireless telegraph.

Guglielmo Marconi's wireless "telegraphy" technology was truly a wonder of the modern age.

But beyond its dazzle, it functioned as an entirely public line of communication between operators--and anyone else who might care to know.

And so, as Titanic sank, its urgent, unbroken distress calls had been dispersed in real-time. Until around 2:00 a.m., when Titanic's voice quite suddenly went silent, and was not heard again.

At the New York Times office, editor Carr Van Anda was incredulous at first. "It can’t be true," he reportedly said. "The Titanic’s equipped with extra safety compartments."

But in the end, Van Anda was the sole editor to deduce the substance of Titanic's abrupt radio silence: she must have gone down.

The news sent New York City into havoc.

Some of the most prominent, celebrated, and famous New Yorkers, such as Colonel John Jacob Astor and Isidor Straus, had been on board Titanic. People swarmed the offices of the White Star Line in Manhattan, demanding the unknown fates of their family members and friends. Contradictory headlines mounted as they were barked from street corners and pinned to walls. Even still at sea, the rescue ship Carpathia was besieged by journalistic intrusion as it sailed toward the city with Titanic’s survivors.

It was plainly impossible to exist in New York City without knowing of the Titanic disaster.

Details, however, were sparse and often hypothetical.

The White Star Line, unsurprisingly, promoted only the most optimistic of reports: that everyone had been saved, and that Titanic was being towed into port.

The rescue ship Carpathia, still at sea with Titanic's 700-plus survivors, was on a mandatory media blackout. All wireless transmissions were restricted to personal messages, and conducted solely for passengers on board. The volume was so overwhelming that Titanic's junior operator Harold Bride, wheelchair-bound from frostbite to his feet, sat in to assist the Carpathia's operator in sending them all. Solicitations from journalists were ignored.

Carpathia was due to arrive in New York City on the evening of April 18th, shortly after 9:00 p.m. It had been three days since the disaster.

That night, people amassed by the dozens of thousands in a chilly, driving rain.

Anxious family and desperate press awaited the arrival of the passengers on board the rescue vessel. Two hundred police officers, some on horseback, surveilled the crowd. Medical staff were on standby, with stretchers waiting to be brought aboard. Traffic mounted; automobiles hydroplaned into curbs as they neared the pier.

The forty thousand people in the throng waited at the Cunard Line's usual docking spot: Pier 54.

Captain Arthur Rostron and the crew of the Carpathia had braced for the mania ahead. And so, the first stop on that rainy evening was to the White Star Line's Pier 59, where they quietly and diligently unloaded the Titanic's thirteen recovered lifeboats. The crew of the Carpathia had been unable to fit any more than that on board, and so seven of Titanic's lifeboats still floated on the open sea.

Then, Carpathia moved a few blocks onward, to Pier 54.

The media had made no effort to restrain itself, despite edicts from the mayor.

The New York Times had rented an entire floor in the Strand Hotel, which was located about a block from the pier. The Times had orchestrated the installation of telephone lines, so journalists at the scene could run to the Strand and dictate their stories to the newsroom in Times Square. They wanted to interview as many survivors as possible, and they had only three hours--until 12:30 a.m.--to do so.

Additionally, over 50 tugboats clotted up the harbor; they hounded the rescue ship as soon as it was in sight. Journalists on the tugboats' decks hollered into megaphones and over one another, offering the passengers above them cash for eyewitness accounts. Cameras popped in rapid sequence, their clouds of magnesium powder wilting in the rain. Each flashing bulb illuminated the Carpathia's weary passengers, standing dazed against the railings in the dark.

And on board the rescue ship, a journalist named Carlos Hurd anxiously waited for his chance.

He worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and had been on holiday on the Carpathia. And he had spent the past three days of the voyage transcribing a clandestine witness account against Captain Rostron's orders.

When the correct tug steamed up alongside Carpathia, Hurd appeared over the railing of an upper deck and dropped a manuscript wrapped up in canvas overboard. Afraid it would fall in the water and sink, he had created a makeshift flotation device for the dictionary-sized bundle, using a cigar box and champagne corks he had acquired from the ship's bar.

The manuscript was rushed to shore and printed for a next-day 'Extra" feature.

The headline read, "Titanic Boilers Blew Up, Breaking Her In Two After Striking Berg."

The ship finally docked at Pier 54, moving slowly due to the darkness and rainfall. Under Captain Rostron's orders, the Carpathia's passengers were the first to disembark, as he was concerned that madness would follow if the Titanic survivors were to precede them.

When the survivors began to appear, the scene fell still.

As the survivors came into the street dead silence fell over the crowd that was assembled, and even the flashlight batteries of the Press photographers ceased for the moment their bombardment.

When an unnamed female passenger stumbled off the gangway and fell weeping into the arms of a police officer, the spell was broken.

Journalist competition for one particular interview eclipsed all others that night: everyone wanted Harold Bride. They were to "get the Titanic wireless man’s story, if he’s alive,” the city editor of the New York Times demanded. And they wanted the Carpathia's wireless man, Harold Cottam, second-most.

The New York Times succeeded in scooping Bride and Cottam both, when their reporter Isaac Russell, accompanied by Guglielmo Marconi himself, was permitted on board Carpathia.

Bride was paid $1,000 for his interview, a fact to which he testified at the American Senate Inquiry to follow. He was later hauled off Carpathia, unable to walk due to the injuries he sustained on Collapsible B. Harold Cottam received $750 for his own interview.

Isaac Russell rushed back to the Times office to complete his exclusive story. He said he wept as he wrote.

“I turned back to my typewriter. They say literature is truth touched by emotion. I have written steadily for 20 years or more. If ever I wrote literature, that was the night.”

The Carpathia was set to depart at 4:00 p.m. the following day, an effort by the Cunard Line to remove the vessel from the debacle.

In that single day of rest, the ship became a tourist attraction, overrun with New Yorkers eager to gawk at the wireless shack that had, only days prior, heard the dots and dashes of Titanic's last words.

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“Lighted and Beautiful in the Night”: Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

"Lighted and Beautiful in the Night": Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

Engelhart Cornelius Ostby was born around Christmastime in 1847 in the city that became Oslo, Norway. He studied to become a jeweler at the Royal School of Art.

In 1869, Engelhart followed the trail of his parents and his younger brother, who had emigrated to the United States three years prior. After arriving in New York, he reunited with his family and settled in Providence, Rhode Island,

He first took a job with the jewelry firm of Hunt & Owen, but shortly thereafter moved on to Arnold & Webster, where he acted as the Director of Design and Engraving for almost a decade.

Jewelry-making in Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Engelhart married a girl named Lizzie Webster in 1876. The couple would go on to have five children: four sons and a daughter.

In 1879, Engelhart entered into business with a gentleman named Nathan Barton. With about three thousand dollars in capital, the men established Ostby & Barton. The company would gain renown for its beautiful designs of gemstone, signet, emblem, and even baby rings, alongside other pieces of adornment such as brooches, cuff links, and pendants.

Engelhart's firm quickly became a top-tier producer of gold rings. It outgrew its initial business space quickly, and was moved to a factory building. Booming business soon demanded yet another relocation to the old Ladd Watch Case Company on the corner of Richmond and Clifford Streets in Providence. Then the space of this premises had to be doubled.

Engelhart did not limit his world to jewelry-making. He also became a director of both the High Street Bank and the Industrial Trust Company, and was a trustee of the Citizens Savings Bank. Because of these positions, Engelhart rose to prominence in Providence, for both his business acumen and his ongoing charity.

Sadly, Engelhart became a widower in 1899 when Lizzie died at the age of 45. He raised their five children with the assistance of his mother Josephine, until she died three years later, in 1902.

Engelhart Ostby took regular business trips to the European capitals, in order to survey the popular and upcoming jewelry trends for his "kingdom of rings" back home.

Unsurprisingly, he spent much of this time in Paris.

Parisian shopfront on rue Maitre Albert, 1912, by Eugene Atget. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


And in 1906, he began taking his seventeen-year-old daughter, Helen, on these business trips. In 1907, after much anticipation, Engelhart finally took his only daughter to see his homeland of Norway.

In 1912, Engelhart and Helen were on another such international tour. And while they were in Egypt, they had befriended an American couple, Frank and Anna Warren of Oregon.

The road to the Pyramids at Giza, Cairo, Egypt, 1870. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Later on, they encountered the Warrens in Pari; the couple expressed that they looked forward to their upcoming travel on Titanic. Presumably, this is how Engelhart and Helen learned that they could still book passage on Titanic's maiden voyage.

And so, they did.

Father and daughter boarded Titanic as First-Class passengers on the evening of April 10th at Cherbourg. As per usual, Engelhart carried with him his black leather Gladstone bag, which contained gemstones and precious valuables that he had acquired during the trip.

On the 10th of April we took the boat train to Cherbourg. The Titanic remained out in the harbour, lighted and beautiful in the night. We boarded her from a tender.

As cited in © "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage" by George Behe. The History Press, 2012.

Helen was fairly vague in her recollections of their time spent on board. "Mostly," she wrote, "we just wandered around between meals, enjoying the luxury and newness of it all."

She went on to note that she and her father always traveled with the White Star Line, so they enjoyed comparing notes of Titanic versus the other vessels under its flag.

Sunday, April 14th, was leisurely. Helen wrote that she and Engelhart mused on the grand welcome Titanic was sure to receive when arriving in New York City. Helen also overheard Captain Smith receiving an ice warning while he spoke to passengers nearby.

After enjoying "the usual Sunday evening concert" by Titanic's musicians, Helen retired to her cabin.

I had just dropped off to sleep when I was awakened by a jar that felt about as it would if you were in a car that scraped the side of a tree... It seemed completely silent for a minute or two. The engines were cut off. The corridors were quiet until one began to hear doors open and voices speaking. The first voice I heard was a woman asking the steward what had happened. He replied calmly, 'Everything will be alright.'

Passengers began to gather in the corridor one by one, trying to get some information. My father came out of his stateroom across the corridor. It was very quiet, as when a train stops in a station and you can hear everyone's voice. You could see anxious looking faces, people with outlandish clothes and women in curlers. People had thrown on anything just to cover themselves.

As cited in © "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage" by George Behe. The History Press, 2012.

Eventually, the stewards instructed the passengers to don their lifebelts. It was a troublesome endeavor, according to Helen, because there had been no emergency drill to practice getting them on, but the stewards were very helpful.

Helen dressed warmly, although she claimed she was struck quite abrupt by the instinct not to put on too many clothes, lest they weigh down her ability to swim.

Engelhart and his daughter met up with the Warrens once again, and migrated up to the boat deck via the Grand Staircase. Helen wrote that Captain Smith swept by them, followed by two ship officers who would not engage with--or even look at--inquiring passengers.

On deck, the group could hardly hear a thing, because the steam from the funnels was deafening. The sequence of events in Helen's multiple accounts become contradictory by this point, but it is evident that, at some point, Engelhart parted from his daughter, as Mrs. Warren also testified that "a young woman by the name of Miss Ostby, who had become separated from her father... was with us."

Helen said that Engelhart either remained in--or alternatively, returned to--his cabin to dress more appropriately for the cold, assuring her that he would not be long.

A heartbreaking comedy of errors ensued.

I wondered what kept father below however, and after about ten minutes I went down to try to find him. I guess my father must have come upon deck some other way for I could not find him in the stateroom. Thinking he had gone up and joined the Warrens, I too went back but he had not been around there. I was waiting for him all the time when the crew came around and told us to get into one of the boats. We all hung back awhile, I wanted father to come with us but the men insisted that we hurry up so we got in... 

It was a very unpleasant feeling stepping into that boat because although it was level with the boat deck, it was swung out over the water so that there was a little gap between it and the side of the ship...  The stars were out but it was pitch dark...

Helen Otsby and Anna Warren were rescued in Lifeboat 5, which was presided over by Third Officer Herbert Pitman. Also in Lifeboat 5 were Helen Newsom and Karl Behr, as well as Dr. and Mrs. Frauenthal. Dr. Frauenthal and his brother had, in fact, jumped down into the lifeboat from the boat deck, and had broken another passenger's ribs in the process.

As the boat descended toward the ocean, concerns had been expressed that the craft might "turn turtle."

Up until that time, things had gone on very calmly. But at the end we could see and hear people on board were realizing there was no place to go. As the ship began to stand on end we heard a big rumbling, rattling noise as if everything was being torn from their moorings inside the ship. She stood quietly on her end for a minute, then went down like an arrow... Of course some complained of losing jewelry and clothing -and some the cold. One woman was seasick. When somebody happened to mention jewelry left behind, I remembered for the first time that I had lost a diamond bar pin which was given me by my father which was still pinned to my nightgown aboard ship. I hadn't given it a though, and when I was reminded, it didn't matter.

Helen never saw her beloved father again.

Engelhart's corpse was the 234th recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, and noted as follows.


EFFECTS - Gold filled teeth; gold watch and chain; knife: glasses; diary; two pocket books and papers.


Once transported back to Halifax, the body was identified by an Ostby & Barton employee named David Sutherland. Engelhart Ostby was interred in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 11, 1912.

A contemporary newspaper reported, "The flower tribute was enormous, even when a note had been circulated not to send any flowers."

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“High Class Confectionery”: Kate Phillips & Henry Morley

"High Class Confectionery": Kate Phillips & Henry Morley

In the spring of 1912, Henry Morley sold his candy shops.

The shops, collectively called Purveyors of High Class Confectionery and owned by L. Morley Confectioners, were fine-candy stores, and they were quite successful. The businesses were profitable enough for Henry to employ multiple shop assistants.

One of those assistants was Kate Florence Phillips, with whom Henry fell in love.

And so, on April 10, 1912, Henry and Kate boarded Titanic at Southampton. Henry's brother, who had aided him in selling the Confectioneries, waved the couple on from the quay. The lovers were planning to resettle in the United States, where they could begin a life together in San Francisco.

A candy counter in St. Louis, MO, circa 1910. Courtesy of the United States National Archives & Records Administration.


But Henry had also left a life behind.

Henry Morley, who was 38 years old at the time he absconded with 19-year-old Kate, was a married man.

Henry had chosen to abandon his wife Louisa in order to elope with Kate. He had left "on holiday" under the pretense of going to a western climate in order to recuperate from an illness--and then he sold his businesses. Some funds were allocated to the continued support of Louisa and his daughter Doris; the rest of the money was intended as capital for a new shop in California, with Kate as his bride.

On March 2, 1912, Henry withdrew a large sum of money from his bank in Worcester. He spent the next month bouncing from address to address, passing Kate off as his wife.

Henry and Kate boarded with a joint Second-Class ticket under the very fake names of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.

Titanic leaving Southampton, April 10, 1912. Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum.


How Kate and Henry spent their time during the voyage is undocumented.

While on board, or perhaps before embarking on the voyage, Henry gifted Kate with a love token he had purchased back in Britain: a silver necklace, boasting a deep-blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. She reportedly wore it to every dinner on board, gleaming with pride.

When Titanic struck the iceberg on the night of April 14th, Henry is reported to have roused Kate from sleep. Before rushing up on deck, Henry removed Kate's necklace from a drawer and latched it around her neck.

On the boat deck, Kate wore only her cotton nightgown and her beloved necklace, and held nothing but a small seal-skin purse and her lover's arm. Henry could not swim, and he reportedly clung to Kate as they stood before the lifeboats. And then a sailor grabbed her away and forced her to board.

Kate Phillips's necklace, called the Love of the Sea. Courtesy of Titanic: The Exhibition, in NYC, November 2022.


The lifeboat in question alternates between Lifeboat 11 and Lifeboat 13. It has been reported that Kate shared the lifeboat with two-month-old Millvina Dean, and that at one point, she was in Kate's arms.

Henry Morley died in the sinking. His remains were not recovered.

Young Kate arrived in New York alone, bereft, and impoverished. Somehow, she found an unnamed couple with whom to stay as she recovered from the trauma of the disaster.

And then Kate learned that she was pregnant.

Unfortunately, the couple who housed her did not want a baby to care for as well; Kate had no other option but to return to her parents' home in England.

In January of 1913, nine months after Titanic set sail and foundered, Henry Morley's daughter was born. Kate named her Ellen Mary.

It was a disgrace to be born without a father, but in my early childhood I was protected from the shame.

I was born in my grandparents' house on January 11, 1913, nine months to the day from when the Titanic called at Queenstown.

The house backed onto the river Severn and my earliest memory is of sitting in the family punt while my grandfather strapped me in. "Well make sure you won't drown," he would say. But I didn't know what he meant.

For the first nine years I was brought up by them. Once a year this woman would arrive from London and cuddle and smother me in kisses. I couldn't bear it. I had no idea who she was.

Ellen's paternity, though never publicly conceded, appears to have been acknowledged by payments made to Ellen's grandparents by Henry Morley's brother, in order to pay for her schooling.

Ellen suffered an emotionally and physically abusive childhood as her mother's mental health deteriorated.

Per Ellen's accounts, her likeness to Henry Morley seemed to amplify her mother's emotional pain. She would reprimand her young daughter for looking at her, for instance, because she had her father's eyes.

The shock of the Titanic must have disturbed my mother's mind. She had been on her way to another land with the man she loved. You'd think that she would love his child. But instead she rejected me...

One day, a bedridden Kate placed a gift in Ellen's hands.

When I was sixteen, my mother gave me a diamond and sapphire necklace and a seal-skin purse with two keys inside. She simply gave them to me with the words, "Here. Take these. They're yours, now," and she would not explain. I did not realize their importance, because she could never speak about the Titanic.

Kate rarely, if ever, saw her daughter again after that.

Kate Phillips was later committed to an asylum. She died in 1964.

Kate’s necklace, which was sold to collectors in the 1990s, is now called “The Love of the Sea.”

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“He Breathes the Air of Two Hemispheres”: Francis Davis Millet

"He Breathes the Air of Two Hemispheres": Francis Davis Millet

In March of 1912, the Washington Times published a laudatory piece about the "soldier, painter, and connoisseur": the American artist Francis Davis Millet.

No chapter of fictional adventure can rival a chapter in the real life of Mr. Millet. Soldier of fortune, adventurer, war correspondent, art student, and artist, he seems to have been constituted of stuff which makes dramatic events possible.

Indeed, Frank Millet seemed fated to be the common denominator through decades of extraordinary events.

He was a drummer boy in the American Civil War. He was a correspondent in the Turkish-Russo conflict and the Spanish-American War. Mark Twain had been his best man. He socialized with the President of the United States. He was the man who made "The White City" white for the Chicago World's Fair. He was asked to contribute to the design of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington's D.C.

He sailed on Titanic.

Apparently, among Mr. Millet's many remarkable talents was his lifelong ability to somehow be everywhere, all at once.

Once, while in Japan, his companion joked that perhaps, Frank was finally in a land where no one would recognize him. A waiter then approached Frank and addressed him by name, because he had been in the artist’s company at the Chicago Exposition.

According to friends and critics alike, Frank was an exalted wanderer at heart and of mind.

Inertia is not one of Millet's faults; he is ever in movement, a comrade in the world of art. Are the heavens to be decorated? See Millet. Is there to be a banquet for the gods? see Millet. Has the army moved? Yes, and Millet with it. He breathes the air of two hemispheres... he is contagious in art and manly enthusiasm.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank Millet boarded Titanic as a First-Class passenger on the evening of April 10, 1912, in Cherbourg, France.

He had been in Europe since early March of that year, in the company of his dearest friend, Major Archibald Butt.

They had been close companions for many years; they had even been housemates in Washington, D.C., hosting extravagant parties for the elite society of the capital.

Major Butt thought highly of Millet, and the latter of him. On the older man Major Butt leaned for advice and took it, and the two men had a sympathy of mind which was most unusual.

Archie, as he was called, had reportedly been in danger of anxious collapse in early 1912. He had been walking a tightrope between his allegiance to former President Theodore Roosevelt, and current President William Taft. "Do you wonder," Archie asked his wife Clara, "that our nerves have been disintegrated and that our innards are all upside down?"

At the same time, Frank Millet was preparing for a business trip in Rome to handle administrative matters as the head of the American Academy of Art.

Concerned for his friend's well-being, Frank interceded to President Taft in a letter, begging leave for Archie so that the friends might travel in Europe together.

The President consented.

Major Archibald Butt. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


After a month abroad, the United States beckoned Frank back to finalize the design for the proposed Lincoln Memorial.

Archie and Frank briefly parted ways so the latter could conduct some business in Europe while the former stayed back in England. They intended to meet up once again on Titanic's maiden voyage.

The two did not share a cabin, however, because Archie had far too many trunks.

Portrait of Francis Davis Millet circa 1910. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.


Once reunited on board Titanic on the evening of April 10th, Archie and Frank sat down to dinner with a mutual friend from Washington, D.C.: Clarence Moore. The trio would gather regularly throughout the voyage.

The next day, Frank posted a letter to fellow artist Alfred Parsons. He was evidently vexed, and uncharacteristically grouchy.

Queer lot of people on the ship. Looking over the list I only find three or four I know but there are a good many of "our people" I think and a number of obnoxious ostentatious American women, the scourge of any place they infest and worse on shipboard than anywhere. Many of them carry tiny dogs and lead husbands around like pet lambs.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank, a gentle spirit, was not usually so sour; in fact, his dear friend and best man Mark Twain once said that he intended to call all cordial, affable people “Millets.”

But then again, he had just had "the Devil of a time in Rome" with the project he was involved in, and stated outright that he was ready to throw up his hands and "chuck it" altogether.

Frank Millet’s portrait of his friend Mark Twain, 1877.


In the same letter, Frank took multiple opportunities to marvel at Titanic’s finery and size.

I thought I told you my ship was the Titanic. She has everything but taxicabs and theatres...

The fittings are… exceedingly agreeable in design and color.

As for the rooms they are larger than the ordinary hotel room and much more luxurious with wooden bedsteads, dressing tables, hot and cold water, etc., etc., electric fans, electric heater and all. The suites with their damask hangings and mahogany oak furniture are really very sumptuous and tasteful.

I have the best room I ever had in a ship and it isn't one of the best either, a great long corridor in which to hang my clothes and a square window as big as the one in the studio alongside the large light. No end of furniture cupboards, wardrobe, dressing table, couch etc., etc. Not a bit like going to sea.

You can have no idea of the spaciousness of this ship and the extent and size of the decks.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank and Archie whiled away the voyage in each other’s company. They often congregated with Clarence in the First-Class Smoking Lounge.

According to passenger Marie Grice Young, she often spotted the two friends taking vigorous walks around the decks as they chatted.

Frank and Archie also fraternized with fellow First-Class passenger Archibald Gracie. The old Colonel had likely tried to recommend his own book about Chickamauga to them, just like he had done with a very accommodating Isidor Straus. But Frank was probably uninterested, given that the men’s notions of the Civil War were drastically different.

Archie Butt was born in Georgia in 1865: the same year the Civil War had ended. And he was the nephew of a Confederate general.

Frank, on the other hand, was a Massachusetts native who had been a drummer for the Union Army, and his father had been a Union surgeon. He had even assisted his father’s surgeries on the field in 1864.

And while it might seem that Frank’s battlefield era was long past, the memories stayed with him. He regularly attributed his use of vivid, blood-red paint to his hospital experiences in the war.

Frank’s true feelings about the encounters with bombastic, former-confederate Colonel Gracie, whatever they might have been, are undocumented.

Francis Davis Millet at work in his studio. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.


During the evening of April 14th, Frank and Clarence took dinner at their usual table in the First-Class dining saloon.

Archie, meanwhile, attended a party in the A La Carte restaurant held by George and Eleanor Widener, reportedly in honor of Captain Smith.

Afterward, the three friends settled in for a late night of cards in the Smoking Lounge with fellow passenger Arthur Ryerson. They were there at 11:40 p.m., the moment of Titanic’s collision with the iceberg.

Clarence Moore. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The men reportedly continued their game until about 1:00 a.m. “They were perfectly imperturbable,” testified Archibald Gracie at the American Senate Inquiry.

The last sighting of Frank Millet was on deck, assisting the loading of lifeboats alongside Archie and John Jacob Astor.

Frank never sought salvation himself. Neither he nor Archie survived.

Francis Davis Millet’s corpse was the 249th recovered by the Mackay-Bennett.


CLOTHING - Light overcoat; black pants; grey jacket; evening dress.

EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; "F. D. M." on watch; glasses; two gold studs; silver tablet bottle; £2 10s. in gold; 8s. in silver; pocketbook.



He was 65 years old.

And, devoted even in death, Frank was remembered in conjunction with his most beloved friend, Archie.

They were jointly mourned across the nation by civilians and the famous alike, and were tearfully praised for their so-called glorious deaths. During a memorial for Archie, President Taft broke down in tears during his eulogy, and could not bear to continue.

It is no surprise to any man who knew Major Butt that he met death like an officer and a gentleman. And none who knew Frank Millet would have expected anything but self-immolation in behalf of women and children.

Mr. Millet was given to unostentatious charities all his life and he spent nearly all he made on others. He was most eager to help any one in any way. Major Butt's kindliness and desire to be helpful and ability to carry out his desires are almost too well known for comment. We can ill spare such men.


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“On a Trip Around the World”: Henry Sutehall, Jr. & Howard Irwin

"On a Trip Around the World": Henry Sutehall, Jr. & Howard Irwin

Henry Sutehall Jr. had been away from home for over two years when he boarded Titanic in Southampton on April 10, 1912.

Harry, as he was called, had been born in England in 1886. He emigrated to the United States with his parents and two younger siblings in 1895. They departed from the docks at Southampton, thereafter settling in Buffalo, New York.

His father worked with plaster in construction; his mother managed the family’s corner store on Delaware Avenue, selling tobacco products, confections, and ice cream.

And when Harry came of age, he took to work as a “trimmer,” working with upholstery in fancy carriages and automobiles.

Harry worked at E. E. Denniston’s in Buffalo. And that was where he met his new best friend: a young Canadian man named Howard Irwin.

The Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Buffalo, NY, circa 1912.


The young men were dissimilar: Harry was unassuming, even-tempered, and genteel, with nary a vice. Howard, on the other hand, was arrogant, adventurous, and irascible. By his own admission, he got into fights.

But they forged a devoted friendship, and soon, Harry Sutehall and Howard Irwin decided to embark on a round-the-world tour.

And so, on New Year’s Day of 1910, Harry and Howard set out on their adventures. Harry brought along his violin, and during their cross-country travels, Howard picked up the clarinet. Harry presumably guided his friend in nurturing his musical skills.

The boys worked their way across the United States; or, as Howard wrote in his journal, “stopping in all the principalities between Buff [Buffalo] and Frisco [San Francisco].”

They financed their travel by working as trimmers whenever they could offer their services. But they took other jobs as well—at one point, they worked as peach-pickers in California.

And then, sometime in the summer of 1911, Harry and Howard headed to Australia.

The ferry Kurraba at Mosman Wharf, Sydney, Australia, circa 1910. Courtesy of the museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.


They arrived in Sydney.

The boys seemed to fare well in Australia. Harry reportedly won a sweepstake of some kind while they were there, which contributed itself toward their travels.

While there, Harry fell in love. The girl's identity has not been discovered to date, but Harry made his intentions clear in the letters he wrote home: he would, one day soon, return to Australia to marry her.

Somewhere along the way, Howard Irwin had also fallen in love--although the relationship appeared to have been deteriorating. Pearl Shuttle had been touring the United States in her own right, as she was either a vaudeville performer or playing cornet a band.

Their love was epistolary, and Howard expressed in his letters to Pearl that because she was so beautiful, that he feared she would fall in love with another man. Over and over again, Pearl attempted to reassure Howard.

“You asked me if the love I had was dying,” Pearl wrote. “I say not.”

After many exchanges sent between Australia and the United States and back again, Pearl sent a seven-page letter to Howard in which she suggested they break up.

The boys parted ways after their stint in Sydney, only because they had diverging interests and they had plenty they each still wanted to see. But they vowed to meet up again along their westward wanderings toward home.

Howard and Harry made good on their word and reunited in Durban, South Africa, where they won a talent contest, perhaps thanks to their musical aptitudes. Then Howard and Harry once again split off, promising to meet again in England in 1912 to head back home on the maiden voyage of Titanic.

After separating from Howard, Harry went on to Europe.

While there, he is reported to have had an audition with American composer John Phillip Sousa. "The March King," as Sousa was widely known, had great esteem for Harry's talent but alas, he had no need for a violinist. So he advised the young man as to potential avenues he might take, to further his musical ambitions.

Eventually, Harry made it to England ahead of schedule. He stayed with family and enjoyed the reunion; they had not seen each other in five years, since 1907.

John Phillip Sousa circa 1900. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Harry Sutehall boarded Titanic as a Third-Class passenger at Southampton on April 10, 1912. He was unexpectedly alone.

For reasons still unconfirmed, Howard Irwin didn't show up.

By some accounts, Howard had left Europe two months early, because Pearl was deathly ill, and he had rushed to be with her. By Howard's own account, he had been shanghaied: the night before, he had gone out drinking with some random fellows and when he woke up, he was on an eastbound steamer vessel, heading to the Orient.

Not many people believed him.

Regardless of Howard's absence, Harry curiously boarded Titanic in possession of Howard's trunk. Maybe it was a mistake; maybe, it was a favor for his friend who had left it behind.

Harry Sutehall Jr. did not survive the sinking. He was 25 years old.

Howard Irwin claimed he was in Port Said, Egypt, when he heard that Titanic had foundered. He returned home thereafter, without his belongings and without his best friend.

In 1993, a submersible recovered Howard Irwin's luggage from the wreck site of Titanic. Inside, were his clarinet and shoes,  a leather satchel filled with letters from Ms. Pearl Shuttle, and his travel diary from 1910.

The first entry reads:

With luck this trip will take us two years and with bad luck (WELL) we are going anyway.

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“The Trunks and Valises And All That With Them”: Ludwig Muller

"The Trunks and Valises And All That With Them": Ludwig Muller

With the advent of the 20th century arrived a more enlightened perception of immigration. Steamship companies sought to capitalize on the ever-increasing number of steerage passengers boarding their European vessels for the United States.

Among the first to boast elevated accommodations for its Third Class was the White Star Line.

The following was published as a review of the White Star liner RMS Baltic, which underwent her maiden voyage in June 1904 under the command of Captain Edward J. Smith, who would command the RMS Titanic less than a decade later.

But the most significant feature of the new ship is the splendid accommodations provided for the third-class passengers, the emigrants. Nothing could show more clearly the value which the great steamship companies place upon the privilege of carrying the common people... the newer ships cater distinctly to their comfort and each new boat makes distinct advances in this direction.

Translators, most often to as "interpreters," were employed on board passenger liners such as the Baltic, Olympic, and Titanic.

Typically, a single interpreter was assigned per voyage, and this individual was responsible for assisting and otherwise managing the mass of immigrants in the steerage class. Many emigrating groups were families from northern and central Europe; thus, interpreters often seem to have been fluent in Germanic languages alongside English.

The "Interpreter Steward" acted as a liaison between passengers and crew, facilitating communications between parties that included non-English speakers. The on-board interpreter could be prevailed upon to aid in any number of circumstances, from the most mundane of matters to the downright whimsical.

In 1906, for instance, the interpreter of the White Star Line's RMS Majestic was called upon to assist in officiating the at-sea wedding of a "youthful runaway couple" from Norway who were unable to get married before boarding, as they had intended.

This ceremony was, incidentally, arranged with great diligence and evident joy by Chief Purser Hugh McElroy. He would, six years hence, serve in the same role on Titanic.

At the opposite end of the spectrum were interpreters who were reported as idle, morally compromised ne'er-do-wells. The following account regarding an unidentified White Star interpreter was published in 1909.

An interpreter who spoke English, Swedish, Norwegian, and some German was on board to serve when needed. He was, however, not at all conscientious in the performance of any duties and evidently not very capable. His price for granting privileges, performing favors and overlooking abuses was a mug of stout... he did not hesitate to solicit free drinks from everyone... he was generally present in the dining room during meals, though he did nothing. To young women passengers his manner could be most friendly and gracious. To others he was positively rude.

© "Guide to the Crew of the Titanic: The Structure of Working Aboard the Legendary Liner" by Gunter Babler, 2017.

By all survivor accounts, however, this description does not characterize the interpreter of RMS Titanic.

Ludwig Muller, also called Louis, was German by birth. He had already operated as the Third-Class interpreter on Titanic's older sister Olympic. He presumably spoke an assortment of northern European languages.

Ludwig embarked on Titanic at Southampton on April 10, 1912. His last recorded address was a hotel called the Hooper's Temperance, an establishment on Oxford Street in Southampton that was frequented by transient mariners from all around.

On board, Ludwig found himself bunked in a rare two-bunk cabin on E Deck. His sole cabinmate was a Third-Class Steward named Sidney Sedunary.

A typical Third-Class cabin on the RMS Olympic, Titanic's older sister, circa 1911.


Ludwig's experience on board Titanic prior to the iceberg strike is not recorded. Considering that he was acting as the sole interpreter for over 700 steerage passengers, it is fair to presume he was continually on the clock.

His movements during the sinking, however, were noted in multiple survivor accounts.

During the sixth day of the British Board of Trade's Inquiry into the disaster, Chief Baker Charles Joughin testified to that he had spotted Muller during the sinking.

Joughin also spoke in detail about the hindrances that Ludwig Muller dealt with as he endeavored to do his duty. Specifically, the steerage passengers whom the interpreter was attempting to direct insisted upon hauling all of their luggage with them, and Ludwig could not dissuade them.

6174. So that, unless on this particular occasion special instructions were given to [Third-Class passengers] as to the route they should follow they would not know where to go, would they?
- They would not know unless they were given instructions.

6175. Did you hear any such instructions given?
- Yes.

6176. By whom?
- I saw the interpreter passing the people along that way, but there was a difficulty in getting them along because some of the foreign third class passengers were bringing their baggage and their children along.

6177. Who was the interpreter?
- I do not know his name.

6178. You do not know his name?
- No.

6179. Where was he standing?
- He was standing just abaft this emergency door leading into the third class.

6180. He was pointing or directing those who came to the door?
- Passing them along.

6181. That is at the door, but my point is this. Did you see or know of anyone going to the third class quarters and giving instructions there to the third class passengers?
- No, Sir, I did not. I am out of that altogether.

6182. As to the course they should follow in order to escape?
- I did not hear any orders.

6183. You did not hear any directions being given to these people to go to this door, when further instructions would be given to them?
- I only saw and heard the interpreter doing his business.


6193. You say at the time this passage seemed to be obstructed by third class passengers bringing their luggage?
- Yes.

6194. Would that lead to any confusion?
- It would.

6195. Did it, as a matter of fact?
- There did not seem to be much confusion, only it hampered the steward; it hampered the interpreter and the men who were helping him, because they could not prevail on the people to leave their luggage.

During this same testimony, the Solicitor-General was compelled to circle back to the professional conduct of the interpreter and his efforts to aid the Third-Class passengers.

6350. You spoke of seeing an interpreter in the third class part of the ship trying to get the third class people to come along and go up to the deck?
- Yes.

6351. Did I catch you rightly to say the interpreter was doing it and men were helping him?
- I could see two or three stewards.

6352. You could?
- Yes.

6353. Third class stewards?
- I suppose they were, I am not quite sure.

6354. Trying to persuade the people?
- Yes.

During the British Inquiry, a Mr. Clement Edwards solicited further information from surviving First-Class bathroom steward Samuel Rule regarding Ludwig Muller's actions during the disaster.

Rule's account aligned seamlessly with Joughin's testimony three days prior. In fact, he indicated that Ludwig Muller had been proactive in spite of an apparent lack of instruction from superiors, endeavoring in the absence of leadership to direct the Third-Class passengers. It is also worth noting that a significant number of those immigrants on board did not hail from countries that spoke Scandinavian languages.

And yet, it would seem that Muller did his damnedest anyway.

Rule also corroborated Joughin's account that said passengers were adamant in carrying their possessions along with them, and that this impeded Muller and the Third-Class stewards who were attempting to aid the situation.

9769. Did anyone give the stewards' department any orders what to do?
- They gave me no orders.

9770. Did you see any orders given by any of these people in position?
- No.

9771. Did you see any stewards going forward or aft to the third class?
- As I passed out on E deck, Muller, the interpreter, was getting all his people from forward aft, and they were taking their luggage with them on E deck.

9772. He was getting them from forward to aft?
- Yes, the afterend of the ship.

9773. Were there any women among them?
- No, all men.

9774. They were passing the men along E deck?
- All the foreigners.

9775. And they were bringing the baggage along?
- Yes, the trunks and valises and all that, with them.

9776. Was there any chaos in the alleyway?
- None whatever; you would think they were landing on the tender taking their baggage to New York.

While Samuel Rule stated that he did not see any chaos mounting in that moment, the staggering pressure that Ludwig Muller faced is irrefutable and harrowing to imagine. Eyewitness testimony affirms that, as Titanic sank, he remained with the steerage passengers in his charge.

And for that, he died.

The Third-Class promenade deck on RMS Olympic, circa 1914.


Ludwig Muller's corpse, if recovered, was unidentified.

He was 37 years old.

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“I Have Never Seen Such a Sky”: Vera & Albert Dick

"I Have Never Seen Such a Sky": Vera & Albert Dick

By the time he was 24 years old, Albert Adrian Dick was already on top of the world.

He and his brother had become two of the most successful and diversified business owners in Alberta, Canada. What had begun as a sawmill enterprise in 1904 had been so successful that their venture evolved, and soon thereafter also boasted a real-estate business, a three-story office building, and a hotel in Calgary called the Alexandra.

Bert, as he was known, took to high living throughout the remainder of his twenties, enjoying poker and the company of beautiful women.

But at the age of 31, Bert at last decided it was time to settle down.

So he did exactly that. He wooed and wed the beautiful--and young--Vera Gillepsie. She was 16 years old at the time, 14 years younger than he.

Their wedding was on May 31, 1911. On that very same day, across the Atlantic, the RMS Titanic was launched in Belfast.

The launch of the RMS Titanic in Belfast, Ireland, on May 11, 1911. Taken by John Westbeech Kempster.


Bert's ongoing work commitments delayed the couple's honeymoon until the winter of 1911. They traveled to Egypt, the Holy Land, France, and Italy.

Bert got into some trouble in Naples, though, when he was somehow swindled by professional gamblers. Vera was livid upon hearing the news.

Bert reportedly accompanied Vera on a lavish shopping spree on their return trip through London, in order to placate his new wife in her ire. They purchased a large number of replica antique furniture at that time, planning to furnish their new home, a Tudor-style mansion in the wealthy Mount Royal District in Calgary.

An eastward view of the intersection of 8th Avenue and Centre Streets, Calgary, Alberta Province, Canada, circa 1912.


By this point in her honeymoon travels, Vera was homesick and missing her mother fiercely--understandable, given that she was 17 years old. But she was enlivened to learn that Bert had booked passage on Titanic's maiden voyage for their return home, and Vera would meet so many glamorous, famous people.

Vera and Bert boarded Titanic at Southampton on April 10th as First-Class passengers. The couple occupied suite B-20; a lavish accommodation, surely, but not one of the exalted "Millionaires Suites" for which Vera had hoped.

In spite of this disappointment, Vera excited urged her husband up and down the ship. She wanted to examine and experience every opulent detail: the Grand Staircase, each First-Class public space, even the horse-riding machine in the gymnasium.

Unlike many of their peers in First Class, the Dicks were not accompanied by a maid or manservant. Vera, therefore, had to unpack her clothing on her own.

She claimed she was concerned about the range of sartorial choices she had available, as she had read in fashion magazines that fine ladies on board liners like Titanic changed their outfits upwards of four times a day.

And for that first dinner on board on April 10th, Vera was particularly anxious; she did not have the same sorts of jewels and finery as other First-Class women would.

That, accompanied by the fact that the Dicks might be perceived as Nouveau Riche by their fellow passengers, caused Vera an acute dread as she and Bert entered the reception room that night. Luckily for Vera, she eyed the other women in the area and her confidence returned. Yes, she had less gemstones, but she none the less felt very pretty.

Thomas Andrews, July 1911.


That night, Vera and Bert Dick befriended a distinguished passenger: Thomas Andrews, the chief architect for Harland & Wolff. They made pleasant and intellectual conversation; Mr. Andrews seemed to enjoy their company.

Once Vera and Albert were seated at their table, things got awkward.

Their steward, a dark-haired and attractive 20-year-old named Reginald Jones, took a shine to young Vera, and she to him. She chatted gaily and laughed with him about the menu and the ship, unabashedly enjoying their exchange.

Bert decidedly did not. Once they were alone, he scolded his wife for her mindless flirtation. It was simply indecent to have such familiarity with the waitstaff, he insisted.

Vera outright dismissed his admonishment and deliberately continued her friendly chatter with Reginald Jones throughout the meal.

Vera then became vexed, when immediately after dinner, Bert elected to retire to the men-only First-Class Smoking Lounge.

For a man with such a gambling habit, she felt very strongly that room of cigars and playing cards was a perilous place for her new husband to spend time.

The First-Class Smoking Lounge on Titanic’s older sister, Olympic, circa 1911. Taken by Robert John Welch for Harland & Wolff.


Other passengers supposedly overheard the couple's argument that night, and Vera told friends that they had fight after fight during the voyage.

On the evening of April 14th, Thomas Andrews invited the Dicks to dine with him at his table. Vera, though flattered, found herself bored. Bert and Mr. Andrews spoke of nothing but the technical and engineering aspects of the ship. And because they were seated at a different table than usual, Reginald Jones was not their steward.

The gentlemen were so engrossed that the party was the last to leave the dining saloon. They migrated to the Cafe Parisien for a late-night coffee.

Le Cafe Parisien on Titanic. Taken by Robert John Welch for Harland & Wolff.


After Vera and Albert had parted ways with Mr. Andrews, they took a brief stroll around deck. They quickly found it too cold to enjoy the exercise, and so they retired to bed.

According to Vera, they were once again arguing quite heatedly when they were startled by a noise "like a thunderclap," although in a contemporary report by the Calgary Herald, he supposedly did not find the shock terribly "severe." Per a contemporary report, Dick then went up on boat deck to hunt the cause of the disturbance, where he saw ice on the deck. He returned to Vera in their cabin.

And then, according to Vera and Bert, there was a rather urgent knock at their cabin door.

It was Reginald Jones.

He had wanted to warn the couple that a collision had occurred, and that the Captain had ordered all passengers to hasten to the boat deck with their lifebelts. Bert and Vera dressed--although Vera only in her nightgown and kimono--grabbed their lifebelts and went up on deck as Reginald Jones had advised.

[Vera] went up on deck with him, because she said she wanted to see an iceberg. They were assured by the officers that there was really no danger and were advised to go back to their cabins. They did so, but Dick himself was not absolutely assured of the ship’s safety. This uneasiness was caused, said Mr. Dick, “through a previous railway accident which I had undergone, which made me decide to make sure that everything was safe."

Once there, the Dicks saw that many other First-Class passengers were simply milling about without direction. Reticent to enter the lifeboats that were being launched before their eyes, Vera and Bert wondered if it would be prudent to remain on the ship.

But then they encountered Thomas Andrews. He advised his new friends to get into a lifeboat immediately. Mr. Andrews delivered a bewildered Vera and dazed Bert to First Officer William Murdoch, who was launching odd-numbered lifeboats off the starboard side. "More passengers for you, sir," he said to Officer Murdoch. And then Thomas bid Vera and Bert farewell.

Vera reported that during this time, Reginald Jones found them once again, and urged her to put her lifebelt on, instead of carrying it as she had been. "Put your lifejacket on, ma'am," she claimed he urged her. "It's the latest thing this season."

As Vera and Bert embraced in parting, Officer Murdoch reportedly pushed Bert by the shoulder and urged him to follow his wife into Lifeboat 3.

Mr. Dick complied.

“During the lowering of the boat – which was 70 feet above the water – several times we were in danger of being “upended” as the new rope would not work well. However, we got afloat and safely away from the ship and cautiously picked our way among the large masses of floating ice. We had some difficulty at first in finding the oars, but I eventually found one and with the stokers commenced to row. I rowed all night until I was completely played out. We saw the great liner plunge to her water grave and heard the awful cries of the drowning people after the boat had disappeared."

While in the lifeboat, Vera whispered in awe to Bert. "I have never seen such a sky... even in Canada, where we have such clear nights." Floating in the dark and without a lantern, the crewman in the lifeboat took to lighting matches to check the time.

Once on board the rescue ship Carpathia, Vera collapsed in a deck chair in tears.

The Dicks later discovered that tragically, Thomas Andrews had not survived the sinking. And neither had Reginald Jones.

Vera and Bert were interviewed by the media after they disembarked from the rescue ship Carpathia in New York City. In these reports, it certainly seems that the Vera's youthful naivete was amplified for entertainment's sake.

“We were hurried helter-skelter into the lifeboats,” she said as she clung with a vise-like grip to her husband’s arm.

“Did you save any clothing!” someone asked.

“My nightgown and kimono,” she replied.

Then, pointing to a white worsted cap that she wore Mrs. Dick said: “I bought this thing in the barber shop on board the Carpathia.”

But this was hardly the most damaging representation of the Dicks due to the disaster. Specifically, Bert Dick was scrutinized and ostracized for his survival. Like other men who were rescued in lifeboats that night, he was accused of dressing in women's clothing to be permitted to board. His objections that he had been urged into the lifeboat by the First Officer--and that he had been one of twenty or so men in that same lifeboat--did nothing to sway public opinion.

As a result, the society elites of Calgary stopped patronizing Bert's hotel. Eventually, he sold it and turned his attention to real estate.

Yet, Bert seemed unaffected by this loss. He had been set right, he said, by the Titanic disaster. In the Dicks' interview with the aforementioned Calgary Herald just two weeks after the sinking, Bert said. “This is the most trying experience that I have ever gone through, and I will never forget the awful cries and moaning of the drowning, struggling people," He put his arm around Vera. "But it is to this little woman that I owe my life.”

And in an interview with the periodical Maclean Magazine, Bert is quoted as a changed man. "[Before Titanic] I thought of nothing but money... The Titanic cured me of that. Since then I have been happier than I ever was before."

Vera and Dick went on to have a daughter named Gilda, and they were married for the rest of their lives. He died in 1970; she, in 1973.

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“The Click of the Familiar Machinery Comes As a Welcome Interruption”: The Print Shop

"The Click of the Familiar Machinery Comes As a Welcome Interruption": Titanic's Print Shop

The RMS Titanic, much like many other ocean liners, had a print shop.

No photos of it are known to exist.

But it was surely a small space packed with machinery and typeface. An article published in the "Printers' Register" in 1905 describes the typical liner's print shop in delightful detail.

How many of all the thousands who have crossed on the great liners have ever been inside the ship's printing-office? It is a picturesque little shop, fitted up much the same as any printing-office on land, with type-cases and printing-press, where the click of the familiar machinery comes as a welcome interruption to the incessant throbbing of the ship's engines... 

The ships' printing-office is usually an inside room and of the size of an ordinary stateroom, with the berths removed. The cases and frames of type in these days of oceans newspapers pretty well fill the little office.

When considering the substantial variety of ephemera that a ship would use, the presence of a printing office was certainly a necessity.

Among the paper goods printed on board an ocean liner were a variety of menus every day, multiple times per day, for hundreds of travelers in each of the passenger classes.

Additionally, the printing office producsd pamphlets on-board programs and special events, stationary, and even waiters' notepads. On Titanic and her older sister Olympic, there would have also been a need for printed tickets to exclusive, paid-access areas such as the Turkish baths.

A contemporary illustration of the "Cool Room" of the Turkish Baths on RMS Olympic, which would have been identical to that on Titanic.


While it might be assumed that all of these materials could have been entirely prepared in advance of a voyage, it would have been detrimental to do so because they were so often subject to change, particularly at sea.

For instance, a course boasted on a pre-printed menu could be ruined when ingredients were unavailable because of anything from spoilage to a delayed supply train and poor weather. This was all the more true for a vessel that had never sailed before; bills of fare may very well have been extemporaneous, or otherwise edited last-minute at a whim.

According to Bob Richardson of the British Printing Society, any color printing would have been completed on shore and otherwise left blank for the printing office on board, who would fill in the text of the item in black ink. The typefaces selected by White Star were commonly used in 1912 and limited in ornament, such as the British "Westminster" typeface by Stephenson Blake, as well as "Grot," more commonly known as "Gothic." The fanciest typeface was arguably Theodore De Vinne's design for passenger stationary, which read "On board R.M.S. Titanic."

Thus, there was plenty to keep a liner's printing office in constant operation. And then, with the advent of the wireless telegraph, passengers vessels would adopt yet another paper item: the newspaper.

In the past year [of 1905] the ship's printing-office has gained a new interest. It has become a newspaper office as well... The installation of the wireless system has given a new occupation to the printer. On many of the great ocean liners, for instance, a newspaper is published every day... It is common for a steamer to be in communication with some other boat each day, and so the possibilities of picking up news from one side of the Atlantic or the other are many. The steward editor is seldom at a loss for some news items from the outside world, at worst not more than three days old...

The newspaper is... about 8 by 4 inches [in size].

Titanic likewise produced its own so-called newspaper, called the "Atlantic Daily Bulletin."

Interestingly, though, it would seem that Titanic did not handle the Bulletin in the usual way as described above. Veteran deep-ocean explorer and Titanic enthusiast Parks Stephenson has indicated that the Atlantic Daily Bulletin would not have fallen under the purview of the printing office, unlike documented procedure on some of Titanic's peer vessels.

According to Stephenson,  Senior Marconi Operator Jack Phillips was responsible for writing down the day's news broadcast during his First Watch. He thereafter transmitted the daily update to the Purser's Office, where it was copied with a typewriter and pinned up in the First-Class Smoking Lounge, a facility exclusively available to men.

The First-Class Smoking Room on Titanic's elder sister, Olympic. Taken by William Rau for Harland & Wolff, 1911. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The exact model of Titanic's printing machinery has not been discovered to date.

Additionally, the location of Titanic's printing office is still debated. There are alternating reports that it existed on either D Deck or E Deck dependent upon the iteration of the ship's deck plans. It is most commonly argued that Titanic's printshop would likely have been located on D Deck, because it was adjacent to the First-Class pantry and in the immediate vicinity of the First-Class restaurants; this arrangement would have benefitted the manufacture of menus.

Along with the ongoing bills of fare that the printshop would be tasked with every day, this location would have been ideal because it placed the printers in the proximity of wealthy customers who could commission them for custom work, such as private dining menus, luggage tags, and personalized calling cards.

In fact, a business card that was acquired on Titanic still exists. It belonged Father Frank Browne during his brief time on board, and it had been given to him by the First-Class Gymnasium's athletic instructor Thomas W. McCawley. Given its minimalist appearance, it is likely to have been printed on board. At the top edge of the plain white card, Frank noted, "Card given me by".

Mr. T. W. McCawley

Physical Educator.



        R.M.S TITANIC,

              WHITE STAR LINE.

© "Father Browne's Titanic Album: A Passenger's Photographs and Personal Memoir," by E.E. O'Donnell SJ, 2011.

Titanic's printing office was tended by 53-year-old Print Steward Abraham Mishellany, a refugee from the modern country of Lebanon. After his family fled the Ottoman regime, he had then emigrated to Egypt before resettling in England, where he married a women named Grace Sarah Holland.

Mishellany was in turn assisted by Ernest Corben of London, who was 27 years old.

Abraham appears to have been a veteran employee who had also worked on the RMS Olympic. He, like many a Print Steward, was considered a special breed of worker.

 The press is worked by hand. The ship's printer is a regular steward and, like them, wears the ship's uniform. He must, besides, have some qualifications which a landsman may never learn. He must be a good sailor. It is not enough that he should never be sick when a menu or a Marconi newspaper edition is to be run off; he must be able to work quickly with his office at an angle of perhaps 45 degrees.

The two men were likely occupied with their duties throughout the voyage.

It is presumed that on the night of April 14, 1912, that the two printer stewards were probably working late. Orders for the next day's breakfast menus were most likely given to Mishellany and Corben in the afternoon or early evening.

There is no eyewitness record that accounts for Abraham or Ernest during the sinking.

Neither of the men survived.

A government printing office circa 1905, from the Harris & Ewing Photography Collection. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Because so many items were printed exclusively on board, there are very few paper artifacts that survived the sinking of the Titanic, most of which are menus.

A First-Class luncheon menu saved by passenger Abraham Lincoln Solomon sold at auction for $88,000 in 2015.

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“Always Marked by Refinement & Musicianship”: John Wesley Woodward

"Always Marked by Refinement and Musicianship": John Wesley Woodward

John Wesley Woodward was 32 years old when he boarded Titanic with his "best cello."

Wes, as he was called, had been a maritime musician for some time. His most recent trip had been a longer-term stint on the Caronia, and he had even been on board Titanic's sister Olympic when she collided with the HMS Hawke on September 20, 1911. In fact, Wes and two of his bandmates had been playing checkers at the moment of impact.

Damage sustained by the RMS Olympic in a collision with the HMS Hawke, 1911. Taken by Robert John Welch for Harland & Wolff.


Wes was born in England in 1879.

He was the youngest child in a brood of nine, although by the time Wes reached adolescence, he already suffered the loss of two brothers and his father, Joseph. Joseph worked as a manager at a holloware foundry, otherwise known as a factory that specialized in producing bowls, teapots, pitchers, and the like.

In 1900, Wes was granted a licentiate as a cellist, meaning that he was officially qualified to teach music. By the next year, at all of 21 years old, Wes is noted on the census as a musician, which meant he successfully earned his living as such.

Wes was by all accounts a dapper and convivial fellow, his countenance always focused and calm from behind his wire-rimmed spectacles.

He was highly sought after for his musical prowess, and was continually recruited into both solo and orchestral work. In 1910, he traveled to Jamaica to work at Constant Spring Hotel, where "his sunny disposition render[ed] him a favourite wherever he went." He later told friends that this stint in the Caribbean had done wonders to improve his health.

Once back in Southampton in 1911, Wes signed onto the RMS Olympic's maiden voyage alongside John Law Hume, a Scottish violinist who would later become his bandmate on Titanic.

When the RMS Olympic arrived in New York City on June 21, 1911, Wes seized the opportunity to expand his horizons. Since Olympic would not depart for England until June 28th, Wes spent the week educating himself on American music stylings. The periodical Brighton Advertiser later reported that Wes "had a very high opinion of the Americans as lovers of music."

Courtesy of the RMS Olympic, Wes Woodward visited New York thrice more that year.


Titanic's elder sister Olympic, arriving at port circa 1911. From the George Grantham Bain Collection, courtesy of the Library of Congress.


But after the Olympic was laid up due to the aforementioned incident with the HMS Hawke, Wes was forced to take work on the Caronia, a smaller Cunard vessel.

Between November of 1911 and February of 1912, Wes bounced between Liverpool, New York City, and Mediterranean locations like Gibraltar, Egypt, Monaco, and Italy.

So much travel presented Wes with an opportunity to indulge in one of his other, lesser known hobbies: photography, an art he also exceled in. Wes was also fascinated by engineering, and reportedly spent hours in his workshop studying and building the mechanisms of internal combustion engines.

Although Wes insisted to his friends that he enjoyed the spontaneity of a life lived at sea, he was ready to transition to a happy life on land. He hoped to join an orchestra in Eastbourne, and was reportedly intending to be engaging to an unnamed young woman from London.

He just needed to get through the summer of 1912.

Titanic docked in Southampton.


Wes boarded Titanic on April 10th in Southampton along with seven other musicians.

He was already friendly with John Law Hume, whom he had not seen since the Olympic's accident in September of the previous year, and may have been acquainted with one of the pianists, Theo Brailey. Wes most likely had at least heard mention of the others--and they of him. The musical world was a small one, and he and several of his bandmates had a mutual friend in common: a musician named Edgar Heap who had played with at least five of them in the recent past.

Technically employed as they were via C.W. & F.N. Black out of Liverpool, all eight musicians boarded as Second-Class passengers with a shared ticket number of 250654. The group divided themselves between two cabins.

The musicians probably boarded and became acquainted with one another by the mid-morning; they had their first show all together at 11:30 a.m., when they were scheduled to play as First-Class passengers boarded and were greeted with champagne flutes.

They would then have to hustle to their next planned locations, to be in place for First-Class luncheon. A letter written by First-Class passenger Adolphe Saalfeld also confirms that some bandmembers later played that evening for First-Class teatime as well.

Their schedules and assignments throughout the voyage were distributed by bandmaster Wallace Hartley. Three of the musicians would remain rather stationary, playing primarily on B Deck near dining First-Class passengers. The remaining five men were to float to various locations for concerts in both First- and Second-Class.

On April 11th, Second-Class passenger Juliette LaRoche mentioned the musicians in a letter posted to her father.

"I am writing to you from the reading room ['salon de lecture'] and there is a concert next to me: a violin, two cellos [and] a piano."

As cited in © "The Band That Played On" by Steve Turner.

And since the band members were also boarded as Second-Class passengers, their fellow passengers would have also witnessed and interacted with the men when they were at leisure. Wes Woodward in particular appears to have been an object of admiration for his talent and gentility.

Contemporary promotional illustration of the Second-Class Library on both Olympic and Titanic, by Harland & Wolff.


A Second-Class passenger named Kate Buss, who was traveling from England to California to meet her fiance, kept a journal while on board, in which she called other individuals by little nicknames.

And thus, throughout her entries on Titanic, the ever-genial Wes Woodward was called "Cello Man."

"The Cello Man is a favourite of mine. Every time he finishes a piece he looks at me and we smile...

Saw Doctor just after dinner and reminded him of his promise to ask our Cello Man to play a solo. Says he would if I'd go to Kentucky... too late to arrange, so going to ask for it tomorrow. Cello Man quite nice. Very superior bandsman, and he always smiles his parting to us...

I couldn't get near to ask our Cello Man for a solo... he is quite gentlemanly. He agreed [to a solo] and we chatted.

As cited in © "The Band That Played On" by Steve Turner.

Shortly after the iceberg strike, Second-Class passenger Lawrence Beesley witnessed an intent Wes Woodward rushing to the upper decks.

I saw a bandsman—the 'cellist—come round the vestibule corner from the staircase entrance and run down the now deserted starboard deck, his 'cello trailing behind him, the spike dragging along the floor. This must have been about 12.40 A.M. I suppose the band must have begun to play soon after this and gone on until after 2 A.M. Many brave things were done that night, but none more brave than by those few men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea and the sea rose higher and higher to where they stood...

Excerpt from "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic" by Lawrence Beesley.

Not everyone saw it this way.

An unnamed Third-Class steward reported to the publication 'Western Daily Mercury' that "as the musicians ran after their instruments they were laughed at by several members of the crew who did not realize how serious matters were."

A tribute to the musicians of the RMS Titanic. Originally published by the Amalgamated Musicians Union.


Wes Woodward and his seven bandmates played, brave and tireless, throughout the sinking.

None survived.

Titanic's musicians were immediate lauded as heroes for their dutiful stoicism in the face of death. Among written memorials to Wes Woodward, the periodical Eastbourne Gazette mused, "To his relations and friends, and to all who knew him, grief at this young musician's death must ever be tinged with a glow of pride at the manner of it."

...A young man of an extremely agreeable and modest bearing, amiable, good-natured, of a sunny disposition, and an easy, equable temper that secured him many friends... his cello playing was always marked by refinement and musicianship; on several occasion he exhibited brilliant qualities as a solo excentant; but he excelled rather as an orchestral player than as a soloist. His orchestral playing was uniformly sound, steady and reliable; while these same invaluable qualities, conjoined with much natural taste and a cultured style, enable him to appear to utmost advantage in chamber music.

The body of John Wesley Woodward was never recovered.


Turner, Steve. "The Band That Played On." Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2011.

Beesley, Lawrence. "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic." Houghton Mifflin Company, 1912. Rpt. by Mariner Books, 2000.

Open post

“Nobody Answered to the Lights Asking for Help”: Ramón Artagaveytia

"Nobody Answered to the Lights Asking for Help": Ramón Artagaveytia

Ramón Artagaveytia was born in Uruguay in July of 1840.

And then, in the wee hours of Christmas Eve, 1871, he was shipwrecked.

Ramón, who was 31 years old at the time, was on board the paddle steamer America. The vessel had reportedly been racing with another ship into Montevideo harbor in Uruguay.

In the midst of this supposed competition, passengers of the America heard an explosion somewhere deep within the ship.

Concerned passengers were initially told to dismiss the sound and get back into bed. Within a half-hour, however, fire had swarmed the ship from the inside out.

Ramón saved himself by jumping overboard and swimming for his life, and he was thereafter rescued. Many other survivors sustained horrific burns.

The disaster traumatized Ramón. By his own admission, the shipwreck of the America plagued him throughout the decades to follow.

Even four decades later, Ramón wrote a letter to his cousin, Enrique Artagaveytia. Therein, he detailed what might be characterized in the present day as post-traumatic stress.

The sinking of the America was terrible!... Nightmares keep tormenting me. Even in the most quiet trips, I wake up in the middle of the night with terrible nightmares and always hearing the same fateful word: Fire! Fire! Fire!...I have even gotten to the point where I find myself standing in the deck with my lifebelt on.

By all available accounts, Ramón went on from the shipwreck to pursue a serene life. In 1905, he inherited a farm in Argentina that had belonged to family, and he would thereafter appear to have lived voluntarily landlocked.

In 1912, Ramón was a noted businessman, and he made a choice at long last to travel by sea again.

It had been 41 years since he had escaped the fiery shipwreck that so relentlessly plagued him, and he desired a holiday in Europe. His nephew was employed in Berlin, Germany, at the Uruguayan consulate, and Ramón decided to visit him.

Berlin, Germany, on May 4, 1912, taken by an unknown photographer. Courtesy of Galerie Bassenge.


It would surely be difficult to sail after so much time; even at the age of 71, Ramón Artagaveytia still suffered the emotional anguish of the shipwreck of the America.

But Ramón admitted to Enrique that his fears had been allayed by a thoroughly modern marvel: the telegraph.

You can't imagine, Enrique, the security the telegraph gives. When the America sank, right in front of Montevideo, nobody answered to the lights asking for help. The ones that saw us from the ship Villa del Salto, did not answer to our light signals. Now, with a telephone on board, that won't happen again. We can communicate instantly with the whole world.

"At last I will be able to travel," Ramon went on to write to Enrique. "And, above all, I will be able to sleep calm."

And so, Ramón Artagaveytia successfully sailed across the ocean to Germany.

In order to pay a visit to the United States before his return to Argentina, Ramón booked passage on Titanic for her maiden voyage. He boarded as a First-Class passenger at the port of Cherbourg, France, on the evening of April 10th.

The next day, Titanic made a brief afternoon stop at Queenstown, Ireland. While the ship was anchored there, Ramón wrote and mailed a letter to his friend, a man named Adolfo.

It would seem that Ramón had previously shared his fear of sea travel--or it was otherwise commonly known among his social circle--because in this same letter to Adolfo, he wrote with ease and familiarity about his initial reticence to board Titanic, and how he overcame his anxiety.

I closed my eyes and went onboard in this huge ship. One of the carriers took my suitcase, and brought it to third floor. We went to the dining room. saloon C. My cabin is very comfortable. It is heated by electricity...

I went through all the corridors to see all the rooms. Some of the furniture was made of tree. The green chairs were very nice. Now I can see Ireland, and now I am finished writing this letter.

Ramón's movements during Titanic's voyage are unknown.

And on the night of the sinking, he was spotted only once. According to survivor Julian Padron y Manent, he encountered Ramón speaking with two other First-Class passengers from Uruguay, named Jose and Pedro Carrau.

Julian Padron y Manent claimed that the group of three men laughed at him when he stated that he was seeking a lifeboat, chiding him that he would catch a cold.

But considering Ramón's elaborate and unguarded admissions about his emotional suffering due to the shipwreck of the America, this depiction of him seems uncharacteristically cavalier, to say the least.

Another survivor account by First-Class passenger Elmer Taylor also includes an encounter with the Carraus. It stands in stark contrast to that of Julian Pardon y Manent’s.

Whils this account makes no mention of Ramón Artagaveytia, he may still have been in their company. And even in the case that he was not, Taylor's account is still worth citing for the haunting differences in the reported behavior of the gentlemen.

They, perhaps like Ramón, were not English speakers. And so they may have had no one to inform them of what was happening.

About halfway up the flight (on the way up to the boat deck), there were two gentlemen, one on either side, leaning against the balustrade and, from outward appearance, looked more dead than alive... They were from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They could not speak English and we could not speak Spanish. As we casually met day by day, we would all speak our native language, smile and pass along, none of us understanding what the other one said. At this meeting, we repeated the usual salutations, shook hands and assured them there was no danger, smiled and proceeded on our way, to carry the fear they exhibited on their faces for the remainder of my life.

Ramón Artagaveytia did not survive his second shipwreck.

His was the 22nd corpse recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, and was listed as follows.

CLOTHING - Blue overcoat; blue suit; white dress waistcoat; black boots and purple socks; two vests marked "R.A."; pink drawers also marked "R.A."

EFFECTS - Watch, chain and medals with name on; keys; comb; knife; eyeglass case; 27 pounds in gold; $20 gold piece; $64 in notes.

1st Class. Name, Ramon Artagaveytia

On April 18, 1912, a contemporary newspaper headline proclaimed, "Uruguay's Richest Man a Victim."

He was Titanic's oldest First-Class gentleman to die.

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