The magnificent image of Olympic with black smoke billowing from her funnels, bow cutting through the water, colorful flags rippling in the wind, carrying glamorous passengers across the Atlantic has been a subject this journal has featured many times. Despite numerous stories of her glory days and later years, her trooping service in the First World War has been overlooked. It was her regular appearance in Halifax that she earned her nickname, “The Old Reliable.”
What is believed to be the first interview with film star Dorothy Gibson about her experiences in the Titanic disaster appeared in the New York Telegraph on April 20, 1912. The account was originally supplied by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for use in Randy Bryan Bigham’s book, Finding Dorothy, a biography of Gibson privately published last year. As the document arrived too late for inclusion, it is provided in its entirety for The Titanic Commutator for the first time in 94 years.
Olaus Jorgensen Abelseth was one of a number of Norwegians who sailed on Titanic. Terry Newton, the author of the interesting biography in this edition, was informed that Olaus was not the name he preferred after he came to the U.S. When Newton visited his son, George and his wife, Janice to gather information, they said he didn’t want to be called Olaus, because he said long ago the name pronounced in English sounded like “louse” and, in America, a louse is a bug (even if it is only the phonetic pronunciation). So from then on, Ole was that––just Ole. It isn’t known if he went to court to change his name, but figured that when he became a U.S. citizen, he told them his name was Ole.
Snapshots of Titanic in First-, Second- and Third Class––THS’s annual convention was great fun and held on October 6, 7 and 8, 2006. Everyone got into the spirit by dressing in imaginative outfits matching the theme and class of the day with menus served accordingly. Tom McCluskie was the special guest speaker with tales of Harland & Wolff. Next year’s theme is Titanic in the Movies on October 5, 6 and 7, 2007.
Contents in this Issue
Olympic––Trooping in the First World War by David R. Gray.
Olaus Jorgensen Abelseth, A Fortunate Titanic Survivor by Terry Newton.
A Reel Titanic Survivor’s Story, Dorothy Gibson, New York Telegraph, April 20, 1912.
Sea Poste: Topics include: Archival photos of William Minahan’s hometown; How many Polish passengers onboard Titanic?; What was the first Titanic film?; Identifying a phrase from A White Star Line advertisement; An identification badge for Harland & Wolff employees?; A diamond and sapphire necklace from a Titanic passenger?; Were Titanic’s boilers manufactured in New York?; Information on George Fox Hosking, a third class passenger..
Book Reviews by Tim Trower: Titanic and the Mystery Ship and Grandma Survived the Titanic.
Snapshots of Titanic in First-, Second- and Third Class convention weekend.
Front cover: Dorothy Gibson by the artist, Harrison Fisher, 1912. Courtesy of Jean Collins Collection
Back cover: A front cover of the weekly, Saturday Evening Post, April 8, 1911 of Dorothy Gibson by Harrison Fisher. Courtesy Randy Bryan Bigham Collection