The Titanic Commutator Issue 181


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The Titanic Historical Society marks an important milestone in its history beginning on the founding date of September 6 when the Society embarks on a year-long celebration. The anniversary begins with “Titanic, Celebration of a Legacy” convention at The Castle on September 12, 13 and 14 in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Information is on page 17 in this issue and a registration form is available on the Events page on this website that can be downloaded and printed out or completed online. You can also send THS an addressed, stamped, business-size envelope and we’ll send you one by surface mail.

“Titanic, The Legacy Continues” convention, will top off the anniversary year on April 3, 4 and 5, 2009 on Queen Mary at Long Beach. By popular demand, THS members have asked for another convention onboard the ship––there is a great appeal to stay on a real ocean liner. The THS has a lot of talented and knowledgeable members who may have a topic to share. If you would like to participate in the convention program on Queen Mary, there is a “Call for Speakers.” A notice is on the homepage and in the issue.

The late Ken Schultz used this journal as a source of information and encouraged people interested in maritime memorabilia to join the THS so they would be informed collectors. A White Star Line calendar was a subject of interest that began with an inquiry from PBS’s “History Detectives.” The result is a variation of that theme that appears with more frequency as Titanic-related collectibles are offered for sale. Tim Trower and Karen Kamuda provide descriptions.

Karen Kokot from New South Wales submitted a wonderful story about C.H. Lightoller. Lightoller had an adventurous life at sea and is remembered not only for his role in the Titanic disaster but also for a particular incident, a practical joke, while in Sydney as a young Fourth Officer on Medic. This was C.H.’s first berth with the White Star Line and interestingly, the Third Officer on that voyage was William McMaster Murdoch.

When Titanic foundered, some passengers were trapped below while many were clustered on her stern with nowhere to go when she went down. The answer to the mystery of why bodies were not easily seen is examined in “We Could Not See One Body” by Samuel Halpern.

One artifact in the Titanic Museum that has attracted curiosity is a cover stamped “TITANIC” addressed to the Winter Building in Washington, DC. Tom Fortunato specializes in philately and answers questions about this group of envelopes that were destined for RMS Titanic’s mails.

Samuel Halpern completes his lengthy study on S.S. Californian’s location in “Light on the Horizon,” why she seemed to disappear to the southwest, why she took almost two and a half hours to reach Carpathia in the morning and comes to some intriguing conclusions.

Irene (René) Harris was a Titanic survivor and an Honor Member of the Titanic Historical Society. Mrs. Harris’s graphic account of the sinking and loss of her husband affected her deeply. In a note to yours truly in 1964, she gave permission to reprint her story that appeared in Liberty (magazine) in 1932. Forty-four years later, René’s story is finally in this journal.

Stories and pictures of THS’s past will appear throughout the year and we hope to hear from old and new members with suggestions, memories and most of all, come together and help us celebrate.

Contents in this Issue

Oh, You Great, Big Beautiful Bang; Lightoller’s Midnight Stunt, By Karen Kokot.

Titanic Covers That “Missed The Boat,” By Tom Fortunato.

Light On The Horizon-Conclusion by Samuel Halpern.

Réne Harris, Her Husband Went Down With The Titanic by Réne Harris.

We Could Not See One Body by Samuel Halpern.

THS’s 45th Anniversary Conventions, Dates and Details.

SeaPoste: An inquiry about a White Star Line calendar from PBS’s “History Detectives” sparks an extensive examination. The findings are in an analysis on page 31. Follow-up from a survivor’s family; question on storage after dismantling the Women’s Titanic Memorial. Two friends of the THS pass away: Boyd Daniels and Geraldine S. Poirier.

Book Reviews: “Steam Lion” and “The Loss of the S.S. Titanic” by Tim Trower.

Front Cover: Artist’s depiction of Olympic in New York in a striking art deco illustration.

Back Cover: Another stylized image of a four-funneled liner, believed to be Olympic, on a Bon Voyage greeting card. …Kamuda Collection

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 11 × 9 × 0.25 in