In This Issue
Another year has passed and we’re a little more than a dozen months away from commemorating Titanic’s 100th anniversary. Besides the Titanic Historical Society’s Titanic Centennial Memorial unveiling and convention planned for April 20 to 22, 2012, a number of events large and small are scheduled or have taken place. An example is from longtime UK THS member, John Coley, who reports on a replica of Titanic’s anchor that was cast by Sheffield Forge Masters and traveling the route of the original to the coast for transport to Harland and Wolff. The resulting celebration is featured in “Titanic’s Anchor, Then and Now.”
Preservation of Titanic history is always an ongoing campaign and thanks to Tom McCluskie, M.B.E., he describes his battle with bureaucracy in “Saving Lord Pirrie” to move the memorial that was being vandalized in the city cemetery to its new location on the grounds at Belfast City Hall.
Broadway impresario Henry B. Harris was lost in the Titanic disaster but his wife, Renee, survived inheriting his empire to become the American theatre’s first woman producer. Carrying on her husband’s work, Renee found her own voice. With a keen social conscience she embraced controversial themes in the plays she backed. Titanic Historical Society members Gregg Jasper and Randy Bigham teamed up to tell the story of the inspiring life and career of Renee Harris. In this issue is the first of a three-part excerpt from the authors’ work that will appear exclusively in The Titanic Commutator.
To this day, no one knows what happened to White Star’s freighter, Naronic––it is one of the mysteries of the sea––the ship disappeared without a trace like the unfortunates succumbing to the Bermuda Triangle. There was plenty of conjecture from all quarters when dispatches came in about the ship being overdue. Her loss was news in March and April of 1893. Newspaper reports provide a lot of information, but despite all the fascinating theories put forth, her whereabouts are still unknown.
Her flag at half-mast, the cable ship Mackay-Bennett docked in Halifax. Her crew manned the rails with bared heads and, on the aft deck, were stacked with coffins of Titanic’s dead. Many uncoffined dead lay on the forward deck covered with tarpaulins. As the undertakers came aboard it was decided to take off these bodies first. Colonel John Jacob Astor’s body, it was said, was somewhere in the pile of rough coffins at the stern. His journey by train to his funeral service at the Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck, New York is detailed. The THS Titanic Heritage Tour in Rhinebeck, NY on April 14 to 17th 2011 will bring some of this important Titanic history to life.
BROADWAY DAME: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MRS. HENRY B. HARRIS–Part 1
By Randy Bryan Bigham and Gregg Jasper
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NARONIC?
From contemporary newspaper reports
THS’s PROJECT FOR 2012 UPDATE
TITANIC CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL
THS 2011 TITANIC HERITAGE TOUR CONVENTION–– COLONEL J. J. ASTOR’S
RHINEBECK AND THE HUDSON VALLEY
COLONEL ASTOR’S FUNERAL
Astor’s train journey from Halifax, NS to the service at the Church of the Messiah in Rhinebeck, NY
By Edward and Karen Kamuda
SAVING LORD PIRRIE
By Tom McCluskie, M.B.E.
TITANIC’S ANCHOR THEN AND NOW
With thanks to John Coley
Looking for information on Wiborg; longtime THS member born in Mansfield, Ohio recalls a photography store where her brother bought supplies owned by a Titanic survivor. Not knowing the name, many years later through the THS, she found out the man was Frank Goldsmith. Looking for data on a Titanic song; requesting information on earthenware bowls used by White Star Line? Postcard of New York piers, would Titanic have docked there? Question about a “Titanic” telegram; were Captain Smith and J. Bruce Ismay present at any ceremonies related to Titanic before her launch––pertains to an inscribed box. Did other ocean liners sail from Southampton on Titanic’s sailing day? A metal roller supposedly from Harland & Wolff used to build Titanic? The Titanic Museum to be featured on the Discovery Channel series, “Digging Deeper” in March 2011.
FRONT COVER Henry Harris’s lavish Hudson Theatre at Broadway and 44th Street. Its balconies were decorated with mosaics designed by Tiffany and the playhouse’s gold leaf ceiling was burnished to Renee Harris’s specifications.
Gregg Jasper collection
BACK COVER Artist depiction of the Naval Parade including reproductions of Clermont and Half Moon during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1909. Colonel Astor’s steam yacht Nourmahal (center, background) convoyed the line of war vessels from Poughkeepsie to Newburgh.