The Titanic Commutator Issue 219


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In This Issue

The main feature of this issue is the Titanic Exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library of which the Titanic Historical Society participated. When news of this got around, questions similar to this were asked in an article by Brian Hawley: “What on earth does Titanic have to do with Reagan?” Thinking about it further, the idea for the exhibit was quite apropos because President Reagan was instrumental in the discovery of the world’s most famous shipwreck. He had authorized the top-secret mission in 1985 that discovered and explored Titanic and the exhibit at the Reagan Library is a brilliant way to get this lesser-known part of Titanic’s ever-fascinating story out to a new and different audience. The museum is neatly divided into three parts: The President Reagan Story, the Air Force One Pavilion, and the Titanic exhibit. All three are world class.

Don Lynch wrote in Memories of Captain Smith: As part of their coverage of the Titanic disaster, newspapers around the globe sought the memories of those who knew Captain Edward J. Smith. Descriptions were generally favorable, to the point of consistently exaggerating his height. But, his popularity is unquestioned, as evident by the dinner held in his honor in New York in December of 1911. Mention is made of the Olympic’s collision with the Hawke, although in reality the ship was under the control of the harbor pilot and not Captain Smith at the time. It is also interesting to note the mention by several of his friends of his pending retirement. Many researchers have questioned whether or not the Titanic’s initial round trip was indeed supposed to be his final voyage. The article is a sampling of some of those memories.

George Behe contributes a few articles, one tongue in cheek about Archie Butt’s “Seagoing Farm,” another on the arrival of Adriatic on her maiden voyage to New York in 1907 mentioning two Titanic-related people (Bruce Ismay and Dr. William O’Loughlin). Two friends of Titanic passenger Major Archibald Butt (William Phillips and Bourke Cockran) were also on board the new liner. Cockran would soon be a Democratic Congressman and his wife was a sister of Marjorie Ide, with whom Archie had a romantic interest not long before his death on the Titanic.

Other stories include Zetie Duncan Nash’s abbreviated trip on Olympic, ocean currents affecting Titanic’s victims and lookouts in the crow’s nest. Quite a variety of good reading!


Titanic At The Reagan Library
By Brian Hawley

Titanic Exhibition at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
The story of Titanic from the discovery of the wreck, through passenger artifacts and reproductions of the vessel from the movie “Titanic.” By Museum donors and contributors

Much Rests on Men in the Crow’s Nest
Contributed by George Behe

The Shortest Voyage on the Longest Ship
By Zetie Duncan Nash

Harbor Welcomes Adriatic
New York Sun, May 17, 1907

Memories of Captain Smith
Contributed by Don Lynch

Book Notes: Titanic’s Unknown Child by Carol Goodwin reviewed by Andy Bullock; Guide to the Crew of Titanic: The Structure of Working Aboard the Legendary Liner by Gunter Babler, reviewed by Ray Lepien

Sea Poste: Joan Daniels is recalled by Barbara Magruder; a photo that is mistakenly captioned; seeking information about a family on Titanic.

Archie Butt’s Seagoing Farm
By George Behe

The Bodies That Refused to Wander
New York Sun, May 26, 1912

Front: At the entrance to the Reagan Library, the first thing one sees is this collapsible lifeboat from Cameron’s “Titanic”. As a marquee piece, it readily attracts attention and is a great advertisement for what the visitor is about to experience.
Back: This section of Titanic’s hull was built with the correct list and forward downward angle to accurately show how it would have looked as lifeboat 6 was lowered. This mock-up section of Titanic’s hull is accurate in its rivet pattern and side lights. Rob Zucca of the Reagan Library took a lot of time and effort to get everything just right. The lifeboat is from the movie “Titanic”. Photos: Brian Hawley

Weight 8 oz
Dimensions 11 × 9 × 0.25 in