Welcome! The Titanic Historical Society, Inc. (THS), established in 1963, is the premier source for Titanic and White Star Line information. THS is the original and largest Titanic society in the world. Nearing the half-century mark, our mission of preserving the great ship's history can be seen in our outstanding publications, Titanic Museum and annual themed events.
Our experienced and knowledgeable officers and members include maritime historians, authors, artists, etc. who have been consultants and/or actively worked on numerous Robert Ballard (Nat Geo) and James Cameron (Fox/Discovery) projects, not to mention History Channel investigations et al., the THS has already proved itself a worthy source of qualified researchers. In addition, the THS has one of the largest available Titanic/White Star related photographic archives in the world.
People of all ages and all countries who love the ship and her story are invited to join THS as members and receive the incomparable Titanic Commutator. The Titanic Museum's superb collection in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, was the first permanent exhibition of rare Titanic artifacts and documents donated by survivors. Become a member, tour our Museum and visit our Museum Shop online or in person. Enter curious, leave inspired.
It was a brutal winter in New England and Spring blossoms were a welcome sight. The Titanic Centennial Memorial Garden and Walkway survived nicely; the deep snow cover insulated the shrubs for the most part and they didn’t succumb to winterkill from the severe cold. The memorial wreath and flowers placed on April 15th (covers) were a reminder not only of remembering those who were lost on Titanic but also of God’s annual renewal of life.
Some letters we have received over time involved questions about the immigrant experience and life on a voyage to America from Europe. Was it terrible? Two articles in this issue speak to conditions: Steerage Class Accommodations - Cunard Steamship Line 1879, written by a reporter who decided to travel from New York to Liverpool to see for himself if it was as described. Steerage Class Conditions - A Report of the immigration Condition 1911 based on information obtained by special agents traveling as steerage passengers on twelve different transatlantic steamers.
Downton Abbey fans will understand and appreciate, Bastion of Masculinity, men-only activities among the elite 1st class in the smoking room on Titanic’s last night.
Some newspaper accounts of the Titanic disaster were notorious for exaggeration, misrepresentation and outright falsehoods that were printed to sell papers. Often personal reputations were ruined and some fabrications live to this day. Lisa McDougald sets the record straight about the Fortune family.
The new membership year of 2015 begins with this issue and we're still in a process of transition. Ed's loss is felt daily whether it is personal or related to the THS. I can't begin to count how many times I'd ask Ed where a particular file or information about a passenger, etc. was and he would nod and knew where to find it. So much was in his head. The majority of the THS archives is hard copy in metal files stored in three separate locations. Only the last decade has been digitalized which means searching is not automatic or a quick answer in a computer.
I'm extremely grateful for encouragement in cards and letters from so many of you and continue to receive. It's been overwhelming. I regret I haven't been able to reply personally to everyone. Please know that you all are appreciated and your thoughtfulness means a lot.
Also I'm continually amazed and thankful for the wealth of talent and knowledge from members who contribute articles and this issue is a prime example. Parks Stephenson's Titanic's Guardian Angel, "Many, if not all, of the survivors from Titanic owe their lives to an unlikely guardian angel...a fire in one of Titanic's coal bunkers. This claim, I admit, seems counter-intuitive and will therefore require some explanation."
In another article, Mike Herbold wrote: Using the alias George Brayton, a gambler and 1st class passenger on Titanic, over the years made headlines often, usually using his real name, George A. Brereton, usually for being arrested or for being indicted in a federal case. Finally, distressed financially, and resorting to living with his sister's family, he made newspaper headlines by shooting himself.
Senan Molony sent a fascinating story about Edith Russell: "Being a survivor of this tragedy has also made me an object of curious interest on many occasions. When I cross the Atlantic on steamers I meet numbers of people, and when it becomes known that I am a Titanic survivor they immediately ply me with every sort of question. One of the more frequent questions is: 'Were you really saved?' (I have never learned quite how to answer this one.) Or, 'Did you hear Nearer, my God, to Thee?', and, yet another, 'Was the water rough?,' and 'Were you cold?'; 'How many were saved?'; 'Were you frightened?'; 'You certainly were lucky!' "
The Dedication of the Titanic Centennial Memorial Garden and Walkway takes precedence in this issue. It is the result of work that began five years ago and is the largest project ever undertaken by the Titanic Historical Society.
In the words of THS Vice President, Paul Phaneuf, delivered on September 20, 2014:
“We are gathered here today in the peaceful surroundings of beautiful Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield for the dedication of this long awaited project. In 2009, our beloved founder, Ed Kamuda, Karen and myself, met to discuss this project. Our vision was for a lasting memorial to Titanic which we would dedicate on the 100th Anniversary. We envisioned a beautiful black granite monument which would be a lasting memorial for future generations. I contacted John Mikuszewski of Notre Dame Memorials in South Hadley and with his expertise under the direction of Ed and Karen, a design was formulated for this beautiful memorial. Despite two setbacks, one of me being severely injured in a fall in late 2009, and a refusal from historic Springfield Cemetery where our beloved Springfield resident Milton Clyde Long was interred, the project continued under the watchful eye of Ed and Karen. Oak Grove Cemetery in the center of the city was suggested and a meeting was scheduled with the Board of Directors and John Huffman, the superintendent. With their blessing and their donation of this plot of land, the memorial came to fruition and was dedicated in April of 2012. Plans were then made for a beautiful landscaped park around the memorial which was designed by Gary Courchesne and his staff of G & H Landscape Design of Holyoke. As the work progressed, Karen was here each day coordinating this labor of love. I would never imagined when this all began in 2009, that this would be the final resting place of our founder and president, Ed Kamuda, who dedicated his entire life to preserve the history and memory of Titanic.
Today, we gather to honor the memory of all who sailed on that beautiful ship. I truly believe that Ed is home with all the passengers and crew of the Titanic saying 'well done' to all of us for this beautiful memorial and landscaped park.”
This journal is devoted primarily to remembering THS president, founder, husband and best friend, Edward Stephen Kamuda who passed into Eternity on April 13, 2014.
In the words of one of Ed's favorite heroes, John Wayne: "A man's got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job." Ed Kamuda was a man who lived by a code––he had a clear sense of right and wrong and was consistent in what he believed. In his life and his work, he lived core values that are––honor, perseverance, and commitment.
Ed's life was taken away from us too soon and it is hard to understand why tragic things like this happen to such good people. However, this is a question without an answer and we should not dwell on his loss but his legacy––of founding the Titanic Historical Society (originally Titanic Enthusiasts of America) despite obstacles, of being instrumental in preserving Titanic history when history and tradition were out of fashion in the turbulent social upheaval of the 1960s and remembering the remarkable things Ed accomplished.
In this second quarter issue, George Rosenshine's Final Voyage is an exclusive, never before published account. Janet Ripin's great uncle, George Rosenshine, a 1st class passenger on Titanic, mailed postcards to his three nieces during an around-the-world trip before he boarded Titanic. The postcards survived all these years due to the sentimental and saving nature of Janet's mother, Viola, who lived with her Uncle George from 1905-1910. Viola kept the cards among other old family letters and mementoes in a large steamer trunk in the attic of her childhood home and Janet came into their possession upon her mother's death in 1949. George's last extant postcard is dated March 15, 1912, from ltaly. One month later, on April 15, 1912, the forty-six year-old bachelor's fully dressed, frozen body, complete with wristwatch, was floating, buoyed by a life preserver in the North Atlantic's frigid 28 degree water. Decades later, Janet Ripin contacted the THS and donated the collection.
Just about everyone agrees that the Titanic disaster was the result of a collision between the liner and an iceberg. There is much debate about what actually happened that caused a technological marvel like Titanic to fall so readily to a brush with a floating piece of ice. Beginning shortly after news flashed out about the disaster and continuing to modern day, an endless procession of pundits has offered up various theories about what happened. In Parks Stephenson's riveting article, Why Did Titanic Sink?, he describes what he has learned and how he applied that knowledge to contribute to what we can know about how and why Titanic sank.
Where did 2013 go? How quickly time flies. The Titanic Historical Society reached the half-century mark last year and is going into its 51st year. It's been quite a ride. To think this organization began to preserve Titanic and White Star Line history because, at that time, the general public was unaware or did not care in the turmoil of the 1960s. With persistence in those early years ––little by little––through the pages of this journal distributed worldwide, its influence grew. Over decades, many people from all walks of life picked up the literal torch, researching and presenting their original perspectives in multiple forms of media that you are familiar with whether it is discoveries, books, TV or movies. The result is, the name Titanic is recognized everywhere.
Authors and contributors in this first quarter issue are continuing the mission. The cover showing the former White Star Line offices in Liverpool as it appeared circa 1900 is a prime example. The building which was empty for a number of years will have a new life and become a five-star hotel while retaining its original features that were hidden from view for the last forty plus years. Photos by Paul Louden-Brown illustrate many of the discoveries uncovered.
This issue of The Titanic Commutator is a special one, not only to the amount of pages dedicated to illustrating the 50th anniversary convention but also a tribute to those who participated. The five memorable days cannot be duplicated, it was a magical time.
Those of us who live outside of the South, the warmth, courtesy and general hospitality received was a characteristic many of us are not used to. Combined with the mild, sunny weather, the location and hotel was a dream venue. Letters received in the few weeks after the convention confirm the same, some are in the column, SeaPoste.
The convention's theme revolved around the THS, its accomplishments and the talent and knowledge of its officers and members.
President Ed Kamuda opened Wednesday evening with a video about THS's 50 years. For the newer members, to learn that the THS was involved in the first Titanic model kit, one of the first TV programs researching Titanic, finding Britannic, publishing the first crew list and the names, addresses of the victims in Halifax, conventions with survivors, Titanic Heritage Tours and more firsts.
Just when you may have thought there is nothing new under the sun regarding the Titanic story, two articles in this third quarter 2013 issue show otherwise.
Without a doubt, the Cooling Room of the Turkish Bath is one of the most iconic interiors associated with Titanic. Over two years, Ken Marschall and Parks Stephenson worked closely together to build out the room in the form of a computer generated (CG) model as complete as possible using information from Ken's extensive archives. Before Keldysh made it back to port in Jim Cameron's July 2005 dive, Parks had assimilated the information from that exploration into his CG model. Over the next 6 years, Bill Sauder Ken and Parks would not only fine-tune the Cooling Room model with “new” information from the dive, but also painstakingly construct the rest of the Baths complex as accurately as the collective evidence would allow. The results are breathtaking.
The second story concerns research going back pre-Internet, to the early 1980s when THS Vice-President, Arnold Watson was collecting information for THS's ground-breaking, Roster of Valor, the first book published listing the victims in the Halifax cemeteries. One of a number of documents not used in “Roster” was a diary written by Frederic A. Hamilton, Mackay-Bennett's Cable Engineer who described the recovery of Titanic victims. An example: “The cutter lowered, and work commenced and kept up continuously all day, picking up bodies. Hauling the soaked remains in saturated clothing over the side of the cutter is no light task. Fifty-one we have taken on board to-day, two children, three women, and forty-six men, and still the sea seems strewn.” Mr. Hamilton's vivid description makes the reader almost feel the constant wet and cold as the ship rolled like a cork in the large swells. Click here for more
In reflecting on events related to RMS Titanic and the Titanic Historical Society in this 50th anniversary year, two articles in this issue show how much has changed––one is how and why the Titanic Historical Society began 50 years ago, Titanic Historical Society: The Idea, Foundation and Founding; its influence on people worldwide and what is happening in 2013–an incredible contrast.
Its mission, when it was formed in the Kamuda residence in 1963, with odds against it succeeding, was to remember and preserve the history of Titanic after learning that a survivor, a baker, had died alone and the apartment's owner tossed out his Titanic mementos. The act of discarding history was the motivation that began what eventually became the Titanic Historical Society.
In the story, Titanic II Global Launch, Professor Clive Palmer, a successful entrepreneur from Australia, formally announced plans to build Titanic II. He is serious about his project because rather than seek investors as in past failed ventures, he is putting up his own money. A report on the activities in New York.
Since he left his home in Norway to visit his children in North Dakota, from England, John Nysveen had written “All is well” on a telegram to his wife. He intended to travel to the United States on S.S. Megantic but the ship did not sail because of a shortage of coal. Days passed––April 11, April 12, April 13, April 14––John Nysveen had disappeared––there was no sign of him. There was no reason to believe that John was on the Titanic, and the family thought that he had left on another ship before Titanic's voyage. Also, his name was not on the passenger lists published in the newspapers. Unfortunately, Nysveen was on Titanic and Sergio Martinez Cotos does a remarkable job researching the biography of a forgotten Third-class passenger in the biographical piece: Johannes Hansen Nysveen: A Story of Life, Truth and Tragedy
As this is written in January 2013, an important milestone in Titanic history has been reached––the Titanic Historical Society is 50. We hope you will join us on September 4 through 8, 2013 at THS's 50th Anniversary Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where we'll reflect and remember. Latest details are inside the issue and on our website under Events.
Five decades has brought an incredible change in the Titanic world. The ship has become a worldwide phenomenon. It wasn't always that way. It's hard to believe that in the summer of 1963 at the Kamuda residence in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, a handful of young men struggled for an identity for a new organization whose mission was to preserve the history of Titanic. It fell, for the most part, on deaf ears. Who cared about a ship disaster fifty years ago when there have been so many important events since? The 1960s were a time of civic disruption across the country and a dismissal of history and tradition. The lack of interest by the general public was discouraging but it was also an opportunity. At this time Edward Kamuda and a few THS members had been corresponding with Titanic survivors who, at that time in their later years, were thrilled that anyone cared about their experiences a half century ago. Permanent friendships were formed. Their personal accounts were written in their own hand which became the foundation for articles in this journal that was mailed to members in the United States, Canada, the UK and Europe and thus, the beginnings of preserving Titanic history and reaching many people.
As you can see from past Commutators featured on the front and back covers, there are many Titanic and related subjects that were introduced decades ago that became the foundation for research for additional information which had a ripple effect. More knowledge was found and built on the shoulders of earlier Titanic Commutators–– Persistence by a handful of people in the early years is a source of pride.
Titanic Dinner Parties Category
Gathered into one category for easy review and purchase, here all the items for hosting an excellent Titanic Dinner Party. Be sure to set your table with our Titanic Dinner Package, sold in single place settings or packs of 12. Present your guests with memorable party favors like the mini Titanic keychain or Titanic ornament. Decorate with reproduction documents and put on the original music as was played aboard the Titanic. Click here to browse this category, or find it any time from the side menu in our Museum Store.
The Titanic Historical Society is celebrating the half century mark with two magniﬁcent 50th Anniversary lapel pins in striking goldtone or enamel. The pins highlight THS's 50 years and RMS Titanic with a brilliant gold 50 and a majestic Titanic in the center. Topped by the THS logo adding a distinctive accent, the important dates 1963-2013 compliment the design.
Text reads: Titanic Historical Society, Inc., Preserving Titanic and White Star Line history for a half century, The original Titanic Society, www.titanichistoricalsociety.org/ are raised letters imprinted on the base on the goldtone pin.
These are truly beautiful pins and an instant collectible. Goldtone pin is 1.5 inches X 1.25 inches or 3.8 cm x 3.2 cm. Enamel pin is 2 inches X 1.50 or 5 cm x 4 cm.Click here to Purchase.
In George Behe's latest book, passengers and crew describe in their own words the Titanic disaster––in postcards, letters, diary entries that were written before during and after Titanic's maiden voyage. Some of these documents were composed by people who later lost their lives in the sinking and represent the last communications that they had with their friends and family at home. Their personal correspondence provides an unparalleled description of the days onboard while Titanic was at sea. Subsequent missives tell of the horror and heartbreak they experienced with the loss of loved ones.Click here to read more.
With all the benefits of hindsight, this updated report is the ultimate Titanic reference book providing fascinating insights into the ship herself, the American and British inquiries, the passengers and crew, the fateful journey and ice warnings received, the damage and sinking, protocol and process of rescue, the circumstances in connection with the S.S. Californian and S.S. Mount Temple, and the aftermath and ramifications around the world.Click here to read more.
A unique legal drama and an entirely new perspective on some of the most famous maritime disasters in history
Over a period of four years, four ships and 4,000 lives were lost under different circumstances—but one individual was linked to them all: John Charles Bigham, Lord Mersey, who was appointed to head the inquiries into each disaster. Mersey is often referred to in contemptuous terms as a "company man," or a government stooge. Is this the whole truth?Click here to read more.
Back in print, the author spent years researching the life of Wallace Hartley, conducting interviews with remaining members of his family. The bravery of the band and their leader playing hymns as the ship went down is one of the most poignant aspects of the worst disaster to happen to the ill-fated British passenger liner. Who comprised the band? Who was Wallace Hartley and where did he come from?Click here to read more.
A sumptuous and delightful collection of postcards tracing the illustrious White Star Line. This evocative book explores the colorful story in personal postcards and messages from passengers and crew to the careers of the vessels in peacetime and in war.
The model kit of the S.S. France is one of the truly beautiful ocean liners. She represented the ultimate in ocean liners featuring the newest and latest innovations in style, interior appointments marine design and engineering.
This 1/450 Scale 24.5 inch model GLM 3902 is the 1996 1/450 scale version of the SS France shortly after she entered service in 1962. The model kit contains a large and well-detailed injection molded kit with a solid one-piece hull and multiple pieces that will require glueing and painting. Paint and glue not included. This is a favorite liner to collect and/or build and makes a nice showing when completed.Click here to read more.
Now you can relive the courtly polish of Titanic's Edwardian-style without
the muss and fuss of searching for the right accessories. In an era in which
the Social Register listed vessels on which the socially prominent sailed,
the White Star Line set a standard right down to the understated, elegant
menus and place settings in the first class dining saloon. Created especially
for your Titanic Dinner party using rare originals from The Titanic Museum
Collection reproduced to create a 1912 ambience for your unique Titanic Dinner
all in one.
Click here to read more.
First class elegance with large, banquet-size napkins. Soft, absorbent yet
elegant white with famous White Star Line logo imprinted in red and big enough
to cover your lap. 25 per package. Measuring a huge 17 X 17 inches (unfolded);
8.50 X 8.50 (folded) with embossed pleated edge.
Click here to read more
A faithful reproduction of original White Star Line buff-colour stationery
with the imprinted White Star burgee logo in red and the Titanic's name at
the top left. 10 sheets and 10 envelopes in each package.
Click here to read more
These beautiful and historic playing cards featuring classic luggage labels from the 1920s through the 1950s; jewels of graphic design by unsung artists. These seductive labels, recalling a less hurried age of the great liners and luxurious hotels, were pasted on leather suitcases and steamer trunks, proud mementoes of the grand hotels, elegant ships and the lost glamour of flying.
These beautiful and historic playing cards featuring the great ocean liners from Olympic and Titanic through the 1960s; jewels of graphic design in the glamorous posters of famous ship, ports of call and the iconic companies they represented.
This is a wonderful gift book--the richness and emotion of the story are all the more poignant when enhanced by actual family photographs, the Spedden's tragic personal story and the reflection of an era that will never exist again.
Leighton H. Coleman, III, opened a window on the sinking of the Titanic, the most famous sea disaster of all time, through memorabilia while exploring the attic of his relative Daisy Corning Stone Spedden. He found many personal treasures, including a charming book Daisy had written in 1913 for her 8-year-old son, Douglas.Click here for more information
Made exclusively for the Titanic Historical Society, this delightful custom
made RMS Titanic ornament can hang in your window as a decoration or for your
special Christmas tree. Makes a great keepsake favor for your Titanic party,
too. Fully sculpted ship and water is raised and slightly rounded producing
a great three-dimensional effect. RMS Titanic is painted realistically in
her traditional black hull, white superstructure, buff and black funnels...
Click here for more details
Titanic's first class passenger list is one of the most requested reproductions and its understandable why. This is an exquisite reproduction printed from an original and rare Titanic Passenger List in the Titanic Museum Collection. Hold a real piece of history in your hand and search through the familiar names. Printed with the same color covers and includes Titanic's (future) scheduled sailings and the listing of the passengers in first and second class. This facsimile original maiden voyage booklet printed on glossy paper looks like the real thing and contains all the shipboard information that was distributed to the passengers. A real find for those seeking information about the first and second class people who were aboard the Titanic.
Awash in elegance, this pin is a skillful recreation of the reknowned White Star Line logo, a red swallowtail flag with a white star in the center surrounded in royal blue. This beautiful pin is made of baked enamel in authentic colors that is set off in solid brass. .75 inch diameter, push pin back.
Reproductions of Rare Originals. MAJESTIC, OLYMPIC, BRITANNIC, OCEANIC, TEUTONIC,
CEDRIC, GEORGIC, REPUBLIC, HOMERIC and the CUNARDER CARPATHIA.
Click here to read more
The perfect party favor or place card holder for your gala Titanic Dinner
or Titanic birthday party at a discount price when you buy the party pack.
RMS Titanic is one of the nicest little miniatures in the inexpensive price
range that we've ever seen. Comes 12 to a package.
Click here to purchase
You will be blown away with the wealth of information included in this latest offering and spend many happy hours looking over each and every deck. Titanic's general arrangements at 1/350 scale show her accommodations, engine & machinery, deck planking & frame spacing, auxiliary apparatus and so much more... Click here to read more.