April 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s tragic sinking after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Many of the stories of those who survived and those who did not are firmly embedded in popular culture. There is the “unsinkable” Molly Brown, born to poor Irish immigrants and whose husband struck gold in the 1890s, making the couple millionaires. Most know J. Bruce Ismay as the director of the White Star Line who was widely held responsible for the inadequate number of lifeboats and vilified for taking a spot on one of those boats as hundreds of others lost their lives. Finally, the tale of the ship’s musicians bravely playing as the Titanic went down has reached the status of myth. However, the stories of the ship’s middle- and third-class passengers, as well as many crew members, have gone largely untold this past century.
There are several recently published works that seek to give voice to both those who lost their lives on the Titanic and those who survived and coped – with varying degrees of success – with the aftermath of this tragedy. The following are just some of these works available at your library.
- “Shadow of the Titanic” by Andrew Wilson
- “Titanic, First Accounts,” edited by Tim Maltin
- “Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town” by John Welshman
- “Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner” by John Maxtone-Graham
- “Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From” by Richard Davenport-Hines
More Information Online
- Titanic resources, including links to primary sources and newspaper coverage of the accident, can be found at the Library of Congress’ website.
- The UK’s National Archives staff has created a visually engaging website to commemorate the anniversary of the Titanic, complete with passenger and crew lists, infographics, podcasts and images of artifacts.
- The Titanic Inquiry Project website provides transcripts and other information related to both the US and British inquiries into the sinking.
- A fantastic example of the lesser-known stories of crew members who were heroic in their own ways, dedicated to the principles of their profession until the end, is this website from the National Postal Museum, dedicated to the postal clerks who did not survive the ship’s sinking.
UPDATE: Now through the beginning of May, the Columbia Public Library’s second floor table display near the genre fiction is dedicated to books about the Titanic and other shipwrecks. Find both fiction and nonfiction selections for your reading pleasure!