Titanic - Introduction
Titanic Clearing Southampton, SI Negative #34,460
Since the ocean liner Titanic sank on its maiden or first voyage, there are very few original pictures of the ship in existence. Most of the photographs that do exist were taken in the Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, while the ship was under construction. There is one that shows the new ocean liner entering the port of Southampton, England with the help of tugboats, several weeks before the ship was to take on passengers. There are also a few taken of the huge new ship as it cleared that port on its maiden voyage on 10 April 1912 with a full load of passengers. The Smithsonian owns one of the last of these photographs, showing the starboard or right side of the ship against the wharf. The wave at the bow of the vessel indicates that it is already picking up speed, as it readies for the open ocean.
Carpathia, the ship that rescued the Titanic survivors
Both the British and the Americans held formal inquiries and hearings on the Titanic loss. The investigations revealed that although several vessels heard Titanic's distress call and one was closer even than Carpathia when the call went out, only Carpathia responded in time to rescue survivors. As a result, Carpathia saved more than 700 Titanic passengers. The ships that returned to the area of the wreck site later only found bodies and debris from the Titanic that had floated up from the depths.
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- Chicago physician Dr. Frank Blackmarr, a passenger aboard Titanic's rescue ship RMS Carpathia, helped the survivors suffering from hypothermia, exposure, and shock. He collected a Titanic life vest during the voyage as a souvenir. Five days into its maiden voyage in 1912, the White Star ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg at full speed in the North Atlantic, en route from England to the United States. For the next few hours, the giant ship took on water and began to nose down into the sea. At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, the gigantic ship sank in 12,500 feet of water 350 miles off the coast of Canada. Within about two hours, Carpathia arrived and rescued the Titanic's 705 surviving crew and passengers. Around 1,500 people aboard were lost.
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- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center