Extraordinary group of eight telegrams sent by Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, the fleet to which belonged the Titanic, just after his rescue from the sinking Titanic by the Cunard liner. Carpathia. Oblong small folio. 11 pp and title.
$ 129,688 / 125.000 €
Extraordinary group of eight telegrams sent by Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, the fleet to which belonged the Titanic, just after his rescue from the sinking Titanic by the Cunard liner, Carpathia, to Islefrank, the White Star Line's New York Office; the telegrams written on Marconi International Marine Communication forms, the first telegram in the series bears Ismay's full name, all subsequent telegrams bear the name "Yamsi," Ismay's named spelled backwards; each telegram mounted on folio sheets, the same folio sheets used as upper and lower covers, the upper with manuscript title "Book No.
1 Copy/ "Carpathia" Mr. Ismay's mgs sent and received" Together with: three telegrams received by Ismay on board the Carpathia from Phillip A. S. Franklin of Islefrank, responding to Ismay's messages.
A stunning record of the communication of a survivor just after the sinking of the Titanic offered more than 100 years after the tragic mishap.
"Deeply regret [to] advise you Titanic sank this morning . . . ." As managing director of the shipping company to which the Titanic belonged, Bruce Ismay went on the maiden voyage of the Titanic as a passenger. The first ship to respond to the distress signal of the Titanic was the Cunard liner, Carpathia, which was fifty-eight miles and a good four hours away. Arriving one hour and twenty minutes after the Titanic sunk, Carpathia took aboard Titanic survivors who were fortunate enough to get into lifeboats. Upon boarding Carpathia, Ismay writes to his New York office at 5:50 am on 15 April 1912: "Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning fifteenth after collison iceberg resulting serious loss life further particulars later . . . ." At 1:00 pm the same day Ismay transmits more information: "Most desirable Titanic crew aboard Carpathia should be returned home earliest moment possible / suggest you hold Cedric sailing her daylight Friday unless you see any reason contrary / propose returning her myself please send outfit of clothes including shoes for me to Cedric/ have nothing of my own . . ."
Please note the date descrepancy in Ismay's first telegrams. Upon being taken aboard the Carpathia, Ismay dispatched the news of the disaster to Phillip A. S. Franklin in the New York office on 15 April at 5:50 am. Ismay's message, however, was not transmitted until 17 April as evidenced in both telegrams at the top right corner with the "sent date"—a full two days later. But why? In his account of the Titanic disaster, Wyn Craig Wade first attributes the time lapse to bureaucratic red tape. Harold Cottam of the Carpathia delayed Ismay's message for two days, eventually transmitting it through Sable Island. During the Titanic investigation, "Cottam explained it was not customary to put official news through any other ship at all 'except those of the same line.'" Yes this was found to be untrue. Wade then looks to the divided authority of the wireless operators between the captain of the ship and the wireless companies as a more viable explanation for the delay. (Wyn Craig Wade. The Titanic: End of a Dream, 1986, pp. 263-264).
On 18 April, Ismay sent six more telgrams requesting his correspondent to meet him and make arrangements for the Cedric to retrieve the Titanic crew from Carpathia as soon as possible: "Please join Carpathia quarantine / if possible . . ."; "Send responsible ships officer and fourteen White Star sailors in two tug boats to take charge of thirteen Titanic boats at quarantine . . ."; "Widener not aboard hope see you in quarantine / please cable wife am returning . . ." [Ismay makes mention here of George Widener, the Philadelphia streetcar magnate who did not survive the disaster; "Very important you should hold Cedric daylight Friday for Titanic crew . . ."; "Think most unwise keep Titanic crew until Saturday . . ."; "Unless you have good and substantial reason for not holding Cedric please arrange do so most / undesirable have New York crew so long . . . ."
The three responses from the New York office of 17 and 18 April clearly convey great concern and distress over the disaster: "So thankful you are saved but grieving with you over terrible calamity / shall sail Saturday . . . accept my deepest sympathy horrible catastrophe / will meet you aboard Carpathia after docking / is Widener aboard . . ."; "Have arranged forward crew Lapland sailing Saturday calling Plymouth we all consider most unwise delay / Cedric considering all circumstances . . . ."; "Concise marconigram account of actual accident greatly needed for enlightenment public and ourselves / this is most important . . . ."
According to Walter Lord in his A Night to Remember, Bruce Ismay completely isolated himself in his cabin almost immediately after boarding the Carpathia: " . . . he never ate anything solid; he never received a visitor [except one]; he was kept to the end under the influence of opiates. It was a start of a self-imposed exile from active life. Within a year he retired from the White Star Line, purchased a large estate on the west coast of Ireland and remained a virtual recluse till he died in 1937 . . . .".