Meet the author of Titanic in 366 Days, Graeme Jupp!
TITANIC: A LIFE JOURNEY TO REMEMBER Contributed by Graeme Jupp, author of Titanic in 366 Days
From an early age I have always been interested in ships, especially square-rigged sailing ships and passenger liners, and have frequently been asked how my interest in the Titanic began. My earliest recollection was an illustration in a children’s book in my local library, around 1978-79. The illustration showed Captain Smith looking at water pouring into Titanic’s boiler rooms. I do not know the name of the book and have never since seen that same illustration.
Later, I found the illustrated edition (1976) of Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember in the same library. At that time, I was not interested in reading the book as it was more the photographs of the Titanic that captured my imagination. One of my hobbies in the late 1970s and early 1980s was making cardboard models of ships, and during this period I made at least two very inaccurate models of the Titanic.
My interest in the Titanic went somewhat dormant in the early 1980s until the discovery of the wreck in 1985. I started collecting newspaper clippings about the discovery and renewed interest in the liner, all of which I still retain in my library. I was sixteen years old when I received, as a Christmas present in 1987, my first Titanic title – Dr Robert Ballard’s The Discovery of the Titanic. This incredible book introduced me, like many others, to the magnificent paintings of artist and visual historian Ken Marschall. I started work in the profession of cartography (map-making) in 1989 and began purchasing Titanic books, even though there were few titles available. Among the first books I acquired were reprints of Geoffrey Marcus’s The Maiden Voyage (1969), Wyn Craig Wade’s The Titanic: End of a Dream (1979) and Michael Davie’s The Titanic: The Full Story of a Tragedy (1986). A specialist order bookstore provided Walter Lord’s The Night Lives On and John Eaton and Charles Haas’s Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy (both 1986), along with a reprint of the 1911 edition of The Shipbuilder journal devoted to the Olympic and Titanic.
My collection of Titanic books more than doubled when I joined the Titanic Historical Society (THS) in 1990. A highlight in the 1990s was attending the THS convention aboard the Queen Mary at Long Beach, California, in April 1997. I was privileged to meet several Titanic enthusiasts and historians, including Edward Kamuda, Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, and survivor Millvina Dean. Had I known then that Millvina worked as a cartographer for the British Government during the Second World War, I would have had great pleasure discussing with her my interest in maps and cartography.
As the years progressed and my Titanic interest developed, family members started suggesting I write my own book. I was encouraged to enter the New Zealand edition of the television show ‘Mastermind’, with the Titanic as my specialist subject. This ran for fifteen seasons from 1976 to 1990, though I was far too young to enter it at that time.
My most memorable Titanic experience was participating in the ‘Titanic Memorial Cruise’ in April 2012. Initially I was disappointed to learn that places aboard the Balmoral, sailing from Southampton, had sold out. A second ship, the Azamara Journey, was chartered for an eight-night return cruise from New York to the wreck site, including a port day in Halifax. This voyage formed part of my seven-week ‘Titanic Centenary Tour’ through the USA, Canada, England and Ireland. I visited places of Titanic interest in New York, Halifax, London, Southampton, Liverpool, Belfast and Cobh, as well as experiencing restored ships like HMS Victory, the Cutty Sark and the SS Great Britain. I was even able to gain access to the pier in Philadelphia to view the SS United States.
I have made a number of ocean voyages since 2008, including the final transatlantic sailing of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 from New York to Southampton in October of that year, and Cunard’s 175th anniversary crossing from Liverpool to New York aboard Queen Mary 2 in July 2015. My longest voyage to date was a 17-night cruise aboard Queen Elizabeth from San Francisco to Auckland in February 2017. An ocean voyage aboard a Cunard ship is the way to travel!
Having spent thirty years buying and reading everyone else’s Titanic books, I finally decided in 2017 to compile my own. To the best of my knowledge, no-one had previously published Titanic’s wider story in the form of a calendar, with each day devoted to a Titanic-related event. The website ‘Encyclopedia Titanica’ featured an ‘On this day’ page with the births and deaths of passengers and crew, and the publication dates of articles and news stories. Dr Paul Lee also had an ‘On this day’ feature on his website but had not (yet) been able to source an event for every day of the year. I elected to include anything and everything relating to the Titanic and her sister ships, including references to the White Star Line and Harland & Wolff.
I released my e-book in PDF format in March 2022 on six Facebook pages and three websites as Titanic in 366 Days: A Calendar of Events. The project consumed around 2,900 hours of editing time and hundreds of additional hours poring through books, magazines, journals and newspapers. I received valuable assistance from notable Titanic historians, researchers, authors and collectors. Titanic in 366 Days underwent further revisions between March and October 2022.
It is increasingly difficult nowadays to create something new about the Titanic, given the number of outstanding books published in more recent years, especially since 2008. I believe my book created something of a ‘first’ in Titanic literature, even though it wasn’t published in hard-copy format. I trust that everyone who downloads Titanic in 366 Days will derive pleasure and enjoyment from its contents. My interest in the Titanic will continue forever, and it is my fervent desire to be at the wreck site again for the 150th anniversary on 14-15 April 2062.
One must aim high! Happy reading…
by Graeme Jupp
The sinking of the White Star liner Titanic on 14-15 April 1912 is undoubtedly history’s most documented maritime disaster. Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have chronicled virtually every aspect of the tragedy and the ship’s all-too-brief career. Titanic’s story before and after the events of April 1912 has also been meticulously recorded, including accounts of those who conceived and built her, the passengers and crew who sailed on the maiden voyage, and those whose lives were forever affected by the disaster and its aftermath. Decades after the sinking a new wave of interest in the ship was fostered by motion pictures and the discovery and exploration of the wreck. Tales of heroism and controversy abound, with enthusiasts, historians and authors endlessly researching and debating the dramatic story of the ‘unsinkable’ ship.
Dates play an important part in any historical event and the story of Titanic is no exception. Her launch on 31 May 1911, the maiden voyage on 10 April 1912, and the discovery of her wreck on 1 September 1985 are indelibly etched in Titanic lore. The date of 14 April 1912 almost always features in reference books of historical events. The disaster is also among the most recognised events of the twentieth century, alongside the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk by the Wright brothers (17 December 1903), the Normandy landings during World War II (6 June 1944), the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy (22 November 1963), the Apollo 11 Moon landing (20 July 1969), and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales (31 August 1997).
Titanic in 366 Days attempts to encompass Titanic’s complete story from the perspective of specific events and the dates on which they occurred. It is not a chronological timeline, nor does it profess to be a definitive record of events associated with the great liner.
The format follows a calendar year from 1 January to 31 December, with at least one event for each date, including 29 February (conveniently, 1912 was a ‘leap’ year). The reader will learn of people and places, monuments and memorials, movies and media, shipbuilder and shipyard, investigations and inquiries, anniversaries, societies and conventions, discovery, exploration and artefacts, passengers and crew, other ships and vessels, books and periodicals, and a multitude of relatively obscure events from the 1840s to the present day.
The events presented are intended to inform, entertain and enrich one’s knowledge of Titanic and her wider story. They are not designed to be overly descriptive or technical, but rather a curious mix of major, minor and little-known connections with the ship. It follows the ‘today in history’ concept and in many instances several dates appear more than once. For example, there are eight entries for 31 May (two for 1911 and six in other years), eleven for 10 April 1912 and twenty-six for 15 April 1912. Many dates have been repeated to cover multiple events which occurred on the same date, though not necessarily in the same year. Included are the careers of Titanic’s sister ships Olympic (1911-1935) and Britannic (1915-1916), a social history of passengers, crew and other individuals, and the impact the disaster and its aftermath had on ocean travel and organisations. Significant dates in the histories of the Belfast shipbuilding firm Harland & Wolff, and the Liverpool-based White Star Line, are interspersed with Titanic-related events. There are over 800 events for the 366 days of a calendar year.
I trust that readers will derive as much pleasure and enjoyment from Titanic in 366 Days as I have had in its research and compilation.
-GRAEME JUPP Wellington, New Zealand