by Terri Bey

"What a lovely thing she was." That was a line spoken by acting legend Sir Alec Guiness as "John Bigelow" from the 1980 film, "Raise the Titanic," based upon the Clive Cussler novel of the same name. In this particular scene, John Bigelow is reminiscing about his time on the Titanic, as Dirk Pitt (Richard Jordon) listens as he needs information from Bigelow about a guy who may have left England to New York on the Titanic with a mineral called Byzanium.

When I see a photo of the RMS Titanic, from her construction to her launching to her docking and sailing away, the assessment of the Titanic being "lovely" is right on the spot. The liner's striking beauty always has appealed to me, since I first saw a printed version of the famous German artist Willy Stower's painting of the sinking Titanic. There was something about the ship that I found to be beautiful, even though she was dying. I became hooked and throughout my life, I kept looking for more photos of this beautiful liner. I just can not get enough of Titanic photos. When she was discovered on September 1, 1985, I just loved all the photos of her. In my view, the RMS Titanic was the most beautiful object built by the hand of man. Even looking at photos of her as a wreck, she still has quite a bit of her beauty.

In speaking of photos, the Book of the Month for April and the subject of my blog for the Titanic Book Club Newsletter is "Titanic in Photographs" by Daniel Klistorner, Steve Hall, Bruce Beveridge, Art Braunschweiger, and Scott Andrews. This book tells the story of the RMS Titanic in photographs from her keel being laid to her sinking. In this blog, I will be reviewing the book. If I need to discuss a specific photo, I will mention the page number of the book to avoid copyright issues.

"Titanic in Photographs" is one of my favorite books about the Titanic. The authors did an amazing job combining photographs and written descriptions to tell the story of the famous liners. I had seen several photos previously, such as the photos of the launching, the engines, photos taken by Fr. Francis Brown. There were quite a few that I had not seen. I was astounded by the number of photos that were taken of the Titanic, even though she was the second ship in the "Olympic" Class of White Star Line ships. Her older sister, the RMS Olympic, was first in the new class of ships and got most of the attention and her insides were photographed more. In fact, per the book, the Olympic was painted in a lighter color, so she would look better and her size would be emphasized.

The authors went to great lengths to include photos from various collections. As I said, there were many that I hadn't seen before. One was a photo that took two pages (130-131). This photo came from Titanic painter Ken Marschall's collection. It was the RMS Titanic in her glory and showing what makes her so beautiful. I just loved her sleek design, when I look at her from this side view. What I also love is the partially enclosed A Deck, which is different from her sister, the Olympic, which has a totally open A Deck. If you look at the Titanic from the front, you can see the Bridge Wing extended, whereas the Olympic's Bridge Wing is flush. I just love the extension. There is just something about the Titanic that is special.

The authors show photos of the Titanic from the inside, even though not many photos exist from her insides. On pages 100 and 101, the reader gets to see the Cafe' Parisien. The Cafe Parisien happens to be my favorite place on the Titanic. I love the airy feeling and the wicker chairs. The Cafe' Parisien was for the younger crowd and was located on B Deck Starboard. For lack of photography, the authors include paintings of passengers on the Second Class Boat Decks, First Class Cabins in the Georgian styles, passengers using the swimming pool. The reader also sees photographs of passengers in the weight room on page 105, and photographs of First-Class State Rooms. This ship was definitely a palace.

"Titanic in Photographs" is a must-read for any Titanic enthusiast. This is a book for newcomers to the Titanic community, for casual Titanic readers, and certainly serious Titanic enthusiasts. I enjoyed seeing photos of the liner's launch from different angles, different photos of the Titanic, as she made her way out to the Atlantic Ocean from Southampton. The tragedy was covered by using photos of the Carpathia and the remaining lifeboats, but on page 151, I saw a couple of photos that I had never seen before, one a large group of stunned Titanic survivors and the other, a photo of the passengers in Lifeboat 1, Lady Duff Gordon's boat.

I will say, while admiring her beauty, both inside and out, I will never forget that even though she was and in my opinion, still is the most beautiful object built by the hand of man, it was mistakes made by man that destroyed her and killed 1496 people.

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

Scene: "What a lovely thing she was?" is at the 4:00 mark

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by Terri Bey

The Titanic Book Club's "Book of the Month" for February is author Geoffrey Marcus' "The Maiden Voyage." The historical information included in the book is somewhat outdated as it was first published in 1969. After all, much more has been discovered about the RMS Titanic when the wreck of the great liner was found in 1985. However, the information in the book was very helpful to "Raise the Titanic" author Clive Cussler who said of Marcus, " I am Particularly indebted to G.J. Marcus, whose book, "The Maiden Voyage, has been invaluable to me."

Overall, I really loved this book, even if it was outdated concerning the facts. The book was very well-written. Marcus tells the story of the RMS Titanic from the Boat Train, to departure, to the tragedy, to the inquiries. I really enjoyed reading about the trip that passengers would take on the Boat Train. That was very interesting. I could imagine the excitement of the passengers who were going to be on the brand new liner. Marcus captures departure day as if the reader were there. I easily imagined myself there and going about the largest ship in the world at that time.

When the reader comes to the part where the RMS Titanic is on what wound up being just 5 days at sea, the author gives the reader a vision of a ship that is completely splendid and for me, magical. The way the author described all the rooms and decorations made me feel like I was on a ship that had a certain magical aura about her. Before that tragic event, being on that grand liner had to have been like Heaven on earth, at least that is how the author portrayed it. The author did a great job of describing the collision and the tragedy, with the facts he had.

I also appreciated that Marcus delved into both the American and British Inquiries. According to his book, the American Inquiry conducted by US Senator William Alden Smith (R-MI) was not received well in Great Britain as the liner was British operated and considered "British" even though technically the RMS Titanic was American owned via American businessman J.P. Morgan's International Marine Merchant, a conglomerate which owned several shipping companies, including the White Star Line and ironically, the Leyland Line, which ironically operated the S.S. Californian, Senator Smith's line of questioning was seen as a joke.

The author gives an interesting picture of the events of the British Inquiry. Titanic Second Officer Charles H. Lightoller, the highest ranking officer to survive the disaster, called it a "whitewashing." The way Marcus described it, it certainly was. What was the most interesting about it was how spectators reacted when certain witnesses came to testify. When the Duff Gordons testified, the audience was dressed up, as they were going to a day at Royal Ascot. It was a huge event. When it came to Captain Stanley Lord and the Officers of the S.S. Californian, the audience hung on every word.

Of course, the author obliterates Captain Lord in his book. That was predictable. However, the author also blames the Californian's wireless operator Cyril Evans for the "Californian Affair", all because he didn't put that fateful iceberg warning in a proper message format. Evans had sent the Titanic a message warning of ice, starting with, "Say, old man...." As most people know, Titanic operator Jack Phillips was busy working Cape Race and sending private messages that were backed up. Phillips replies rudely, "Shut up, Shut up. Keep Out. I'm working Cape Race." Evans never makes an attempt to resend and shuts down his equipment at 11:30 pm, Californian ATS. The author went on and on about how Evans was supposed to get permission from the captain to get a message and do all these things. I just think it was a bit much to blame the whole thing on Evans, just because Evans didn't put "MSG" on the ice warning. Evans should have, but he shouldn't take the blame.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Geoffrey Marcus' writing is easy to read and comprehend. The book is very interesting and I think this book will be good for Titanic Enthusiasts to enjoy.

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

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by Terri Bey

Traveling on a luxurious ocean liner like the RMS Titanic can be romantic. After all, there were 13 newlywed couples aboard the ill-fated liner. The most famous one was John Jacob Astor IV and his bride Madeleine, even though it was Astor's second marriage. There were other couples, such as Isidor and Ida Staus who were married for 40 years and were just returning from a luxurious trip in Europe. As I am writing my blog for the February Newsletter and since Valentine's day is in the month of February, I have decided to write about my favorite Titanic couple, Isador and Ida Straus.

Like most people who are familiar with the Titanic story know, Ida Straus was placed in Lifeboat 8 with her maid Ellen Bird and without her husband, Isador, to whom she was married for 40 years. Isidor refused to try for a lifeboat, stating, "I will not go before the other men." Ida stepped out of the lifeboat and decided to stay with her husband. Friends such as Colonel Archibald Gracie tried to convince Ida to get back in the lifeboat, but Ida said to her husband, "Where you go, I go." The couple stayed together and perished in the sinking. Isidor's body was recovered, but Ida's was not.

Isidor and Ida Straus are my favorite Titanic couple, mainly because of how devoted they were to one another, from their marriage in 1871 to their deaths on the RMS Titanic. The couple was almost never separated. They would go on great vacations together. Ida would usually join Isidor on his business trips. That is real devotion.

Their devotion to one another in life makes us understand Ida's decision to get out of Lifeboat 8 and stay with her husband, Isidor, even though we know they would die together. It is one of the most heartbreaking stories from the Titanic, but also, the most enduring and in a sense, romantic and loving. Ida could have saved herself, but she loved her dear Isidor so much that she couldn't leave him, even if it meant certain death. Isidor loved his wife that much that he respected his wife's decision and would die with her. The love the two had for one another was so strong that they wanted to be together until the end.

I love the Straus couple because they are the perfect example of true love.

Isidor and Ida Straus Scene from "A Night to Remember" (1958) Go to the 2:19 Mark:

Contact: Alydace@yahoo.com

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