RMS Olympic: The early years

It's easy to start the story of Olympic by talking about a limousine pulling up in front of Downshire House. However this has been over-used in many books and articles. What can one say about the career of Titanic's sister-ship? A brief period…

Lest We Forget : The Coughlin Family

A beautiful spring day had brought together a band of people who wanted to honor the memory of a Titanic victim, Kate Buckley. Sitting under a tent, waiting for the service to start, Shelley Dziedzic began talking to a friendly-looking couple…

Lest We Forget : Albert Arthur Bestic

“To me she was my dream ship. I saw her first when in her regal beauty she sped along the surface of the Clyde upon her trials. My boyish heart went out to her in admiration.” That was Albert Arthur Bestic's first impression upon seeing…

The Price of Fame

Rose Ellen Murray, the Lusitania's Titanic SurvivorRose Ellen Murray, of Dublin and Philadelphia, became a minor celebrity after she survived the Lusitania disaster. However, her celebrity proved to be her undoing twenty years after the…

Lusitania : Final Voyage Folios

The Irish State recently acquired at auction some unique Lusitania items, including the original of the Saloon Berth List for the final, fatal voyage of May 1915.This contains first and second class cabin allocations, basic addresses, and…

Sky Cruise : A Flight on the Hindenburg

A unique photographic and documentary record of the tragic airship.Additional GalleriesHindenburgGraf ZepellinR100Family and friends awaiting the delayed arrival of the Hindenburg on her first crossing to the United…

Double Jeopardy - Lusitania's Unique Victim

The astonishing story of the woman whose body was twice claimed by the same German submarine.THEY pray for night, craving the hours of darkness, these passengers who dread the day.Long agonies on the exposed sea are behind them.…

Recalling the USS Indianapolis

I was in the water, I was swimming away from the ship in the dark... I heard the loudest, worst noise I'd ever heardInterview by Jim KalafusCleatus Lebow smiles easily. He is a friendly man, soft spoken, with a pleasant Texas inflection,…
At sea

The Cap Arcona

Perhaps the loveliest of the “forgotten” liners is Hamburg-Sudamerikanische’s Cap Arcona. She was conceived and built in the mid-1920s for service between Northern Europe and Argentina, a route every bit as prestigious as the better remembered…

The Public Be Damned: One Black Week in 1875 - The SS City of Waco

The Loss of the City of Waco, November, 1875.“If Mallory & Company, This Incompetent Inspector, and Three Careless Customs House Clerks Met The Same Doom Which They Prepared For Others, the Public Would Not Have Regretted It.” Part…

The Public Be Damned: One Black Week in 1875 - The SS Pacific

The dual tragedies of the Pacific and the City of Waco Part One : “You Placed Me in This Coffin; Cannot You Help Me Out?” The Pacific Tragedy of November, 1875 One of the more tiresome canards in liner lore, is that up until April 1912…
The General Slocum

The General Slocum

The General Slocum has been part of my life for as far back as I can remember.My great grandmother, Amelia, 20 in 1904, lived in Little Germany. She knew, or knew of, many of the principal players in the events of June 15, 1904 and as a…

Passport to Perdition

How an expired passport could have prevented an untimely death on the Lusitania.AN EXPIRED passport could have prevented the untimely expiry of a life on the Lusitania.But instead its holder, Thomas J. Silva, moved heaven and earth to…

Andrea Doria : The Sinking of the Unsinkable

As with the “unsinkable” Titanic, there is tragic irony in the “unsinkable” Andrea Doria account. We all know too well what caused the demise of the former: the hull breached by the ripping damage of a gigantic iceberg. But how and why did a newer ship, sailing warm waters and built to withstand a powerful impact, meet its end?

The Art and Architecture of the Nieuw Amsterdam

The Nieuw Amsterdam, of all the Depression era ships of state, led a charmed existence. Introduced in recessionary 1938, her pre-war service life consisted of a single brilliant year and can be seen as the final elegant flourish of the golden…

My God the boat is leaving us!

Lamport and Holt Line’s Vestris sailed from Hoboken, New Jersey, on the afternoon of  Saturday, November 10, 1928, bound for Barbados and South American ports. She carried 129 passengers in three classes, and a crew of 199. Sunday morning,…

The Unlucky Statendam

If the Nieuw Amsterdam can be considered Holland-America Line’s most fortunate vessel, then her pre-war running mate, the Statendam of 1929, is in the running for the title of least.Work began on the Statendam in 1921, but her origins…

Ceramic : The Sole Survivor

By 1942, the White Star Line had merged with Cunard, and many of its ships had been sold off or sent to the scrapyard. Among the former was Ceramic, launched in 1913 and for many years the largest vessel in White Star Star’s Australian service.…

The Loss of the Princess Sophia

The worst wreck, in terms of verifiable fatalities, on the North American west coast. Canadian Pacific's liner Princess Sophia is seen off Taku Glacier in this 1913 photograph. The Princess Sophia, a 245 foot long vessel of 2320 tons, holds…

Description of a Cork Waistcoat

Mr Dubourg a gentleman very fond of swimming, but subject to the cramp, was led to consider of some contrivance to secure to himself the pleasure of that exercise, without danger.  For this purpose he has invented a cork waistcoat, composed…

Morro Castle : The Victims

What follows is the most complete listing of Morro Castle victims we have been able to assemble. Those who were never found are listed in Italic. There are more than the official 134 names on this list, because in many cases passengers and crew…

Morro Castle : Mexico Cruise Brochure

Morro Castle cruise brochure and a similar cover post-disaster for the Oriente.

Solid flame from bow to stern

AN EARLIER MOHAWK DISASTEROn January 2, 1925, Clyde Line's original Mohawk was destroyed by fire at the height of a once-in-a-decade storm off the New Jersey coast . The crew battled overwhelming odds to contain the fire long enough for…

Morro Castle, Mohawk and the End of the Ward Line : Part 5

Jim Kalafus concludes his account of the Morro Castle disaster and how it led to the rapid demise of the Ward Line.The end of the LineOriente at Havana The Oriente had her first brush with notoriety in 1935, but compared to those that…

Morro Castle, Mohawk and the end of the Ward Line : Part 4

In part 4 of his epic history Jim Kalafus tells the story of another unlucky Ward Line ship. the Mohawk.Interlude In January 1935, as salvage crews worked to remove the Morro Castle from the beach at Asbury Park, the Ward Line's Havana…