A Day To Remember: The Titanic’s 100th Anniversary

Yesterday was a day to remember that fateful night to remember: On April 15, 1912 the Titanic was swallowed up by the sea on its way to New York.

The first-class passanger list reads like a who’s who of America’s great family dynasties. One of them was Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy’s, and his wife Ida. A crowd of over 200 gathered yesterday at the small Upper West Side park named in their honor. Isidor gave up his spot on a lifeboat as there were still women and children on board the vessel, and his wife opted to remain at his side.

But the Titanic’s wealthiest passenger was John Jacob Astor IV (above, second from left), who built the St. Regis Hotel. Yesterday the Associated Press circulated this tribute.

Three days after the sinking the 700 surivivors landed in New York. The Chicago Tribune has a great article on the New York of then and now.

Wikipedia has this condensed list of the first-class passengers who were lost:

Some of the most prominent members of the American social elite made the trip: millionaire Colonel John Jacob Astor IV and his 18-year-old pregnant wife Madeleine, who were returning to the United States for their child’s birth; industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim; Macy’s department store owner Isidor Straus and his wife Ida; George Dennick Wick, founder and president of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company; streetcar magnate George Dunton Widener; Pennsylvania Railroad executive John Thayer; Charles Hays, president of Canada’s Grand Trunk Railway; Denver, William Ernest Carter and his wife Lucile Carter, millionaire and women’s rights activist Margaret Brown, American silent film actress Dorothy Gibson, and Buffalo architect Edward Austin Kent. President William Howard Taft’s military aide, Major Archibald Butt, was returning to resume his duties after a six-week trip to Europe.

Largely thanks to James Cameron’s 1997 film, the Titanic continues to fascinate, and not just in the US. The re-release of Cameron’s film in 3-D broke box office records in China last week.