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Rare Titanic Imagery That Powerfully Illustrates One Of History's Darkest Tragedies

Published 1 year ago on July 16, 2018
By Hugo

One of history's greatest tragedies, the sinking of the Titanic came to signify the drawing to a close of the British Empire and shocked the world at the time. Now, over 100 years later the incident still enthralls many, so much so that the tragedy has been immortalized into an Oscar-winning movie. 

Shutterstock/ Everett Historical Shutterstock/ Everett Historical

However, despite the constant interest, boosted in part by James Cameron's vision, most of the articles you read concerning "Titanic facts" are things we most likely already know so we've decided to list some lesser-known facts about the disaster- as well as some rare photos- that will hopefully make you learn something new about the tragedy. 

1. The American actress Dorothy Gibson was a Titanic survivor

Long before Hollywood promoted talking movies, silent actress Dorothy Gibson was one of the most famous actresses of her time, but few know she was also one of around 700 survivors on the ship. 

In fact, almost immediately after she arrived in New York City- having largely come out of the tragedy unscathed- Gibson filmed the silent movie, "Saved From the Titanic." It was the first of its kind to chronicle the fatal events. She even donned the same clothes she was wearing on the ship. However, the film has since been destroyed in a fire. Had it survived, it most likely would have been of great use to historians and directors such as James Cameron, who went onto direct the Oscar-winning movie about the sinking of Titanic. 

2. One passenger who died during the sinking was thought to be the wealthiest person in the world 

John Jacob Astor IV was one of many deaths aboard Titanic during its fatal collision with an iceberg- yet no one on board came close to matching his wealth. Not only was he the richest man on Titanic, but Astor was also thought to be the richest man in the world at the time of the tragedy. Accumulating a net worth of $150 million, that figure is roughly the equivalent of $3.5 billion in today's dollars.

Astor was on the ship after enjoying a honeymoon with his wife, though this was also an excuse for him to escape the societal gossip that engulfed him in his hometown in America after he divorced his previous wife after only two years, something that was almost unheard of in that period. 

Though Astor didn't survive, his body was recovered, where $2,440 was found in his pocket, roughly $60,000 in today's money.

3. It is thought some men dressed as women to get a place on one of the few rescue boats

Shutterstock/ Everett Historical

In James Cameron's acclaimed movie about the maritime disaster, one of the later scenes sees an officer insisting that only women and children could board the rescue boats. However, some accounts of the disaster wrote that many men got around this by dressing up as women. While this was never verified, rumors of this practice culminated in one surviving couple divorcing.

Dickinson and Helen Bishop divorced in 1916 after she claimed that he was a cruel husband with a drinking problem. However, there were also rumors that Dickinson took on the appearance of a woman to get a space on the rescue boat.

4. A second-class menu

While those lucky enough to experience all the luxuries of first class had an even greater selection of foods and amenities, second class passengers were hardly left to rot.

Indeed, for the burgeoning middle-class of 20th century Britain, a ticket on the Titanic wasn't out of reach, and for those that had a ticket, they were treated better than most second class passengers, as this tasty menu illustrates.

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