Adventures of an Information Addict


Karyn Gerhard is a senior editor at Alpha Books and an information addict looking for an adventure. This blog documents her explorations into of all those dusty corners of human culture that no one has bothered to clean in years.

Today’s Obsession: The Titanic

I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that.—Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic

One hundred years ago today, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on its maiden voyage to New York; this weekend will mark the 100th anniversary of that tragic night when the Ship of Dreams went down. In the past few weeks I have become a Titanic junkie—obsessively reading about how she was built, learning about crash, poring over pictures, listening to survivor stories, and researching the stories of the passengers and crew. I found out that what I thought I knew about the Titanic was only a drop in the ocean. Here’s just some of what I found.

Exploring the Rise and Fall

Ever since it was discovered in 1985, the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor has been a sensation. This being the anniversary year, the bright light is being shown once again on the remnants of the ship, and new technology is allowing us to see it in even greater depth.

The Press

In honor of the anniversary, newspapers and magazines have been culling their archives for Titanic items, and what they have found is impressive, to say the least. Seeing how the entire tragedy played out in the papers—from the first reports saying that the ship was hit but was fine, to the final inquests—is absolutely fascinating. Here are a few of those collections:

The Passengers and Crew

As much as I love looking at images of the wreck and the artifacts found, it is the stories of the people that truly holds my fascination. Listening to survivor accounts and reading the biographies of the people who perished, both passengers and crew—that is what really brings the Titanic story home to me. There is some truly amazing material to be found.

Survivor Accounts

The stories told by the survivors are just unbelievable. Some, told right after the ship sank, are raw and horrifying; others told when the survivors were much older paint a more nostalgic picture. But they are totally engrossing. Here are just a handful:

The Food

The Exhibitions and Celebrations

It seems strange to use the word “celebrations” when talking about such a tragic event, but there are indeed celebrations happening all over the world commemorating the Titanic’s voyage. There are also some pretty amazing exhibitions being mounted in honor of the anniversary. Here are just a few.



All of this is just—dare I say it?—the tip of the iceberg. With more websites, apps, and articles being posted daily, it certainly does seem that the fascination with Titanic will go on. And on.

The only existing footage of the Titanic

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