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RMS Atlantic steamship shipwreck disaster...

Item # 554905

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April 03, 1873

THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York, NY, April 3, 1873

* RMS Atlantic steamship shipwreck disaster
* Worst maritime human lost until 1904

This 8 page newspaper has a nice three column photo on the front page titled: "WRECK OF THE STEAM-SHIP ATLANTIC" which shows the area around Nova Scotia.

One column headlines also on the front page include:

* One Child Saved--List of the Survivors--Their Terrible Sufferings--Sad Scenes and Incidents
* Anxiety in England for Details of the Disaster
* The Saved
* The Lost

and more. Text of this disaster takes up the entire front page.

Nice for display.

Other news of the day inside with some advertisements.

Minor spine wear, otherwise in very nice condition.

wikipedia notes: On 20 March 1873 the Atlantic departed on her 19th voyage from Liverpool with 952 people onboard, of whom 835 were passengers. En route, the crew decided to make port at Halifax, Nova Scotia to replenish coal for the boilers.

During the approach to Halifax on the evening of March 31st the captain and 3rd officer were on the bridge until midnight, while the Atlantic made her way through a storm, proceeding at 12 knots (22 km/h) for Terence Bay, Nova Scotia, experiencing limited visibility and heavy seas. Unbeknownst to the crew or passengers, the Atlantic was approximately 12½ miles (20 km) off-course to the west of Halifax Harbour.

At 2:00 a.m. local time on 1 April 1873, the Atlantic struck an underwater rock called Marr's Head 50 metres from Meagher's Island, Nova Scotia. Lifeboats were lowered by the crew but were washed away as the ship began to sink, killing 562. The ship's manifest indicates there were 156 women and 189 children on board (including two who had been born during the voyage). All perished except for one boy, John Hindley. Every member of the crew survived, with a total survivor count of 390 people of the 952 aboard. This was the worst civilian loss of life in the Northern Atlantic until the wreck of Norge on Rockall on 28 June 1904. The Canadian government investigation was concluded with the statement, "the conduct of Captain Williams in the management of his ship during the twelve or fourteen hours preceding the disaster, was so gravely at variance with what ought to have been the conduct of a man placed in his responsible position".

Today, most of the ship still lies under fifteen to ninety feet of water.[citation needed] Artifacts recovered from several salvage operations are on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia and also at the SS Atlantic Heritage Park and Interpretation Center, in Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia.

After the wreck, as the bodies were recovered and prepared for burial, it was discovered that one of the crew members was actually a woman, between 20 and 25 years old. According to a newspaper account at the time, she "had served as a common sailor for three voyages, and her sex was never known until the body was washed ashore and prepared for burial. She is described as having been a great favorite with all her shipmates, and one of the crew, speaking of her, remarked: 'I didn't know Bill was a woman. He used to take his grog as regular as any of us, and was always begging or stealing tobacco. He was a good fellow, though, and I am sorry he was a woman.' It is said that the poor thing was an American, and, among the crew, perhaps the only one of that nationality."

A young doctor from Germany, Emil Christiansen, had been listed as dead in transcripts of the passenger lists sent to newspapers, but it appears he had survived. Apparently, Dr. Christiansen had survived the wreck with only a broken arm and left for the United States. It is believed that he did not speak very much English and did not know to report his status to the proper authorities. It is not known how he traveled to the United States, but it is known that he married in 1876 and had four children. A descendant of Dr. Christiansen had visited the SS Atlantic Heritage Park and Interpretation Centre and pointed out the error in the passenger list at the museum site. Also, the spelling of the name was different on the passenger list transcripts , possibly leading to some confusion; on various copies of the list, it had been sometimes spelled "Emile Christianson". Many names on the list were spelled phonetically; perhaps there are more cases of mistaken identity.

RMS Atlantic was the second liner commissioned by White Star (Oceanic being first) but carried the notoriety of being the first White Star Line steamer to sink. (The company had previously lost the clipper RMS Tayleur in Dublin Bay in 1854). Other White Star Line ships lost in the North Atlantic include SS Naronic, RMS Republic, and RMS Titanic.

Category: Post-Civil War