1961 World Book Encyclopedia


Dan Kappes

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Whenever I visit my 90 year old grandfather in Iowa, I browse through the set of World Books Encyclopedias he has from 1961. Walter Lord wrote a short article about the Titanic which is included in it. It features the Willy Stower drawing of the sinking. Here is a picture of the cover and the article:

ency cover.jpg


ency article.jpg

Here is a recreation of the article starting with the Stower drawing and its caption:

Stöwer Titanic.jpg


The "Unsinkable" Titanic was believed to be the safest ship afloat. It sank on its first voyage after striking an iceberg.

And here's the recreation of the full text in a quote box:

Titanic was a British steamer of the White Star Line. On the night of Apr. 14-15,1912, during its first trip from England to New York City, it struck an iceberg and sank. The tragedy occurred about 1600 miles northeast of New York City. The Titanic sighted the iceberg just before the crash, but too late to avoid it. Experts had considered the ship unsinkable, but the collision tore a 300-foot gash in its hull. The lifeboats had room for less than half of the approximately 2200 passengers and took on mostly women and children. The ship's band played on the sloping deck. The Titanic went down bow first about 2 1/2 hours after the crash. The Cunard liner Carpathia caught the SOS and raced 58 miles to the rescue. It picked up 705 survivors at dawn. The Titanic had been the largest ship in the world, 882.5 feet long, with a gross tonnage of 46,328. No one knows exactly how many lives were lost. The British inquiry reported 1490 dead, the British Board of Trade 1503, and the U.S., 1517.

Lord got everything right except the gash theory. His brief sentence mentioning the band playing seems like an afterthought.

I remember seeing the same article by Lord in the 1986 World Book edition, but it had a few books added under a Further Reading section, which of course included Lord's book A Night to Remember.

Obviously, the newer editions of World Book feature the Titanic article written by another person other than Lord and we now know more about the ship from the discovery of the wreck in 1985.
 
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I like going thru old books. Its interesting how historians write about history and you can clearly see their bias in thier writings for the times they lived in. Your grandfathers encylopedia's look like they are in really good shape. Nice. Yeah Walter Lord got the gash theory wrong but I believe thats what most people accepted untill Ballard prove otherwise. That was pretty much what I believed untill it was shown otherwise. I say most but not all because I think its pretty obvious Balllard didn't believe it as his strategery was to hunt for the debrie field and let that bring him to the ship. As I said I like reading older books and have been reading a book written in 1911. Its about the Empresses of Rome. You can tell it was written by a victorian era author. The way the author/historian describes those naughty roman women is kind of funny. I got that book from a website that is all about posting free e-books to download. Its the gutenberg.org site. The site has been mentioned in various threads here on this site. They have some Titanic books there. Not many but I did download Lawrence Beesley's book "The Loss of the Titanic" from there. Its a good site. Heres the link if anyones interested in it.
 
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Seumas

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That's a lovely book Dan :cool:

A few months back I saw a beautiful, pristine full set of the old Encyclopedia Britannica on the shelf at a second hand book shop I occasionally visit. The owner said they had been sitting there for years and he was thinking about tipping them in the paper recycling bin but a film company had just bought them as props and were due round later in the week to pick them up. What odd lives books can lead !

I like going thru old books. Its interesting how historians write about history and you can clearly see their bias in thier writings for the times they lived in. Your grandfathers encylopedia's look like they are in really good shape. Nice. Yeah Walter Lord got the gash theory wrong but I believe thats what most people accepted untill Ballard prove otherwise. That was pretty much what I believed untill it was shown otherwise. I say most but not all because I think its pretty obvious Balllard didn't believe it as his strategery was to hunt for the debrie field and let that bring him to the ship. As I said I like reading older books and have been reading a book written in 1911. Its about the Empresses of Rome. You can tell it was written by a victorian era author. The way the author/historian describes those naughty roman women is kind of funny. I got that book from a website that is all about posting free e-books to download. Its the gutenberg.org site. The site has been mentioned in various threads here on this site. They have some Titanic books there. Not many but I did download Lawrence Beesley's book "The Loss of the Titanic" from there. Its a good site. Heres the link if anyones interested in it.

Colonel Gracie, Charles Lightoller and Sir Arthur Rostron's books are also now public domain.

Talking about old books, my old high school's geography department was still using these old textbooks dating from the seventies when I attended and they were rather un-PC by today's standard. I remember the books had numerous passages about "national traits" about various countries inhabitants that would cause a few jaws to drop o_O
 
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Dan Kappes

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Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
Even the 2005 edition of Lord's Night to Remember featured the gash error on the original deck plans featured in the book.

And yes, I remember Ballard saying in an interview that he didn't really believe the gash theory because one of the Titanic's designers during the inquires said only 12 square feet of the hull was opened by the iceberg to the sea.

And another reason he looked for the debris field was that he also believed the survivors who said she broke in two; although most people thought she sank intact.
 

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