Ballard's initial artifact interest


Jan 29, 2001
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Just last night I was looking at my collection of TITANIC periodicals and came across the Fall 1985 TITANIC COMMUTATOR. Therin (Pg. 11) is a copy of a letter mailed to Lamar Elementary School (Students) by Dr. Ballard on Sept. 30, 1985. It is on WHOI stationary.

The third sentence reads (in part)..."You could also bring back to the surface and place in a museum the delicate objects which cover the ocean floor around TITANIC which might be taken by others who have less respect for this great and sad disaster".

Next paragraph (in part)..."and I am in favor of protecting those artifacts from would-be plunderers. If that involves bringing some of the artifacts to the surface to be placed in a museum, so be it".

Ballard closes with..."and I hope that you will read the National Geographic article I am now writing for their December issue". ('85)

So Dr. Ballard, it seems that your thoughts coinsided with many of ours here all along?

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

Spencer Knarr

Member
Jun 16, 2004
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Ballard recently gave a speech at my college.

Halfway in he went on an anti-Arnie Gellar rant but closed with "I wholly support the salvage of select artifacts if their caretakers - absent of greed - show them appropriate respect and share them with others."

Ballard always struck me as a bit of a media-whore anyway. Seems he'll say whatever the crowd before him wants to hear...as long as he can make himself look really cool while doing it. He's the rockstar of the marine archeology world and he knows it.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>Ballard always struck me as a bit of a media-whore anyway.<<

(((Ponders))) Perhaps but that doesn't really take away from what he accomplished.

Absent his team's discovery and photographing of the wreck, a lot of what followed in terms of forensics research would never have occured.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Yes Michael but it was a *TEAM* effort...Ralph White was a team member as was Nat'l Geo's Emory Kristof...both received no credit, albeit their names mentioned as crew members in the aforementioned TITANIC COMMUTATOR. Both gentlemen would return to the wreck, White with RMSTI/IFREMER and Kristof with KELDYSH/MIRS. Additionally, White would express this lack of acknowledgement on many a TITANIC documentary. Therefore you cannot blame Mr. White for exposing the correct Lat. & Long. to RMSTI/IFREMER.

Ballard wanted his "fade to black" view, as ALVIN departed the bow in '86, to be the "long last look" that any living being ever had of TITANIC.

My Father always instilled upon me..."Give credit where credit is due".

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Therefore you cannot blame Mr. White for exposing the correct Lat. & Long. to RMSTI/IFREMER.<<

(((Shrugs))) So the proper response to slight is spite, potentially at the expense of the ship herself? An interesting worldview that.
 
J

Jeff Kelley

Guest
I corresponded a couple times with Dr. Ballard back in the early days of Titanic discovery, and he was initially somewhat ambivalent on recovery, and later seemed to take a more definitive stand against it. His latest position may be just a grudging recognition of reality.

I am sure he has an ego that almost matches his accomplishments in size, but many leaders in their fields of expertise do. That is what got them to the top.
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Yes Jason, and Dr. MacInnis shared with us,
his expedition to film TITANIC in an IMAX format
via his wonderful book..."TITANIC IN A NEW LIGHT". I was taken aback with the high defined IMAX photograph of the ravaged stern pictured in the book. BTW, Emory Kristof also took part in that expedition, and was so kind to send me a photograph of the port-wing propellor!

Michael Cundiff
NV, USA
 

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