Boxhall Advertisement 1937


Jul 10, 2001
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hello all,
in 1937 this Cunard White Star advertisement appeared in some magazines ("Life", "National Geographic",...):

http://www.titanicmuseum.de/Page11041/Boxhall_1937/Boxhall-hp.JPG

I believe Cunard commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. Of course they did not mention it, but why did they show a portrait of "Senior Officer" Joseph Groves Boxhall and not of one of their Captains exactly right before the date (I only know of march issues)? Boxhall never lead a ship. I think, this was some kind of "understatement" advertising to commemorate the Titanic. What is your opinion? Just an coincidence?

Regards Henning
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
The advert indicates a senior and a junior officer keeping watch together, which was likely intended to showcase vigilance. I really doubt that Cunard was trying to commemorate the Titanic. For obvious reasons, shipping lines didn't like to draw attention to such things. (Sinkings are known to make passengers a tad nervous!)
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Dec 4, 2000
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The irony of this ad compared to the reality of Titanic's bridge is curious. On that night none of the junior officers were using binoculars or watching out for anything ahead of the ship. Yet, the ad echoes Boxhall's explanation of the difference between "keeping watch" and being "on watch." All-in-all, however, my bet is that the two officers were taken from a stock photo by an art director who knew virtually nothing of Boxhall's Titanic connection. To be able to understand any significance of this ad we would need to see it in context with the other ads of the Cunard White Star "campaign" of that year. Perhaps "on watch" was a common theme and Boxhall just happened to appear in an interesting photograph.

--David G. Brown
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Doubt very much if there was any attempt to subliminally commemorate the disaster (I've often wondered if those generating copy for the ad had the faintest inkling that the man shown 'On Watch' was 'on watch' during the most notorious peacetime maritime disaster).

There's a very similar photograph of a slightly older Boxhall on the bridge of a Cunard-WSL ship in the family collection - he was an impressive looking man, and looked very much the deep chested, clear eyed merchant navy officer.

~ Inger
 
Jul 10, 2001
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Hi again, indeed you all have convinced me that this 25-year-connection is just an coincidence. To David: As you I do believe that art directors probably knew nothing about Boxhall´s Titanic connection. On the other hand: probably the ads had to pass some kind of Cunard control before publishing and they should have known, didn´t they?
Indeed it is a strange thing to underline historical dimensions in this ad and show a prominent person of a historical disaster. I think, Cunard should kick off this art director (if he still is in job...
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Best regards Henning
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Henning -- You probably know many times more about Joseph Boxhall and his Titanic connection than the head of Cunard White Star's advertising department did at the time of the ad. Don't forget that 1937 was a full quarter century...and one World War...past Titanic. If anything, this advertisement is proof of how far from the public conciousness Titanic had sunk prior to the appearance of Walter Lord's ANTR.

Public memory of even major news events is fleeting. The person who approved the ad may not have been more than 6 or 8 years of age at the time of Titanic's foundering. His growing-up memories would have been filled with aeroplane dogfights and machine gun battles, not single ship disasters. How many people remember the names of the mate who was conning the Exxon Valdez? Or, the mate who had the bridge on Stockholm when it T-boned Andrea Doria?

The ad is chilling to anyone with knowledge of both Titanic and Boxhall...but in 1937 that was a very tiny group of people.

--David G. Brown
 
Jul 10, 2001
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ok, I agree, David. Probably the common interest grew more and more since Walter Lord and since the first dramatic movies entered the cinemas...

(Good arguments can change my opinion easier as some might believe - ask my friends
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Best regards Henning
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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This is fantastic. There is so much on this site, that I have only just found it. Is there any way to get a copy of this?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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They come up for sale fairly regularly on Ebay, Ian - I've bought a couple of copies of it (and paid a fairly extortionate amount the first time).
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Ian, I'll keep an eye out for a copy for you there (or elsewhere). Perhaps one of the dealers at the Convention will have a copy for sale.
 

Ian Bland

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May 31, 2009
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Hello Inger

Thank you. That's very kind of you. Perhaps I will find a copy in Southampton. I am happy to pay you for a copy if you find one.
Regards.
Ian
 

Chad Goodwin

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Aug 2, 2006
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I saw this ad today and couldn't for the life of me remember where I knew the name from.......I saw it in a 1937 National Geographic.......also saw a 1922 ad for Olympic and one for the new improved Mauritania.....now i have to go back to half price books
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