Colonel Gracie's Account of the Sinking


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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
Hello all..
I was just wondering if anyone could tell me how rare is a copy of Colonel Archibald Gracie's book on the sinking? I have found a little bookstore right down the street from where I live and they have an entire section devoted to Titanic. They do have one copy and although I did not buy it at the time, I am considering going back for it as it's only listed as $6.00 Is this a rare book to get ahold of or is it pretty common? Thanks.. Sincerely, Melissa Kalson
 
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Trent Pheifer

Guest
Hey Melissa,

It all seems to depend on when the edition of the book was printed. If it is the 1997 edition, it seems to be very common..our library has 4 copies. But if it's the 1913 edition I would say it is pretty rare. Either way it is a nice book to have for your collection. And definitely worth the $6.00!!

-Trent
 
Jul 12, 2003
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Melissa...I agree with Trent....I have a copy and I think it is worth it...in fact, I am in the process of rereading it right now. Definitely go grab it!
 
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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
Thanks Trent and Deborah.. I am going to definitely go back and buy the book. Sincerely, Melissa
 
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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
I did finally get that Gracie copy and am reading it now. It is thought provoking and most definitely insightful and touching at the same time. Definitely worth the money. Sincerely, Melissa K.
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
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Dec 3, 2000
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
I have the 1985 edition of this book which I bought for a $1.00 at a local church book sale a few years ago. While I've only skimmed through it,(I have so many Titanic books to read!)
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it looks like a very interesting book.

Glad you're enjoying your copy Melissa.

Best regards,

Jason
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Melissa E. Kalson

Guest
Thanks Jason.. I definitely am enjoying it. Mine too is the 1985 edition and I got mine for $6.00 from a local bookstore down the street from my house. Sincerely, Melissa K.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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First edition of the book- 1913 ranges in the $350 range...
The maroon colured verion seems to be most common.
There was also a GREEN coloured Gracie in 1913, I assume a second printing, as its contains a post-sinking photo of Gracie on a beach the maroon version lacks...


tarn Stehanos
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Colonel Archibald Gracie, Censor?


Hi, all!

Has anybody ever commented on a glaring little discrepancy between Mrs. Ryerson's affidavit to the US Inquiry and Colonel Gracie's quotation from the same in "The Truth About the 'Titanic'"? I came across it quite by accident and I'm not sure whether or not it's old news.

The passage in question is in the paragraph that starts, "The ropes seemed to stick at one end and the boat tipped..." and what I see is a virtual rewrite by the good colonel, not only of Mrs. Ryerson's words, but of her intent. At first I was inclined to think that Gracie simply found her too verbose and that a little condensation might be in order. But after rereading his Chapter III, in which he went to great length to discredit the "break-in-two theory," I started wondering whether his tinkering might be the result of some editorial motive. In the excerpt below, Mrs. Ryerson mentions not only the break-up, but also the difficulties their lifeboat had in getting organized. You be the judge. (I should say that the rest of Gracie's excerpted text, though occasionally reformatted, holds fairly closely to Mrs. Ryerson's original.)

FIFTEENTH DAY
Friday, May 10
Washington, D.C.

Affidavit: Emily B. Ryerson
First-class passenger, from Philadelphia

"...In a few minutes after several other men not sailors came down the ropes over the davits and dropped into our boat. The order was given to pull away, then they rowed off - the sailors, the women, anyone - but made little progress; there was a confusion of orders; we rowed toward the stern, some one shouted something about a gangway, and no one seemed to know what to do. Barrels and chairs were being thrown overboard. Then suddenly, when we still seemed very near, we saw the ship was sinking rapidly. I was in the bow of the boat with my daughter and turned to see the great ship take a plunge toward the bow, the two forward funnels seemed to lean and then she seemed to break in half as if cut with a knife, and as the bow went under the lights went out; the stern stood up for several minutes, black against the stars, and then that, too, plunged down, and there was no sound for what seemed like hours, and then began the cries for help of people drowning all around us, which seemed to go on forever..."

Colonel Gracie’s edited version:

“Mrs. E. B. Ryerson’s affidavit (Am. Inq., p. 1107):

"...In a few minutes several other men, not sailors, came down the ropes over the davits and dropped into our boat. The order was given to pull away, and then they rowed off. Someone shouted something about a gangway, and no one seemed to know what to do. Barrels and chairs were being thrown overboard. As the bow of the ship went down the lights went out. The stern stood up for several minutes black against the stars and then the boat plunged down. Then began the cries for help of people drowning all around us, which seemed to go on forever..."

I'm a little surprised that Gracie provided a citation to the original document, since it surely invites comparison. But perhaps folks weren't dissecting every syllable so relentlessly back in '12 and '13?

Best wishes!

Roy
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Hi Roy,
I think the edit on Gracie's part was intentional. Like most other people at the time, he accepted the "knowledgeable" opinions of Titanic's surviving officers and White Star Line's engineering experts that the ship would not have broken in two. Gracie edited out Ryerson's breakup comments as he believed her to be in error on this subject.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Very interesting point, Roy - I'd never noticed that! (I tend to refer to the Inquiry transcripts rather than Gracie's excerpts of them). Have you gone through to see if there's any other selective editing on Gracie's part?

I think Gracie was not just acting on opinions of the surviving officers and engineering input, TMIB. His own observations made him strongly hold that view, and he used Lightoller's similar viewpoint about the lack of a breakup to bolster his own.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Just had an instantaneous thought: what if no copies exist and Lord was reffering frm memory or from other means?
That means that no copies exist/
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Whatever exists, I would very much like to read it. I would have to look for it. Gracie's account, whether true or false or controversial, is one of the predominant survivor accounts of the Titanic, along with Lightoller's, Bride's, Ismay's, and Beesley's.

Thanks, Paul! It's much appreciated.
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Feb 24, 2004
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G'day, Inger!

>>I tend to refer to the Inquiry transcripts rather than Gracie's excerpts of them.

I agree with you totally. But would you agree as well that it's been only in the past few years that access to the transcripts has become widely available? (Thank you, thank you, folks of the T.I.P.!!) Prior to that I'd had to rely on bits and pieces that some other author had deigned to excerpt.
>>Have you gone through to see if there's any other selective editing on Gracie's part?

No, not yet. My primary focus lately has been on my Harbeck project, and I compared Gracie's version of Mrs. Ryerson to the transcript simply on a whim. But now that I've tasted blood, so to speak, perhaps I'll take up the matter as a kind of "side dish." Just keep feeding me your stories about the Great Whites, eh? '-)

BTW, Inger, please refresh my memory. Where in Australia is your home? I have an Australian friend here who's curious.

Best wishes, my friend!

Roy
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Mark and Paul!

>>What a shame a transcript of Gracie's talk shortly before he died isn't in general circulation....

Right! So what's the bleedin' problem?? I feel the same way about the audio recording of Lightoller's BBC radio broadcast, which again, I've heard only in "bits and pieces."

Best wishes, guys!

Roy
 

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