Lest We Forget (The Lusitania)

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Dear Inger,
Thank you for your kind comments and support.
The wonderful feedback that we have received from you and the others has made the whole experience worthwhile.
Best wishes
Mike
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>As I said to Michael Standart, off board, I was pondering writing something utterly valueless and vapid for the soft news section ("Summer: Why We Like It" or the like)<<

Jim, it would certainly be understandable if you did just that. Tragedy on an up close and personal basis can burn anybody out. I absolutely look forward to more of the research that you and Mike have accomplished, but sooner or later, one needs to take a breather from it.

The catch is that once something like this latches on, it tends *not* to let go.
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Hi Mike,

While my Lusitania interest is still very much in it's infancy, I do find it cathartic to "jump ship" occasionally (from Titanic), and explore the poignant and fascinating stories associated with Lusitania's passengers.

The Gardner and Smith articles were perhaps the most impressive, both pictorially and in terms of content.

A pleasure to see Ing round these parts, too!
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hi Ben
Good to hear from you. I have to admit I was surprised when people who I didn't think were interested in the Lusitania had read the article and sent their best wishes. Jim and I continue to be grateful.

The Smith article was a particular favorite, as we didn't try and solve the mystery of what became of her until this year. I don't know why we put off looking for her, but finally we decided that it was time to try. We noticed that the Hickey book thanked Helen and JH Thomas and Jim and I had an inkling as to who it might be- so we checked birth and marriage records and made those confirmations. Then Paul Latimer found her death date and we confirmed the rest of the info. So that's the story on how we found Helen.

Thanks again for the support.
Mike
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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NEW FIND: The other night we won a beautiful photo album over on ebay which will form the core of the illustrations in our next article. It was kept by a gentleman who traveled to Australia via Europe beginning in May 1912 with a crossing aboard the Lusitania. The dealer scanned perhaps a dozen photos from that segment of the trip, and since there are 374 photos of all aspects the journey in the album we are curious to see those which were not scanned. There are also at least two views of the Olympic. We look forward to making these photos public ASAP.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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It came up the same day my Federal tax refund arrived, so we figured that it was meant to be....

There is a photo showing the captain on the bridge wing but it is hard to tell in the ebay scan if it is Captain Turner or Captain Dow.
 
N

Nicolas Roughol

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Hey Jim,

If you don't mind it, I'd very much appreciate those scans as well.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hello, Nicolas; I will send them to you as soon as I have them scanned. They were mailed from Australia on Tuesday with an estimated ten day travel time so I am looking at late next week.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Here is a small selection from Mr Sanders' album. He departed Sydney in early 1912 aboard the St. Albans, toured China and Japan and then crossed transpacific aboard the Empress of India. He traveled from Vancouver to NYC by way of Toronto, and from there sailed aboard the Lusitania in first class. Disembarked in Ireland, toured Dublin, traveled on to London before departing for home via Italy and the Suez Canal.
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Aboard the Lusitania, May 1912
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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There are several dozen liner photos in the album, but my principal reason for buying it was the selection of amazing Lusitania shots it contained. Mr Sanders had an excellent camera, and the large format photos are in razor-sharp focus.
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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It also contained several large format publicity photos, which Mr Sanders may have bought aboard Lusitania as souveniers.

In Portsmouth, while viewing the Victory, Sanders photographed a familiar liner about a month after the loss of her sister....
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Went into NYC this weekend for the first annual Queen Mary 2 January Maiden Voyage survivors' reunion at the Waldorf Astoria (yes, there really was one, with attendees from as far afield as Lancashire, Spain and Rhode Island) on Saturday night. Sunday, Mike and I met up with Mike Findlay and spent the day photographing various Titanic and Lusitania related sites, and taking an extended tour of Woodlawn Cemetery. Seen here is a new shot of the grave of Lusitania victim Amelia Macdona.....
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Woodlawn Cemetery is an extremely fun place to poke around. Spent some time trying to find my family plot, which is sandwiched between the graves of 'Sex Tigress' Murderer Ruth Snyder (executed 1928 and buried, unmarked, in her mother's plot under her maiden name) and songwriter Gus Edwards, but we never found it. Our plot is in the general vicinity of the Vivian Gordon body dump site (1931) and what was briefly NY's most notorious abandoned hot dog stand....

During the weeks following the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the truly enigmantic Dr Joseph Condon of the Bronx took it upon himself to place a classified ad in the Bronx Home News offering himself as a 'go-between' if the kidnap gang wanted to communicate with Charles and Anne Lindbergh. In an I'm-not-sure-if-this-is-on-the-level plot twist, the kidnapper took him up on the offer and sent him a note directing him to the failed refreshment stand in Van Courtland Park opposite the Jerome Avenue Gates to Woodlawn Cemetery. (Same area where the unfortunate Vivian Gordon was strangled- see the General Slocum Walking Tour thread for that story) At the stand he found a note, which directed him to the 233rd Street Jerome Avenue entrance. There, he met with the kidnapper, who talked with him through the fence from within Woodlawn Cemetery and assured him that the child was still alive (it wasn't).

When we went up to Northwest corner of the cemetery, I was appalled to see that the elaborate gates and gate posts had been removed and replaced with a garish modern structure, 'though a corner of the part of the fence through which Hauptmann spoke remains. I would have hated the ugly building under any circumstances, but found it particularly loathsome because it sits atop that site. Literally within a stone's throw of the kidnap negotiation scene, we were surprised to find.....
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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.....and quite by accident, spotted from within the car, the 1977 burial site of Lusitania survivor Josephine Brandell.
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Which I looked at, without actually seeing, every day of my college career as I walked to the subway- it is literally the second mausoleum inside the (now former) gate, just to the left, overlooking 233rd Street. It is clearly visible from the sidewalk. The structure apparently 'houses' only Josephine and is twice inscribed with the Annesley crest and motto- once over the door, and once on the obligatory stained glass window.
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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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We returned to Manhattan and an excellent dinner in the West Village, after which we swung by the former Gotham (now Peninsular) Hotel on Fifth Avenue, and paid respects to Lusitania victims Allan and Catherine Loney, and their survivor daughter, Virginia, who used the Gotham as their NYC residence.....
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.....and we also took time to recall the Gotham's most notorious incident. Back in the 1930s, a man appeared on one of the elaborate upper floor ledges, intent on suicide. Midtown traffic gridlocked, and remained gridlocked, as (reportedly) thousands watched the all day drama unfolding over Fifth Avenue. Police and members of the man's family attempted to talk him down, but late in the afternoon he jumped, crashing through the hotel's entrance awning. The plunge was captured in foot-by-foot detail by the assembled tabloid press which, with (seeming) glee ran the bloodier photos the following day. They are quite disturbing and still under copyright so I'll spare ET that.....