Miss Francatelli's Letter

May 12, 2005
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Hey, all,

One of the great disappointments of my research on Lucy Duff Gordon has been my failure to locate a copy of the letter Laura Francatelli wrote to her friend Marion Taylor (and a "Lucile" model along with Franks' sister Phyllis). Excerpts were published in Michael Davie's book "Titanic: The Death and Life of a Legend" and in "The 'It' Girls" by Meredith Etherington-Smith. However I've always wanted to read it in its entirety.

I know it was written on Ritz-Carlton letterhead and dated April 28. I have heard it is many pages long. Sotheby's, which sold it in '86,has told me that they did not make a facsimile of it. Walter Lord has a partial copy, sent him by the buyer, but thought as I wanted to see it all I should write the buyer directly, whose name is Robert McGuire and lives (or did) in Shoreham, Vermont. I did so but never received a reply. Walter told me to keep trying till the guy got fed up with me and finally sent me a copy (which I was perfectly willing to pay a virtual ransom for and still am!!!)But no such luck.

Has anyone else seen the original or else a full copy of the Francatelli letter? Does anyone know if Robert McGuire is still the owner? Walter Lord is sadly not in a condition to help anymore so I'm hoping someone else has a lead on the wherabouts of this letter or some advice before the trail gets too cold.

Should anybody have any information at all, please feel free to drop me a line at randy.bigham@gtemail.net.

Thanks

Randy
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Maybe a more feasible solution would be to track down Michael Davie? Provided he is still living.
He may have made a copy.
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Randy!

I have a transcript of the complete letter, but I'll have to get permission from someone before I can share it with you. (In any case, please bear in mind that I don't have the authority to grant you permission to publish the letter's text in your book; that permission will have to come from the letter's present owner.)

All my best,

George
 
May 12, 2005
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Thank you Michael and George,

George I quite understand that the owner of the letter may not wish it to be quoted from in its entirety and please assure him/her that I would actually not need or want to do that. What has been published from it already regarding the sinking is sufficient to me but if the letter touches on other points about Lucy, which I feel sure it must, I'd like to at least use the information.

So I do hope you can have this individual contact me or my agent Richard Workman (whose contact info I can give you privately). I can also provide references and contact info for some of Lucy's descendents if the person needs verification of the authenticity of my project. And of course I will be happy to credit the owner in the acknowledgements to the book, if they wish.

Well, I'll be in touch with you soon. I'm so happy to know the letter is not lost or stolen!!! And thanks for replying so quickly. Bless you!!!

Randy
 
May 12, 2005
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George,

I forgot to ask, if you get permission to share the letter, just how much am I going in debt here?!!! I said I'd pay a ransom so it's gonna be hard to bow out of it now. Name your price, old chap!!!

But seriously I do have many great photos of Lucy and Cosmo (including family pics out of scrapbooks, never published)which I could make copies of for you or share any Duff Gordon info you might want. I have more DG stuff than even I want to know about!!!

All my best,

Randy


Randy
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Randy,
As a knowledgeable gent concerning the Duff-Gordons, could you settle an argument? I say that there was a connection twixt them and the Gordon's Gin Distillery (though I can not remember how this information came into my head) whilst someone else says that there wasn't. Would be pleased to receive your comments - there is one heck of a lot of humble pie at risk here sir!
Geoff
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi Geoff,

The Duff Gordon sherry bodega was founded by William Gordon and James Duff, Sir Cosmo's great-great uncles, in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain in 1768. It is still in operation today and produces what is considered some of Europe's finest fortified wines (its range now extends to ports). The DG family bought out of it before Cosmo succeeded to the baronetcy at his cousin's death in 1896 but he later had shares in it.

On the Lady Duff Gordon Links thread here on ET you'll find a link to the European distributors for DG sherry, Jerez. Also on that thread are links to info on Maryculter House, Sir Cosmo's former family seat near Aberdeen, a 13th century hunting lodge situated on the River Dee, and now a first rate hotel.

I have never heard of any connection between the Duff Gordon sherry business and the Gordon's gin distillery. You have probably heard of the former and got it mixed up with the much more common Gordon's gin. Many other people have made this mistake so there's no reason for humble pie with your gin & tonic - or sherry!!!

All the best,

Randy

PS) If you should order any DG sherry (and you must as it is very nice)I can vouch for the "Delicate Pale Dry Fino." Sir Andrew Duff Gordon, the present baronet, recommends this and the "Nutty Flavor Medium Amontillado" as top of the line.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Randy, Many thanks for all this interesting information. I probably am mixing the two aspects up, looks like I'll have to use one or the other to wash down the humble pie!
Best wishes
Geoff
 
May 12, 2005
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Andrew,

Phillip Gowan is the one to be credited for tracing down the statistics on "Franks," as she was known,and in time he will be sharing that info along with the other great finds we're all indebted to him for.

Randy
 
D

Daniel Rosenshine

Guest
Ooh, I'm guess Phill found 'Franks' too! Can't wait! ....... D.
 
D

Daniel Rosenshine

Guest
Ooh, I'm guessing Phill found 'Franks' too! Can't wait! ....... D.
 

Joan Cui

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Aug 8, 2008
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I'm a Photo Researcher for a children's educational book publisher. We are currently working on a children's magazine and one of the stories in this magazine is about the wreck of the Titanic. We are interested in using Laura Mabel Francatelli's letter in this magazine. I heard that the letter had been sold to an American collector on 29/07/2007.

Does anyone have any contact information for the proud new owner of the letter? Or does anyone know anybody who might have the information? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My e-mail address is joan.cui@macmillaneducation.co.nz
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
From The Daily Mail:

'There was an awful rumbling, then screams and cries': Harrowing firsthand account of Titanic disaster published for first time
quote:

An astonishing eye-witness account of the sinking of the Titanic has been published for the first time - nearly 100 years after the disaster.
First-class passenger Laura Francatelli wrote of hearing an ‘awful rumbling’ after the world-famous liner hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912 - then the 'screams and cries’ of the 1,500 drowning passengers.
More at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1316804/Firsthand-account-Titanic-disaster-published-time.html

Comment: What makes this account interesting and maybe even useful is that it was a firsthand account submitted to the Mersey Wreck Commission as an affidavit.​