News from 1921: Retirement of Edwin Adams

Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Herald, 29 April 1921
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Edwin Adams Sent to Shipping Post in 1871, Will Sail To-morrow
Order to Return Home Comes as Surprise to Cashier of White Star Line

Edwin J. Adams was assigned by the Liverpool office of the White Star Line
in July, 1871, to a temporary job in this city incidental to the opening of
the line's transatlantic service. He arrived in the steamship Oceanic, one
of the giantesses of her day, although only 432 feet long, with four square
rigged masts, picturesquely suggestive of a combination of sail-steamship
when carrying canvas. Capt. Hyde Sparks, the first White Star agent in
America, came with Mr. Adams, who hoped to get back to Liverpool, his
birthplace, in a few months.

Somehow or other the main office overlooked Mr. Adams. Then it made him
cashier here. That was half a century ago. The other day he was surprised by
being told that he might go back to Liverpool at he would not be needed here
any more. So he is sailing to-morrow aboard the White Star liner Celtic to
see how the port of his boyhood looks after an absence of fifty years, and
more than fifty-six years' service with the White Star Line.

Mr. Adams said sadly, yesterday, that there surely had been a few little
changes since the old Oceanic brought him here. There came a mightier
Oceanic, sunk in the war, and now the White Star fleet has the mightiest
liner of all, the Majestic, formerly the Bismarck, about 53,000 tons bigger
than the first Oceanic.

The head of the Liverpool office fifty-one years ago will not be there when
Mr. Adams lands, so he cannot have the pleasure of saying, as he enters: "I
have the honor to report that I've just finished that little job you gave me
in 1871. What shall I do next?"

The answer of the manager's ghost will be: "Just take a little vacation for
the rest of your life at our expense." And that Is what Mr. Adams is going
to do.