Stone's & Gibson's Secret Affidavits


Sep 20, 2000
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This takes the form of "the history OF the history". I'm curious: Leslie Reade alludes to the *public* dissemination of the secret statements of Stone and Gibson "almost 50 years" after the fact. (They were puportedly in circulation to Lord's supporters -- Foweraker, etc. -- almost immediately, yet Groves was reported to have been surprised at their existence 50 years later.)

The question is this: When and where exactly did these first become published documents, and in what form -- actual copies or transcripts? Reade seems to put their official appearance coincident with the MMSA publication in 1962 of "The Californian Incident -- an Echo of the Titanic Disaster". (Presumably this also contained Lord's 1959 affidavit and all other supporting exhibits.)

Provenance becomes an issue if this was the case, since Stone had already passed away before 1962, and Gibson died the following year.

So without intending to open a can of worms, can anyone affirm these circumstances, and perhaps more importantly point to subsequent publications of these documents in their original formats? The 1962 MMSA paper seems all but lost from the face of the earth.

Cheers,
John
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Some clarification to my previous post -- I've put the following out to Mark Taylor's list as well, in the hopes of a definitive response:

Can anyone here identify with some certainty the first published source of Captain Lord's 1959 Affidavit and Stone and Gibson's secret statements? Leslie Reade alludes to these being contained in the 1962 MMSA publication "The Californian Incident". (This is possibly subtitled "an Echo of the Titanic Disaster", I've discovered.) I'm also curious if this has ever been reprinted (or if it's reproducible), since that 1962 publication seems to have all but vanished. (The National Maritime Museum's library in Britain does have a copy, but it might as well be on the moon for my own ability to actually access it.)

I'm very curious about the timing of these releases, as well as their published format -- photocopy versus transcription. According to Reade (in "The Ship that Stood Still", 1993, Norton, NY), Groves died on September 4, 1961, yet he only became aware of the *existence* of Stone's and Gibson's sworn statements "almost 50 years" after the fact. Groves *was* approached during 1959 by Lord's proponents (in efforts to gather evidence in support of their cause), so I suppose Groves could have been made aware of those statements *outside* of their actual publication anytime from 1959 to '61. (They are referred to in Captain Lord's 1959 affidavit -- as published in 1962 at least, and reproduced in Reade -- as attached Exhibits E & F.)

There's also a possibility that Stone had already passed away *before* his affidavit was made public. Stone died some time in September 1959, according to Reade. Lord's affidavit is only dated 25 June, 1959, so it at least *seems* doubtful that any publication occurred before Stone's demise. Gibson died some time in 1963. (Cyril Evans, curiously, "died very suddenly in July 1959 of a coronary thrombosis" -- shortly after Lord's affidavit was written.)

All feedback will be greatly appreciated. I'd like very much to track this critter down.

Cheers,
John Feeney
 
Sep 20, 2000
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OK, let me simplify. Has anyone here ever *seen* Stone's and Gibson's secret affidavits -- not a transcription, mind you, but the original documents or complete and credible photocopies of same?

Cheers,
John
 

Tracy Smith

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Apr 20, 2012
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I've seen a photocopy of the first pages of both documents in the book "Hands Off the Titanic (and the Californian)". The purpose for their inclusion in this book was to analyze the handwriting of each man.

Unfortunately, I have not seen a photocopy of the entire document from either man.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Thanks, Tracy. That does help.

Did Monica O'Hara by any chance cite her source for those copies (assuming you still have access to the book)?

Cheers,
John
 

Tracy Smith

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She probably got it from Stanley Tutton Lord himself, Captain Lord's son, as she mentions visiting him in her book.

Stanley Tutton Lord died in late 1994, and most of Captain Lord's papers ended up in the Merseyside Maritime Museum, which I believe is in Liverpool. It would be my bet that this is where the originals are, if they still exist.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Tracy (and all): Should you ever want to reference them, it *looks* very much like Captain Lord's personal papers related to the Titanic disaster are now held in the Manuscript collections at the Caird Library of The National Maritime Museum (NMM), Greenwich: The National Maritime Museum - Greenwich, London

I've put some feelers out to them, which I'm hoping (at least) to hear back on relatively soon. The brief catalog entries for those (2 sets, actually) are:

SS Californian 1921(sic), papers referring to Titanic Disaster of 1912. MSS85/049

Captain Stanley Lord, papers referring to Titanic Disaster of 1912. MSS85/049


Cheers,
John
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Or perhaps that's three sets. There are actually *three* slightly different titles and Unique ID #'s listed at
NMM: CALIFORNIAN S.S 1921, Papers re TITANIC Disaster of 1912; MSS/85/049.0 LORD, Captain Stanley, Papers re TITANIC Disaster 1912; MSS/85/049.1 TITANIC, Papers re Captain Lord of the CALIFORNIAN, dated 1912; MSS/85/049.2
Cheers!
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I can confirm that some papers -- I think the 1963 petition for example -- *are* at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. From what I know, these are few. They run an enquiry service, shall I dig out the address for you in case other documents are still there?

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Mark:

Thanks! I have already contacted Merseyside as well, so I'm hoping between the two -- NMM and MMM -- this inquiry will bear fruit. Offer much appreciated, though.

Actually, I'm not positive I've hooked up with the right department -- just did a generic "Contact Us" email -- so if you should happen to run across that address, I would appreciate it. Many thanks!

If anyone's interested, I did receive an initial response from NMM. Apparently, though the catalog shows three different (decimalized) Unique ID Numbers, they all point to one folder. Most of the documents in that were said to be copies or transcriptions, though I haven't gotten specific affirmation of whether the 1912 "affidavits" are there, as copies or otherwise. Much of NMM's manuscript folder apparently consists of the various petitions and some supporting documents, along with an annotated copy of Harrison's book, "A Titanic Myth".

Cheers,
John
 
Jan 5, 2001
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}OOOpps... I've got the address (and phone and fax numbers) so I'll be e-mailing them. I have Erik's address, but not John's -- if you could send me an e-mail and then I'll reply with the address. That should be easiest.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Just following up on my priors, I received word today that the NMM manuscript file does not contain any of the original papers of Captain Lord or even photocopies of same. All documents therein are actually transcripts or copies thereof.

In a sense, as the researcher described it, those file names are a bit misleading, since, though they do deal with Captain Lord's case and the events surrounding the Titanic disaster of 1912, the contents of the NMM folder are truly more the papers of Leslie Harrison pertaining to the preparation of his book, "A Titanic Myth".

Alas (from my end), though this might well be useful information for someone else. But a very big thanks to the kind folks at the National Maritime Museum -- they were really quite helpful!

I'll just keep slogging on those other leads. :)

Cheers,
John
 

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