May I lend this advice? Keep your TITANIC *salvage* opinions to yourself, should you choose to join/retain THS membership.
Yes folks, I could go into depth about the *greatest* of double standard which occured. It pertains to an entrusted TITANIC enthusiast,
a very well-known TITANIC historian, and the TITANIC Historical Society.
There is no need to stir up the soothing coals...I can live with the fact that an acceptance was granted because of ones' talent...but how do they live with T.H.emS.elves ? ? ?
They have some good pieces in the "Commutator", but I had to discontinue my membership with them because they were getting too pricy for my taste. And I was never comfortable with the fact that they replaced the headstone at Fred Fleet's gravesite with the one there now...basically, it's like saying, "This grave sponsored by the THS". Too showy.
I've thought a lot about the subject of the gravestones and think it really isn't a cut and dry thing. There are several different factors that mean different things where different survivors and victims are concerned. For instance, in the case of Fleet, he died destitute with no family and his grave lay unmarked for many years. Such an important figure in Titanic lore shouldn't have been left with an unmarked grave. While I also think its a little cheesy to add the name of the Titanic organization that placed the marker, I'd rather see SOMETHING marking Fleet's grave than nothing at all.
Quite different is the case of Milton Long. The family had placed the markers they wanted and as Milton was an only child, there were no family members left to object when changes/additions were made to the family stones.
There are cases like Mary Kelly (Mrs. J.J. Heslin) and even Nella Goldenberg, where the graves are unmarked yet there are many family members that could afford to place a headstone. If the families, for whatever reason, have decided not to do so, I can't imagine an organization doing so in good conscience. That decision should rest entirely with the family. If approached by an organization about placing one, the family should have complete say-so in what is inscribed on the stone.
There are others--Mrs. Wren in Canada, Nora Fleming in Pennsylvania, etc. that left no family and have no markers of any sort and weren't major figures in the Titanic saga. I'd think it a noble deed to place a marker at those graves, but again would hope they would simply give the vital information on the individual with perhaps an inscription saying "Titanic Survivor." Anything beyond that is showy and grandstanding.
Danielle, if you should still decide to join THS after reading the responses, you can do so for less than $100. A basic membership is only $50 which covers the cost of producing and shipping their fine magazine. While THS is considered the first and (in some people's eyes) probably the most prestigious, there are other fine organizations as well. Many here are members and contributors to other societies which also have their own fine magazines. THS sponsors many events and is currently raising money to build a bigger, permanent museum. The hierarchy of the organization is pro-Lord and anti-salvage and not very tolerant of opposing views, as has been hinted at here. I am pleased to be a member, but have had my share of problems as well. I won't discourage you from joining, as it could well be a marvelous experience for you and I would not like to deny you that opportunity. At least you will have access to purchasing some very nice books and mementos that are not elsewhere available except maybe on Ebay or Amazon occasionally.
Forget I mentioned it, I was not aware how unbeknowst you and Eric are on this anti salvage THS creed.
A particular individual who *loves all things TITANIC* was a member of THS. As this person's feelings on salvage changed, and an association with RMSTI developed...THS was quick to, in effect blacklist said individual.
Yet on the otherhand a prominent member of THS was later to become a *valued* participant with an expedition to the wreck headed by RMS TITANIC INC.
I'll leave you with that. Forgive the intrusion. Follow your minds interest.
Good post on gravemarkers Phil- it's always dicey to know what is best when no family is around. I was amazed at the total lack of interest displayed by some family members on some projects. Sometimes it is a matter of money or distance. Less on the stone is usually best. Generally the cemetery requires a family member's permission to place a stone. In the case of Marshall Drew, he was such a well-known figure in town, and his Titanic connection fairly a legend, it was easy to get permission without family waiver. Also knowing what Marshall himself wanted made the wording easy. I am just going through the process for Lusitania's Barbara Anderson's marker for her mother and brother and am so glad there is family around and someone to help on the other side of the pond-this was a dilemma of distance and not knowing where the burial spot was. I agree tombstones should never be advertising billboards. In a vast world of varying tastes, some have a better grasp of what constitutes "good taste" than others. From a historian's point of view- any marker is a Godsend for future generations. As far as the gnarly world of Titanic societies, we all know politics and intrigues and personalities exist in any diverse group but all of these societies have had very fine moments and have contributed to the vast pool of knowledge surrounding the ship. There are enough of them around to be able to pick and choose where we fit in comfortably. Although no longer a member of all of them, I still enjoy looking at the journals of all of them.