Unfinished NYC Titanic Memorial


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Trent Pheifer

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I found this article in the New York Times:

New York Times: June 4, 1912

TITANIC MONUMENT DIVIDES NOTED MEN

Gaynor Urges Permanent Work of Art for City in Three Hours’ Secret Conclave


New York’s Titanic Memorial Committee, which was recently appointed by Mayor Gaynor, dined at the Harvard Club last night and discussed for more that three hours plans for an appropriate tribute to the dead of the Titanic. Ralph Pulitzer acted as Chairman, and twenty of the thirty-two members of the committee, including Mayor Gaynor, attended.

Newspaper men were barred, and news of the diversity of opinions which were expressed reached them through one of the diners. Each man present engaged in this speechmaking, and one man, it was said, made as many as eighteen speeches in his endeavor to bring the others to his way of thinking.

In the end a motion that a permanent memorial to the Titanic’s dead should be erected in New York City was passed unanimously, and this motion was supplemented, by a second resolution that Mayor Gaynor should appoint a small executive committee from among the members of the general committee to draft a final plan for a memorial and to submit that plan to the general committee at a future meeting.

Mayor Gaynor was the first speaker. He favored the proposed memorial. He pointed out that in ancient times the acts of heroes were commemorated in lasting stone and bronze. Such permanent works of art, he said, were educations in themselves, and tended to inspire others to do heroic deeds. Near Utica, where he went to a country school in his boyhood days, there was the battlefield of Riskony, where one of the decisive battles of the French and Indian war had been fought. When he went to school, he said, he had not even heard of the battlefield, but later a man erected a monument on that field, and now everyone in the neighborhood knew all about the battle. Thus, he said, the brave acts of men and women in the Titanic catastrophe should be immortalized.

Joseph H. Choate was of the opinion that the committee ought to delay all actions relating to a decision on a memorial until after the conclusion of the British investigation. He voted, however, for the adoption of a resolution calling for the memorial.

Bishop Greer said that a great, lofty memorial ought to be built, one which would appeal to the imagination, and which would be distinctly artistic rather than utilitarian. Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler would also have a great monument, but regretted the fact that there were no poets living who could do justice to the inscription which such a monument should bear.

Henry Clews, it was said, came to the dinner with a rough sketch of a memorial which he had designed himself, depicting a large steamer and an iceberg. This with the other suggestions, was referred to the executive committee for consideration.

Edmund L. Baylies and Frank Damrosch urged co-operation with the Women’s dollar campaign for a National memorial. If the monument should be built in New York, Mr. Baylies said, it should not be in Central Park, but should take the form of a lighthouse far out in the bay.

Many others favored the lighthouse idea. Henry R. Towns, among others, suggested that it should be the largest lighthouse in the world, one which might be seen from the lower bay for fifty or seventy-five miles.


I was curious if anyone knew what became of the memorial committee? Did they end up just combining forces with the Women's Fund for the DC memorial? At first I thought it was the lighthouse for the Seamen's Institute, but that was not city funded. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

-Trent
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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Several of the men mentioned did wind up on the WTM, so I'll bet that's the answer. I always wondered why it was down here in D.C. rather than up in New York, which would have been far more appropriate.
 
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Trent Pheifer

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Hey Lee,

You are right, it would have made a lot more sense to have the memorial in New York. Thanks for the information about several of the men who joined the WTM. I guess we know why New York has no city memorial of its own. But I guess they have the lighthouse now. Thanks again.

-Trent
 
Apr 27, 2003
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A Point of Interest
With reference to Titanic memorials.
Some recent information has come in from both New York and Southampton and I have now listed 106 Memorials / graves etc., in New York and 106 in Southampton and the numbers promise to rise.

Regards - Brian - Southampton UK.
 
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Trent Pheifer

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Hey Brian,

Seems that there are new ones popping up all the time. Best of luck wiTH your continued research.

-Trent
 
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