What did first class passengers do during the crossing?


Jun 4, 2003
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Can anyone tell what the first class passengers were doing during the voyage? I do not only mean dining, entertaining, gymnasium, pool, squash etc. I mean the rest of the time in their suites and cabins: for instance, I am aware that much of their time was spent on dressing and undressing since -particularly for women- changing clothes many times during the day was considered "obligatory" (thank God they had their own maids and manservants with them!). Any comments? George ...
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

Reading, perhaps.

I have always been amazed at the time spent by passengers doing things that nowadays would take so little time. If I have a coffee after lunch, for instance, I don't spend two-and-a-half hours doing that like Mrs. Elizabeth Lines. That's most of the afternoon gone and explains where much of passengers' time went. Ah, the changes in social habits...an interesting history.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Jun 4, 2003
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Anything else on that matter? How did the first class servants spend their time? I do not think they were at work all the time, or were they? George ...
 

John Lynott

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Mar 31, 2000
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I reckon they spent a fair amount of time composing telegrams to be dispatched by the hard-pressed Marconi boys - the 1912 equivalent of our text messages and MMSs - to impress the folks back home.
 
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Tom Pappas

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John,

In my experience, the Very Rich do not much concern themselves with ostentatious display. Only the middle class feel compelled to exaggerate their situation through conspicuous consumption.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Feb 14, 2003
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One of the things I hear over and over when the question comes up is reading - it wasn't for nothing there was a first- and second-class library. That, straight socializing, and ladies changing their clothes an average of four time a day, (men at least changing for dinner as well) fill up a schedule rather quickly.

Also, Tom, please recall these were not the contemporary rich, who do not indulge in much display - these were the type of people who built places like Biltmore and the Newport, Rhode Island, "cottages" - they were very much into display, the more ostentatious the better.
 
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Tom Pappas

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The distinction I see isn't between contemporary rich and the Edwardians. Old Money is, and always was, spent lavishly, but never for display. Places like Newport and Laurel Canyon are nouveau riche writ large.
 

Lee Gilliland

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In that case, Tom, may I suggest you use the phrase "Old Money", if that is what you are speaking of? "The Very Rich" is a bit broader than you obviously intended.
 

Inger Sheil

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Feb 9, 1999
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Thought you meant the nouveau riche in your response, Tom - there's a continuity in those newly minted millionaires (many as a result of the age of industrialisation) and the 'New Rich' of today. The old guard could comfort themselves - as they do now - with observations on vulgar ostentation and the inability of money to buy taste or class. Difficult to generalise, as there are all sorts of categories among the very wealthy including those that indulge in excess to the point that the offended middle classes could start in horror at the decadent rich.

You're right about certain sections of the middle class feeling the need to display their financial security and indulge in acquisativeness with their disposable income. It's linked to their burning desire for 'respectability' and their craving to be thought of as genteel. Joan Lindsay paints a vivid portrait of this in her novel Picnic at Hanging Rock in the character of Reg, who abhors the thought of any scandal touching him and anything that might be considered outside the rigid social norms he embraces. If Reg's heart - like Queen Mary I's heart - could be exposed, the word written on it would not be 'Calais' but 'respectable'.

James Moody wrote of meeting one of the type of wealthy individuals you describe on his first visit to NY in 1904 - a 'van der Lind', whom I'm going to chance one of these days. Certainly not vulgarly ostentatious, and the name suggests he belonged to one of the blue blood old NY families. He verged on one of the other great sub-species of wealth...the elderly wealthy eccentric.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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You could try using Google to see what it get's you. I tried "Books, 1912, Bestsellers" and the search engine coughed up 521,000 links.

http://www.nowaffles.com/ Notes the following:

1)A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil by Jane Addams
2)Crowds by Gerald Stanley Lee
3)Laugh and Live by Douglas Fairbanks
4)With the Colors by Everard J. Appleton
and
5)The Seven Purposes, by Margaret Cameron

I didn't have time to go through all of it, but you may find http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g1epc/is_tov/ai_2419100114 to be useful.
 
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sashka pozzetti

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Thanks both :). I am rather intrigued to read 'an autobiography of an ex-coloured man" Does anyone know if there was an actual best-sellers list of any type at this time?
 
Dec 27, 2017
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Whilst they could if they insisted it was considered quite infra dig to go 'slumming it' (as it was known). No self respecting First Class passenger would have seriously considered it and why would they when they were is the best section of the ship? Also quarantine regulations issued by the American authorities specifically forbade mixing of Third Class outside their accommodation.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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No self respecting First Class passenger would have seriously considered it and why would they when they were is the best section of the ship? .
I don't know about that. IMO, by far the most interesting passengers on board the Titanic were in Second Class. Also, most of the First Class passengers would already be very familiar with the sort of amenities provided on board the Titanic and so it would not have surprised me one bit if a few wanted to 'rough it' a bit by mingling with the 'lower' classes and check out how the 'other side' lived. If allowed, Jack Thayer might have made a few acquaintances there.
 

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