THOMAS HENRY ISMAY [Letter to the Editor]

To The Editor of The New York Times:

The death of Thomas Henry Ismay deserves more than a passing notice. In the extraordinary development of the commercial marine of Great Britain during the last quarter of a century he had been one of the leaders. What Spofford & Tileston and Grinnell & Minturn were in New York before the war, the firm of Ismay, Imrie & Co. has been in Liverpool, and he was its head. He did for the development of the ocean-carrying trade what Cornelius Vanderbilt and Thomas Scott did for the development of the railroad system of the United States. He was a man of a broad and liberal spirit, quick to see those points in great affairs that were vital, and skillful to provide for them. He realized the great extension of commerce that the development of civilization was producing. He perceived that whatever obstacles the policy of Governments might present to the growth of commerce on land, the sea was free, and was a necessary element in the transaction of the business of the nations. He saw how most advantageously this great work could be accomplished, and how most effectively the varied interests of business on land could be made tributary to it.

One of the most interesting points in his personal career and character is the care that he took for the men in his employ, and the thought he bestowed upon their training. When the Teutonic went to the naval review at Spithead in 1889, in addition to her ordinary crew she had on board a large number of boys from the Liverpool schoolships, in the success of which Mr. Ismay had been instrumental. Their discipline and nautical skill attracted universal attention. Turning from the beginning of the sailor's career to its end, Mr. Ismay gave time and thought, as well as liberal gifts, to the provision of a home in which the sailor could pass his declining years in comfort.

The work he did was lasting, and while his presence and personal oversight are taken from it, its quality was such that it will remain and grow, a lasting monument to the memory of one of the great captains of industry in our modern civilization.


Related Biographies:

Thomas Henry Ismay


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) THOMAS HENRY ISMAY [Letter to the Editor] (New York Times, Saturday 25th November 1899, ref: #3365, published 4 August 2004, generated 26th November 2020 12:51:15 PM); URL :