Unique Titanic letter from day of collision to be sold

A letter written by a Titanic survivor on board the Titanic on the day of the collision is to be auctioned...

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Unique Titanic letter from day of collision to be sold

R.M.S. TITANIC: The only known letter written on Titanic stationery on board on Sunday April 14th 1912 is to be sold at auction.

The letter is unique for being the only known example to have been written on the day the liner collided with an iceberg, resulting in the loss of over 1500 lives.

This unique piece, complete with its envelope embossed with the White Star Burgee, was written by Second Class passenger Esther Hart, the mother of the famous survivor Eva Hart, and it is featured in Eva Hart’s biography “Shadow of the Titanic”. She was travelling with her parents, Esther and Benjamin, a master builder, to Canada, where they were to start a new life.

Esther Hart letterEva describes the poignant events of April 14th in great detail in her biography...

“After our very satisfying lunch, the three of us went to the library for a rest for a short time before mother left us to go to bed. She took the opportunity to write a letter to her own mother back in Chadwell Heath. It was intended that the letter would stay with the ship to be delivered on its return journey. As it was, it was never mailed and survived the disaster with the two of us. “Writing on note paper embossed with the White Star Line flag and headed ‘On Board “Titanic”’ she makes it very clear that she was not enjoying the trip at all. She gave a very lucid picture of life on the ship through her worried eyes. That Sunday afternoon she wrote: “My Dear ones all, As you see it is Sunday afternoon and we are resting in the library after luncheon. I was very bad all day yesterday could not eat or drink and sick all the while, but today I have got over it. This morning Eva and I went to church and she was so pleased they sang “Oh God our help in ages past” that is her Hymn she sang so nicely. So she sang out loudly she is very bonny. She has had a nice ball and a box of toffee and a photo of this ship bought her today. Everybody takes notice of her through the Teddy Bear. There is to be a concert on board tomorrow night in aid of the Sailors’ Home and she is going to sing so am I. Well, the sailors say we have had a wonderful passage up to now. There has been no tempest, but God knows what it must be when there is one. This mighty expanse of water, no land in sight and the ship rolling from side to side is being wonderful. Tho they say this Ship does not roll on account of its size. Any how it rolls enough for me, I shall never forget it. It is very nice weather but awfully windy and cold. They say we may get into New York Tuesday night but we are really due early Wednesday morning, shall write as soon as we get there. This letter won’t leave the ship but will remain and come back to England where she is due again on the 26th. Where you see the letter all of a screw is where she rolls and shakes my arm. I am sending you on a menu to show you how we live. I shall be looking forward to a line from somebody to cheer me up a bit. I am always shutting my eyes and I see everything as I left it. I hope you are all quite well. Let this be an all round letter as I can’t write properly to all ‘till I can set my foot on shore again. We have met some nice people on board, Lucy, and so it has been nice so far. But oh the long, long days and nights. It’s the longest break I have ever spent in my life. I must close now with all our fondest love to all of you. From your loving Ess”. “Mother left enough space for me to add my own message written in my large immature letters saying:  “heaps of love and kisses to all from Eva”.

“Little did we think at the time that we would eventually bring the letter back to England ourselves. It was quite clear from the message that the journey was a terrible strain to her and she was worried all the time. There was no doubt that she needed her rest and sleep after writing it”. “It was late in the evening of Thursday 18th April 1912 before the heavily laden “Carpathia” berthed at the New York dockside. Thousands of onlookers had waited many hours to see the arrival of the small ship which had been responsible for the rescue. Everybody was very kind to us when we disembarked and despite the loss of all our money, passports and baggage, there were no undue delays in getting through the immigration control. My mother’s first action was to send a cable to her parents in England confirming that we had been rescued and that we had arrived safely in the U.S.A. The letter she had written that Sunday afternoon on the “Titanic” was never posted. She found it in the pocket of my father’s sheepskin lined coat after we had been rescued and for her it was to remain a constant reminder of that tragic journey and of the loss of her husband”.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge of Henry Aldridge and Son said "the importance of this legendary item cannot be overstated, being the only known surviving example of its type to have been written on that fateful day, surviving the sinking, and having belonged to such a well known survivor. The letter and envelope are in remarkable condition, with an impeccable provenance, and they represent a truly unique opportunity to own the finest example of its genre in existence. It is quite simply the jewel in the crown of Titanic manuscript ephemera."

The letter will form part of the next auction of Titanic and Ocean Liner memorabilia on 26th April. For further details visit www.henry-aldridge.co.uk.

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Acknowledgements

Photo courtesy of Henry Aldridge and Son

Citation

Encyclopedia Titanica (2014) Unique Titanic letter from day of collision to be sold (Titanic News, ref: #20066, published 31 March 2014, generated 2nd August 2021 02:35:15 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/unique-titanic-letter-from-day-of-collision-letter-to-be-sold.html