Friday, April 20, 2012

The Last Days of the Titanic: Photographs and Mementos of the Tragic Maiden Voyage by E.E. O'Donnell

The cover shows the last photo of Captain Smith.
The Last Days of the Titanic: Photographs and Mementos of the Tragic Maiden Voyage by E.E. O'Donnell
The Last Days of the Titanic takes in the full sweep of the liner's celebrated departure from England and Ireland, from boarding the special Titanic rail car at Waterloo Station, to port activity at Queenstown, and ultimately to final photographs of the ship as it disappeared from view off the coast of Ireland. A photo essay by Browne, titled "The Day a Liner Sailed," chronicles the bustling life of of an Irish seaport, and includes snapshots of illegal traders, packets transferring passengers, mail bound for America being loaded into holds, and authorized Irish vendors selling their wares aboard ship. Father Browne's own Titanic Album, assembled as a commemorative gesture in 1920, portrays crews and passengers at work and play, and contains such rare interior shots as a typical state room, the dining room, gymnasium, and a "reading and writing room." Hauntingly, the book also features the last photograph taken of Captain Smith, looking ominously down at Lifeboat Number two as a tender delivered passengers to Queenstown.
Unique mementos, such as Titanic brochures, menus, and floorplans are further supplemented by ephemera from the Olympic, the Titanic's sister ship and near duplicate. By way of conclusion, The Last Days of the Titanic chronicles the evolution of the tragedy as it was reported in Ireland and England, from the first desperate telegrams to scenes of Queenstwon in mourning, flags at half-mast over deserted quays.
The only reason I rushed out and got this book is because I have heard lots about Father Browne and his historical pictures, but I have never actually seen them all before in one place. They pop up in other books all the time and are easily found around the internet. Here is a small section of the pictures, but if you want to see more I suggest locating a copy of this very interesting book.
This is what the book looked like when Browne put his own copy together.
Bridge of the Olympic. No pictures of the Titanic bridge exist.
Inspection of the Life Jackets. The Titanic did not have a lifeboat drill like it was expected to on April 14. As a result no one really knew what they were doing and many people didn't even know where to find their life jackets.
Passengers Waiting to Board
Titanic Swimming Pool
Third Class Getting Settled
The first, and last, Titanic Special.
One of the last photos of the Titanic ever taken.


  1. I am not a big fan of the Titanic but will have to look for this book at the library. As a serial cruiser, I enjoy looking at photos of the ships.

  2. I will have to check out this book. Thanks.

  3. The last image, showing the small lifeboat being rowed by men with the big ship in the BG, is OLYMPIC, not Titanic.