Unhappy Anniversary: The Sinking of the Unsinkable Titanic


ANew CGI of How Titanic Sank / Titanc 100, courtesy of National Geographic

At 2:20am on this date in 1912, the unthinkable happened. The “unsinkable” British ocean liner Titanic collided with an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank to the bottom of the icy North Atlantic within 2½ hours, with enormous loss of life. Only some 700 of the 2,200 passengers and crew aboard the ship were rescued.


The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Thomas C. Ragan

The massive ship (882 feet long from stem to stern, and weighing 46,000 tons), was designed to be unsinkable since 4 of its 6 “watertight” compartments could be flooded without the ship losing its buoyancy. Because of this, a fateful decision had left the ship with only enough lifeboats to accommodate 1,178 souls.


The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Thomas C. Ragan

While The Wolfsonian–FIU Library holds one of the largest collections of ocean liner and cruise ship promotional materials in a public institution, there was virtually nothing in our collection dealing specifically with the Titanic disaster. A generous donation of materials by Wolfsonian supporter and ocean liner aficionado Thomas Ragan has since remedied that lacunae, and our library can now boast more than 260 rare and reference books, plus ephemera, relating to the great ship.


The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Thomas C. Ragan

Several of the rare books he donated were featured in a recent Wolfsonian exhibition, Margin of Error, which looked at the unintended disastrous consequences resulting from the adoption of new technologies.


The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Thomas C. Ragan

Mr. Ragan’s gift even includes an inflatable, motorized ship and iceberg, a children’s book from the point of view of a stuffed bear, and a book about the disaster written from the perspective of the iceberg!




The Wolfsonian–FIU, Gift of Thomas C. Ragan


~ by "The Chief" on April 15, 2017.

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