Remembering the dogs of the Titanic
Friday April 13th, 2012
This weekend, marks the 100-year anniversary of one of the most tragic – and certainly, most famous – shipwrecks in history.
Shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg and sank into the Atlantic Ocean during the early hours of April 15. Over 1,500 people lost their lives.
What many don’t know is that when the Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912, from Southampton, England, there were at least 12 dogs on board, all accompanying first-class passengers on the voyage to New York. Of those 12, only 3 survived.
Of the nine dogs that died, two belonged to William Ernest Carter, a leading coal industrialist from Philadelphia. Carter told his children, Lucy and Billy, that their Airedale Terrier and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel would be all right as the children boarded their lifeboat. Unfortunately, the dogs didn’t make it, and the family would later be compensated in an insurance settlement totaling $300.
One of the dogs that perished was the beloved Great Dane of first class passenger, Ann Elizabeth Isham. Isham begged the lifeboat captain to allow her to bring her dog on board, but her requests were denied because of the dog’s large size. Isham, distraught, refused to climb aboard the lifeboat, choosing instead to stay behind in the dog kennels with her best friend. Some reports suggest that a recovery vessel found Isham’s body days later, her frozen arms still grasping the dog she adored in a final hug.
“There is such a special bond between people and their pets," Edgette says. "For many, they are considered to be family members.”
Widener Titanic Exhibit runs through May 12, and Edgette is proud to be a part of an exhibit that includes the stories of Titanic’s canine passengers.
“I don’t think any Titanic exhibit has examined that relationship and recognized those loyal family pets that also lost their lives on the cruise,” Edgette says.
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