The picture was a gift to my great grandfather Billy Tucker. He was 13 years old in 1912. Captain Wood of the SS Etonian sent him a letter and 2 images. The first is of course the iceberg and the second is of his ship running in a gail below an “approx 65 foot” wave.
The letter and the photos:
According to the letter the steam ship The Etonian went through the ice field 40 hours earlier in the daylight and avoided The Titanic’s fate. The photo was taken -of course – before The Titanic struck it.
Besides the fact that The Titanic is amazing, this is what I find interesting:
In 2012 “the only photograph” of the iceberg went up at auction. The photo was identical but in a larger format (9×8”) and inscribed differently. It refers to the iceberg as a “blueberg” (?). Also attributed to Capt Wood. I suppose that photo has been verified and I read that the shape of the iceberg is unusual and matches descriptions by the crew of The Titanic.
The date inscribed on the photo is wrong. It says The Titanic sank in 1913. This makes me think the photo was sent much later or maybe in 1913, and the date is a slip of the hand. (Maybe also like “Blueberg” on the auctioned photo)
I find it very compelling that the letter was sent from Pier 59 in Manhattan. (The “North River” – as written on the letter – was the Hudson’s navigational name). Pier 59 was to The Titanic’s destination, so it’s unlikely The Etonian would have berthed there. (This was White Star and Cunard Line’s Berth) Of course the photo would have taken time to develop and there is no reason to suppose it was sent immediately upon arrival in NY harbor.
Most interestingly, I think, the photo that was auctioned in 2012 once belonged to the Captain of a ship named The Narraganset. The Narraganset and The Etonian were both in nearby waters on the day that The Lusitania went down. According to my amateur google research, The Etonian was chased by a U -Boat and did not make a rescue effort.
This makes The Etonian party to two of the most famous an earth shattering navel misfortunes in the 20th Century.
Later The Etonian was sunk by a U boat.
Today I was eating lunch looking at the photo in my shop and I thought, “why don’t I know more about this?” I guess it’s been in my life for so long -as long as I remember- that I never bothered. I am glad I did today.
Today I am super pumped about at, and grateful to my great grandfather for saving it, my grandmother for framing it, and my mother for giving it to me. Tonight I showed my little boys the picture and read them the letter and they were mostly just scared that an iceberg could kill us, but one day, I’m sure they will love it.
Interested if anyone knows anything that could fill in some of the gaps-
LAZYTOWWWWWN: Wow. It’s hard to tell without something for scale, but it doesn’t look the part to take down the Titanic. Also, is that curved and jagged part at the top where the ship struck?