Rare photos depicting the rescue efforts after the sinking of the Titanic are set to go up for auction this week.
The photos are included in the scrapbook of New York socialite Louis M. Ogden, who was sailing to Europe with his wife Agatha in April 1912 when their ship got an emergency call from the Titanic, which had struck an iceberg and was sinking rapidly.
The Carpathia arrived at the scene at daybreak, where they started rescuing the survivors who had waited out the night in lifeboats.
Ogden, a lawyer, had bought a new camera for the trip, which was still a rare thing to own unless you were wealthy.
He took pictures of the rescue – showing lifeboats approaching the ship and being brought on deck – including lifeboat no. 6, which had the now famous Margaret Brown on board.
Mrs Brown was later nicknamed the Unsinkable Molly Brown for her courage in standing up to the sailor in charge of the boat, who refused to turn back to look for survivors in the water.
While Mrs Brown was unsuccessful in sparking a mutiny, she has been immortalized for her leadership and for pitching in to row.
Another picture taken by Ogden shows an iceberg on the horizon which he notes is the one that sunk the Titanic, though it’s unclear if he was correct.
Many of the pictures show an eerily barren sea, when most were expecting to see a mass of bodies.
Historical records of the rescue operation have painted the Ogdens in a good light, lending their clothing to survivors and serving hot coffee on the deck.
Archibald Gracie IV, a direct descendant of the Archibald Gracie who build Gracie Mansion, the New York City Mayor’s official residence, survived the sinking by climbing on top of an overturned lifeboat.
When he was rescued by the Carpathia, he found Ogden, an old friend on board. He wrote about the experience in his book about the disaster, The Truth About the Titanic.
‘I am particularly grateful to a number of kind people on the Carpathia who helped replenish my wardrobe, but especially to Mr Louis M. Ogden, a family connection and old friend. To Mrs Ogden and to Mr and Mrs Spedden, who were on the Titanic, and to their boy’s trained nurse, I am also grateful. They gave me hot cordials and hot coffee which soon warmed me up and dispersed the cold,’ Gracie wrote.
Mr Ogden died in 1946, and after that his wife moved to Florida.
While living in Florida she gifted a book about the Titanic to her ophthalmologist, which she annotated, and which he later shared with the Ocean Liner Museum.
In the book, she described how her husband was woken in the early morning by the sound of the lifeboats around 4:30am.
‘My husband also believed we were on fire, hearing the shocks of the lifeboats overhead and got me up and dressed. We were on deck when the first boat arrived. We had been told it was an accident to the Titanic but did not believe it until we saw the (White Star) insignia on the lifeboats,’ she wrote.
Ogden says she gave a first class woman, Mrs Lucile Carter, some of her clothes to wear on the three-day journey back to New York.
During that time, she says some of the Titanic’s wealthiest survivors were put up in the Captain’s quarters.
‘Mrs. Astor, Mrs. Thayer and Mrs. Widener, were put in the Captain’s quarters. I lent them clothes and took them flowers and fruit every day,’ Mrs Ogden said.
She later added that White Star Line chairman Bruce Ismay, who fled the ship on a lifeboat meant to be loading only women an children, kept to his cabin for the length of the journey.
When they returned to New York, the Titanic survivors disembarked. Twenty-four hours later, the Carpathia restarted its journey to Europe, and Mrs Ogden says only one original passenger decided to forgo the journey.
The Ogdens’ scrapbook is currently on the auction block through Remarkable Rarities. The sale concludes October 26 at 7pm.
Mr Ogden’s scrapbook includes 500 pictures with notations from his trips to Algiers, the Sahara, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Gibralter, Switzerland, Greece and Austria with his wife in 1911 and 1912.
But the focus for collectors will be the photos that show the Carpathia rescue.
‘It’s a tremendous archive of first generation photos that not only documents the harrowing rescue, but offers an unprecedented number of iceberg photographs,’ said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
‘Images of the two-peak Titanic iceberg are tremendously rare, and this a truly one-of-a-kind and museum-quality collection,’ added Livingston.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Ashley Collman