Story of the Wreck of the Titanic


TITLE: Story of the Wreck of the Titanic also known as The Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic

Book Cover

PRINTER: None listed
PUBLISHER: None listed
PLACE OF PUBLICATION: None listed on the copy of the book I consulted but other editions of this book were published in both Chicago and St. Louis.
AUTHOR: Marshall Everett
TITLE PAGE: Yes. It is attached.

Title Page

It was very difficult to find information concerning the publisher of this book and its author. There is no publisher listed on the book’s cover, the book’s spine or anywhere within the book itself. The book I used for reference is a copy that I bought approximately thirty years ago. It has “memorial edition” on the cover in the lower right and appears to be missing a few pages prior to the title page. I didn’t find the fact that a publisher isn’t listed unusual until I began investigating the book in more detail. The editor of the book is a man named Marshall Everett who is referred to on the title page as The Great Descriptive Writer. It states on the copyright page that the book is copyrighted “1912 by L. H. Walter.”

I relentlessly looked online for any information about The Great Descriptive Writer Marshall Everett or Everett Marshall because both of his names could either be a first name or a last name. I found nothing. I looked through online databases centered around both authors and journalists but came to the same signpost at the end of my search, which was a dead-end, because I found nothing going that route either. It was difficult for me to believe that there wasn’t information about this particular writer, who wrote about a major world event, within the last century and who was referred to as the great descriptive writer. Since I couldn’t find anything on my own I decided to consult with the librarians at my place of employment.

The librarians were unable to find any information on Marshall Everett or the publisher so I suggested a “subject search” regarding books that dealt with authors who only wrote one book or publishers that only published one book. While this line of investigation uncovered many authors who only published one book (Margaret Mitchell; Gone with the Wind and Harper Lee; To Kill a Mockingbird are examples) even with the aid of an experienced librarian I was unable to find any information about Marshall Everett but I was still not deterred. I continued to search and eventually found an article in the Toronto Star that answered my questions.

Marshall Everett is a pseudonym. It’s not known at this juncture who the person behind that name was (or is) but according to the Toronto Star he was probably a journalist. Author Steven Biel who wrote the book, Down With the Old Canoe, said Marshall Everett was probably a “hack journalist.”

Because the book was produced quickly and rushed into publication to cash in on the public’s appetite for news of the disaster it was stated in the Star article that a number of sources were used and many of those sources were used without attribution. The author of the Toronto Star article, Greg Quill, says, “…it was thrown together by hacks – probably newspaper reporters, pilfering from news dispatches, magazines and other legitimate sources – and rushed into print before the establishment later in 1912 of a universal copyright law protecting writers and original texts.” (Quinn, 1998)

The fact that there is no publisher stated on this edition of the book or any of the other editions of the book that have been referenced by others may indicate that this was deliberately done to avoid paying royalties to the owners of the original material and to skirt the law. In the copy of the edition the Toronto Star examined there is an introduction by the Rev. Henry Van Dyke of Princeton, NJ. [This introduction is not in the copy of the book that I have but that introduction could have been in the few missing pages prior to the title page that I mentioned earlier.] Of the participants who created this book only Van Dyke is traceable to a life and career outside of this work. Van Dyke was an academic at Princeton.

Marshall Everett, Henry Neil and Thomas H. Russell are all listed as the editors of this book in the various editions that have surfaced which, according to the Star, are almost identical books. L.H. Walters and L.T. Myers are the copyright holders for the various editions produced in cities throughout the United States but even in the cities where these books were produced no information has been unearthed regarding Walters or Myers. Quill states at the end of his article that the book was probably sold via mail order subscription, through advertisements in the back of popular magazines of the day, or by door-to-door salesmen.


One of the aspects of the Titanic mythology that I find fascinating is the role that gender plays in how the story is recounted and how the women’s movement was pulled into the Titanic story by those who wanted to deny women the right to vote. In 1912 the suffragette movement had been working for approximately fifty years to gain the vote for women. Women would ultimately achieve their goal in 1920 but in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic and the call for “women and children first” suffragettes had to deal with the prevailing concept that more women would have perished if it were not for the nobility of men.

Newspapers were filled with illustrations regarding the gentlemanly behavior of the first class male passengers during the Titanic disaster. In the illustrations that follow, even when men are not present in the illustrations, they are depicted as noble while the women are seen as the recipients of their largeness.

Tragedy of the Titanic

Spirit of Heroism

Grieve Not, The Spirit of Manhood Still Lives

What happened on board the Titanic in its final hours and what the Titanic’s sinking reinforced as a result of those final hours were gender roles that encouraged the ideas that there is a weaker sex and a stronger sex; that men are independent and women are dependent; that one gender relies on intellect and the other gender relies on emotion. The reinforcement of these gender roles certainly weren’t advantageous to the suffragette movement.

By 1912 nine states had granted women the right to vote. Those states and the year they granted women the right to vote were: Wyoming (1869), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Kansas (1912) and Oregon (1912). Yet suffragettes did not want a patchwork of state legislatures agreeing to their demands for equal voting rights rather they wanted a federal law that was uniform and would ensure comprehensive voting rights. Women were working toward this goal when the Titanic sank. The sinking came branded with the constant shouts of “women and children first” which is a phrase that is still recognized today and one that is specifically tied to this disaster which happened almost 100 years ago.

Author Biel brings up numerous issues regarding the reported acts of stoicism and bravery by the first class male passengers. Biel contends that it might not be heroism or chivalry that was witnessed and reported on April 15, 1912 but possibly a bit of complacency tinged with indifference instead. It’s a well-known fact that the Titanic was thought to be unsinkable and it is therefore reasonable to assume that none of the men in the first class cabins would have imagined the ship would sink that evening. Most individuals at the beginning of the dilemma had a “wait and see” attitude regarding abandoning ship and in countless news reports, books, documentaries and motion pictures over the past 100 years readers and audiences have become aware that the first lifeboats left the Titanic half full.

Would men have behaved differently if they knew in advance that there weren’t enough lifeboats to save all onboard? Would more men have perverted their identities and dressed as women to stay alive; to find a seat on a lifeboat if they knew the true facts of the lifeboat situation? In 21st century society it’s difficult for me to believe that men would consider others (including women) before themselves but it is not difficult for me to believe that in 1912 educated men from the upper crusts of society would see themselves as the expected guardians and rulers of women.

The anti-suffragettes (the Anti’s) claimed in the first decade of the 20th century that suffragettes and feminism would knock women off their pedestals.

In 1913, a year after the Titanic’s sinking, suffragette Alice Paul led a march in Washington that coincided with Woodrow Wilson’s presidential inauguration. It attracted 8,000 suffragette participants but unfortunately the event turned violent when some of the male spectators first verbally attacked the suffragettes and then physically attacked them. The D.C. Police did nothing to curb the attacks. Suffragette women faced a very hostile environment as they pursued the right to vote. Alice Paul had spent the years between 1907 and 1910 in England for the stated purpose of studying social work (she had received a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907) but while in England she came under the tutelage of the militant suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst (a mother and daughter team). The Pankhursts were radical believers in the suffragette movement who lived under a strict code that was anchored by the three word phrase, “Deeds not words.” The Pankhursts chose not to abide by social convention and wanted nothing to do with petitions or demure persuasion in their fight for equality. The Pankhursts were social agitators whose bag of tricks included heckling, rock throwing and window smashing. Emmeline Pankhurst referred to herself as a “Hooligan” woman and a suffragette. Alice Paul joined up with the Pankhursts and proudly and boastfully stated later in life that she broke over forty-eight windows in her fight for equality.

(Below) Tearing off the bonds by Lou Rogers and “Hooligan” woman and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Tearing off the Bonds

Emmeline Pankhurst “Hooligan” woman and suffragette

Emmeline Pankhurst spoke to a standing room only crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1909. She spoke that night about what it would take to win the vote in England.

“I do not think I should have come to see you this fall if I had not been invited by the League of Self-Supporting Women, but I know what it is to be a self-supporting woman without a vote. I know you have not all come here tonight because you are interested in suffrage. You have come to see what a militant suffragette looks like and to see what a Hooligan woman is like. But I thank you all, and I know you will come to other meetings when I am gone. I am not going to tell you why we need the vote but how we are going to get it.

It is by going to prison, rather than by any arguments we have employed that we have won the support of the English working man, and it is by going to prison that we will eventually win over all England…” (Frost-Knappman & Cullen-Dupont, 2005).

In was in a climate of hostility, agitation, arrests and hunger strikes that women fought for the right to vote. It was in this climate too that the Titanic sank so it is not surprising that when the call for Women and Children First was yelled out on the decks of the Titanic that those same words were used against women’s suffrage.

The National Association Opposed to Suffrage stated the following:
In the story that came up from the sea there are many lessons. One of these lessons is that when the final crash came men and women alike were unanimous in making the sex distinction. It was not a question of “Voters first,” but the cry all over the ship was “Women first!” In acquiescing to that cry the women admitted they were not fitted for men’s tasks. They did not think in the boasted equality in all things. This is not an implication that the women were inferior, it just shows an inequality or a difference.
Much has been spoken and written by thinkers on this phase of the disaster and its influence on the eternal cry of some women to be allowed to take up the activities and responsibilities that belong to man just as woman’s responsibilities belong to woman. The disaster tends in its terribly grim way to point out the everlasting “difference” of the sexes.” (Biel, 1996)

A St. Louis man was even more blunt about the lessons and uses of the disaster. He said, “I suggest, henceforth, when a woman talks woman’s rights, she be answered with the word Titanic, nothing more – just Titanic.” (Biel, 1996)

Three times, beginning in 1918, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the suffrage amendment but the amendment failed to pass the Senate the first two times. Finally, on the third Senate vote, in August of 1920, it finally passed and women were granted the right to vote.


Incipit: “As the Titanic drew away from the wharf to begin her only voyage, a common emotion quickened the thousands who were aboard her.”

Explicit: “The bodies were all tenderly and respectfully cared for. Those identified were delivered to relatives or friends and the unidentified were given Christian burial at Halifax, whose citizens purpose erecting a monument to their honored memory.”
It appears to be octavo. The book dimensions are 20.5 mm by 15 mm or 8 2/8 inches by 6 inches.
There are no watermarks and while the paper is “heavy” it is not slick and has browned due to the acidity of the paper.
The orientation of the book is letter.
Page 1 of the book is the title page even though the page is not numbered. Page 2 is the copyright page (also not numbered). Page 3 is a page with a quote (also not numbered). Page 4 is the dedication page (not numbered). Pages 5 (and 6) are the preface pages and page 5 is the first page that is actually numbered. Pages 7, 8 and 9 are the list of contents pages. There is an image on page 10 and the text begins on page 11.
It appears to be Times Roman.
There is no color printing. It is only black and white text.
There is no rubication. This book was printed on a quick, fly by night, modest budget.
It is a printed document.
While there is no illumination or painting it is chocked full of illustrations and photographs.
It has a cardboard binding covered in green cloth with a graphic, pictorial illustration on the cover depicting the sinking of the Titanic.
They are plain and constructed of the same acidic paper that is used for the pages.
The sinking of the Titanic is the ultimate event in the history of ocean travel. Like the explosion of the Hindenburg, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the destruction of the World Trade Center the Titanic’s sinking has ingrained itself in the consciousness of the world. While there are filmed images connected with the latter three there are no filmed images of the Titanic’s sinking and that could be one reason why Hollywood has continually gone back to the Titanic to tell its story.

For about ten days I was in a bit of a panic because I could not find any information on this book. In the end I’m very glad I selected this book because it showed me a different side of the publishing industry that I knew nothing about which I see as running from the law publishing.

Many events are being planned for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. It will be commemorated in a variety of unusual and unorthodox ways including a memorial cruise from Southampton, an anniversary cruise from New York (which is unusual since it never sailed from New York or even made it to New York) and a mini cruise from Southampton.

100th Anniversary Cruise

On July 4, 2012, a concert in conjunction with the Save the Titanic Foundation is scheduled. The Save the Titanic Foundation is the sponsor of this event and the organization is dedicated to educating the public about the Titanic’s history.

July 4, 2012 Celebration

Alice Paul Institute. (2011). Alice Paul: feminist, suffragist and political strategist. Retrieved April 9, 2011, from

Biel, S. (1996). Down with the old canoe. New York: W.W. Norton &Co.

Everett, M. (1912). Story of the wreck of the Titanic.

Frost-Knappman, E. & Cullen-DuPont, K. (2005). Women’s suffrage in America: An eyewitness history. New York: Facts on File, Inc.

Lewis, J. J. (2011). August 26, 1920: The day the suffrage battle was won. About.Com. Retrieved April 14, 2011, from

Quill, G. (1998, June 14). Hed goes here. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from LexisNexis Academic on April 11, 2011.

Titanic Anniversary Cruise. (2012). Titanic memorial cruise forced to turn around. Retrieved January 26, 2015, from

Women’s Suffrage. (2011) Retrieved April 10, 2011 from

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm  Comments (1)