Skip to comments.Jesuitís Titanic photos resurface
Posted on 04/15/2012 11:01:03 AM PDT by Salvation
Courtesy Father Browne S.J. Collection | CNS
DUBLIN Commemorations of the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago will put the spotlight on a young Irish priest whose photographs are some of the only surviving images of life onboard the liner on its first and last voyage.
Jesuit Father Frank Browne, 1880-1960, became a prominent documentary photographer and a much-decorated chaplain in the British army in World War I.
A collection of his photographs, "Father Browne's Titanic Album" has been reprinted to mark the centenary of the demise of the massive liner, which was constructed in Belfast, Ireland, and was believed to be unsinkable.
More than 1,500 people died when it sank April 15, 1912.
The new edition of the book is edited by Jesuit Father Edward O'Donnell, and the foreword is written by Robert Ballard, who first located the ship's wreckage in September 1985, the same month as a chance finding of 42,000 of Father Browne's photographs in the basement of the Jesuits' headquarters in Dublin.
Frank Browne lived an eventful life. As a novice he met Pope Pius X in 1909 when he accompanied his uncle, Bishop Robert Browne of Cloyne, to a private audience at the Vatican. He was also a university classmate of Irish writer James Joyce, who featured the young seminarian as "Mr. Browne the Jesuit" in his masterpiece "Finnegans Wake."
In 1912, the Jesuit novice was still three years from ordination. Because of a gift from his uncle, he was able to experience the Titanic's luxurious accommodation in the initial stages of its maiden voyage, from Southampton, England, to Cherbourg, France, and on to Queenstown, Ireland.
While onboard, the self-taught photographer managed to obtain pictures of the first-class accommodation and dining rooms. He also captured the gymnasium, the library and passengers enjoying a stroll on the promenade, as well as many passengers in third class, recording some of those who would later perish in the freezing waters of the Atlantic. He took the last image of the Titanic's captain, Edward Smith.
Father Browne's images of the ship's accommodation and passengers have been pored over by maritime historians, engineers and filmmakers seeking answers to a tragedy that still grips the public's imagination. Hollywood film director James Cameron used his photographs to re-create sets for his blockbuster movie.
The Jesuit's image of 6-year-old Robert Douglas Spedden playing with his spinning top on the promenade, watched by his father Frederic, is one of the most famous of the collection. Cameron re-created the image in the film.
The young Jesuit photographed the Titanic leaving port for the last time as it left Queenstown, in County Cork, for New York. He could have been onboard: An American couple he befriended on the ship offered to fund the final leg of the journey to New York.
From the Titanic, he sent a telegram to his provincial in Dublin to request permission. However, a frosty telegram awaited him in Queenstown: "Get off that ship."
When news of the Titanic's disastrous fate reached Father Browne, he folded the telegram and put it into his wallet and kept it there for the rest of his life. He later said it was the only time holy obedience had saved a life.
Lol. Thought the same thing.
The staff on Fox and Friends covered this story yesterday. Thanks for posting!
Cameron also owed Browne for his photo of the ships Marconi Room, which he had taken when he was sending his clerical superior the Marconigram request to travel to New York. The photo was the only picture to be taken of the room and in any Titanic films since, the Marconi room had been based it on Brownes partially exposed photograph. Browne also took the last known photograph of Captain Edward Smith.
Life jacket inspection
Captain Edward John Smith
A Queenstown vendor sells Irish lace on board as Captain EJ Smith walks by.
Steerage getting settled on deck
Passengers get settled on the steerage deck, which is usually the lowest decks on a ship.
That's what I always say.
When anyone asks me how I can best describe my experience in nearly forty years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like. But in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort.
Worse than that, actually. It's impossible, and also ludicrous.
In this case the more accurate designation would be "19:26b"
Indeed it is.
James Cameron, in his movie 'Titanic', worked this photo into the action. This scene is recreated when (the fictional) Jack Dawson sneaks into First Class to see the (equally fictional) Rose. You'll see him clamber over the railing in the background, and swipe the coat that you see draped over the deck chair behind the stanchion.
As a Titanic buff of 40 years or so, I sat bolt upright at that point- I recognized it instantly. :-)
I was on your ping list, am I still?
No, you were one I lost. Thanks for the note.
Thanks for posting the pictures. They add a lot to the thread.
That does not look like Capt. Smith. He also is not wearing the insignia he should be as Capt.
is there a particular edition or version of the publication of these photos you find better than the other?
None in particular. I had a copy of ‘Father Browne’s Titanic Album’, which I think I lost in a move. I have E.E. O’Donnells ‘Last Days of the Titanic’ here, (coffee table bargain book) that has some of them in it. I’m convinced though that I haven’t seen them all. I wouldn’t mind having something authoritative.
This thread prompted me to go off looking for them in particular, I ran across this:
They seem to have quite a collection. My copies of Fr. Browne’s Titanic photographs are scattered through my books on the subject at this point.
Designating the quote with a more precise reference from the man-made enumeration might clarify its location, but the impression would remain the meaning is: Try something with God and you will succeed.
Please keep me on the list.
When watching Titanic in 3D, I too remembered seeing a photo of a boy with a top in one of the Titanic books. Kudos to James Cameron for bringing us that moment. Now I have to investigate if that little boy survived.
I did a search. Six year old Master Robert Douglas Spedden survived the Titanic, along with both of his parents. Unfortunately he died three years later, at age nine, due to being struck by a car.