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March 24, 2012

 

Ohio Tales of the Titanic

The Buckeye State’s Fascinating Connections
to the World’s Most Famous Shipwreck

About the Book

This book, published in April 2012,  relates the compelling stories of the 55 people traveling to Ohio who were on board the Titanic. Among them were new brides who left their husbands on the sinking ship, immigrants whose plans for a new life were torn apart and prominent business people returning from sojourns abroad. Ohio Tales of the Titanic also follows the survivors’ lives after the disaster, as some were stalked by other tragedies, and points out some fascinating modern connections to the most famous ship of all time.

To order, click on the link below:

https://ohiotitanic.wordpress.com/ordering-information/

About the Authors

Janet A. White is a library specialist with Northside Medical Center in Youngstown and lives in Girard, Ohio. Janet has been researching the Ohio Titanic connections for decades, gathering information and talking to descendants. Janet is a past trustee of Titanic International Society. She has written articles for the organization’s quarterly journal, Voyage, and is the co-author with Gerald E. Nummi of I’m Going to See What Has Happened, which relates the story of Titanic survivor Elin Hakkarainen and other Finnish Titanic passengers.

Mary Ann Whitley is a longtime journalist, currently a copy editor at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and lives in the eastside suburb of University Heights, Ohio. She became interested in the Ohio Titanic story in 1998 when she met Janet and discovered Ohio’s extensive ties to the disaster. Since then, she has researched the Northeast Ohio-bound passengers and interviewed a number of descendants. She has written articles for Titanic International Society’s quarterly journal, Voyage, and served as a trustee of the society for nine years. Mary Ann also has a personal connection to the Titanic, as her grandfather helped to build the ship in Belfast.

*  *  *

Read what Charles A. Haas, President of Titanic International Society, has to say about Ohio Tales of the Titanic:

“At its closest, the state of Ohio is about 1,575 miles from the spot where the Royal Mail Ship Titanic sank on its maiden voyage a century ago. One might well think that an inland American state would have few connections to history’s most famous ship. Nothing could be further from the truth. Digging through dusty archives and employing intensive Internet researching, authors Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley have unearthed the dramatic life stories of 55 people who either lived in or were traveling to the Buckeye State. But this fascinating book casts its informational net even more widely, reporting on other Ohioans directly involved in Titanic’s story in the years since the disaster. From the wealthy who enjoyed the ocean journey in first class, to the humble immigrants in third class who were seeking a new life in the New World, the authors have woven a new human tapestry for Titanic that is both compelling and fascinating.”

*  *  *

Read what Robert Bracken, Titanic International Society trustee and passenger historian, has to say about Ohio Tales of the Titanic:

“Authors Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley, after years of comprehensive research and compilation of documents, memoirs, and interviews, have written an informative and detailed book on Titanic and its Ohio people connections which captures the character of the people of 1912.  . . . consisting of in-depth research and numerous interviews with a number of Titanic passenger descendants, which evidences their attention to detail in their unique work. The authors have divided their work into chapters by region of Ohio, and then detail all aspects of the lives of those Titanic figures associated with that region. They further chronicle people’s connections to modern aspects of Titanicdom. The book is fascinating in scope . . .”

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Hudson Cable TV program on the Titanic

September 11, 2015

Earlier in the summer I took part in a television program taping for Hudson Cable TV, “A Discussion of the Titanic,” with fellow Ohioan and Titanic author Tad Fitch, moderated by Joe Hoffman, coordinator of the History Book Club, which meets monthly at The Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson, Ohio. Tad and I did a Titanic discussion for the book club in 2014. One of the attendees, Terry Williams, thought an expanded discussion would make a good program for the Hudson channel, so she arranged the taping. This is the third event that Tad, Joe and I have done together on the Titanic. Joe is a great moderator and discussion leader, and Tad did a fantastic job of discussing some of the major issues involving the disaster. I stuck to the Ohio connections, discussing the passengers who were headed to Summit County (Akron) and other connections the area that includes Hudson has to the Titanic.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the program that Tad posted (thanks, Tad, for all your hard work in figuring out how to convert the program!).

— Mary Ann

Finnish Heritage Museum program at Fairport Harbor, Ohio

August 15, 2015

On Aug. 10, 2015, Mary Ann presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections for the Finnish Heritage Museum, focusing on three Finnish passengers with Northeast Ohio connections: Anna Turja, Erik Collander and Elin Hakkarainen. She was joined by co-author Janet White, special guests Jane Nummi (daughter-in-law of Elin Hakkarainen) and Joann Knuth and her daughter, Mary Jo Knuth, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Lebanese Titanic passenger Shaneene George. The Finnish Heritage Museum was filled to capacity and the audience was very enthusiastic and interested, especially since some members of their ethnic community were profiled. The museum is in a brick building that was a former firehouse. It has been turned into quite a nice little museum and gift shop on Finnish heritage in this part of Ohio. Fairport Harbor is a small town on the Grand River near where it runs into Lake Erie. It’s not far from the Mentor Headlands state park. Thanks to Anne Pohto, Lasse Hiltunen, Sharon Mackey and other members of the Finnish Heritage Museum who helped make this such a successful program! Sharon kindly wrote up a nice article to be published in the Finnish American Reporter and Lasse put a nice page up on the group’s website, with many more photos and Sharon’s article, which you can see here:

Here are some photos I took at the event.  — Mary Ann

 

Janet White, co-author of Ohio Tales of the Titanic, talks with an audience member after the program. Behind them are displays on Finnish heritage in the museum.

Janet White, co-author of Ohio Tales of the Titanic, talks with an audience member after the program. Behind them are displays on Finnish heritage in the museum.

Special guest Jane Nummi, left, daughter-in-law of Finnish Titanic survivor Elin Hakkarainen, who settled in Warren, Ohio. With Jane is Anne Pohto of the Finnish Heritage Museum, before the program.

Special guest Jane Nummi, left, daughter-in-law of Finnish Titanic survivor Elin Hakkarainen, who settled in Warren, Ohio. With Jane is Anne Pohto of the Finnish Heritage Museum, before the program.

Special guests at the program were relatives of Lebanese Titanic survivor of Youngstown, Shaneene George. Mary Jo, Knuth, left, and her mother, Joann Knuth, great-granddaughter and granddaughter, respectively, of Shaneene.

Special guests at the program were relatives of Lebanese Titanic survivor of Youngstown, Shaneene George. Mary Jo, Knuth, left, and her mother, Joann Knuth, great-granddaughter and granddaughter, respectively, of Shaneene.

Programs during April, the Titanic anniversary month

August 15, 2015

Mary Ann presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections to the First Church Women’s group at First Congregational United Church Of Christ in Elyria on April 1, 2015.

Then, on April 20, Mary Ann and fellow Titanic author Tad Fitch took part in a panel on the Titanic at the Stow Senior Center in Stow, Ohio, aided by Joe Hoffman of the History Book Club at the Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson, Ohio. (Tad and Mary Ann had taken part in a program for the book club in August 2014.). We each talked a little bit about our areas of expertise (Ohio connections for me and extensive research on the sinking and impact for Tad).

For those who don’t know Tad, here is his brief bio: He was born in Northeast Ohio and has lived in the region his entire life. He has written numerous articles that have been published in the Titanic Historical Society’s quarterly journal, The Titanic Commutator, and online at Bill Wormstedt’s Titanic and Encyclopedia Titanica.  His works have been cited or referenced in many publications.  He is a co-author of “Report Into the Loss of SS Titanic, A Centennial Reappraisal” (2012), the 2012 Mountbatten Maritime Award-nominated “On A Sea of Glass, The Life & Loss of RMS Titanic,” and most recently, “Into the Danger Zone, Sea Crossings of the First World War” (2014).

It has been fun presenting Titanic to enthusiastic audiences with Tad and answering people’s questions. Here are some photos from these events.  — Mary Ann

A member of the women's church group in Elyria reads a display about Ohio-bound passengers on the Titanic before the presentation.

A member of the women’s church group in Elyria reads a display about Ohio-bound passengers on the Titanic before the presentation.

Tad Fitch chats with Joe Hoffman of the History Book Club after the Stow Senior Center program.

Tad Fitch chats with Joe Hoffman of the History Book Club after the Stow Senior Center program.

 

The Stow Senior Center welcomed us with this drawing of the Titanic on their announcement board.

The Stow Senior Center welcomed us with this drawing of the Titanic on their announcement board.

Ohio Tales of the Titanic now on Kindle!

September 28, 2014

Just a note to let folks know that our book, Ohio Tales of the Titanic, is now available as an e-book on Kindle, for those who like to use tablets to read.

Here’s the link to the page on Amazon. Just click on the image of the book cover below:

http://www.amazon.com/Ohio-Tales-Titanic-Mary-Whitley-ebook/dp/B00NSXL47Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

 

History Book Club program at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson

September 20, 2014
Tad Fitch, far left, listens to a question from the group gathered at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson during its History Book Club meeting. Organizer Joe Hoffman is at far right.

Tad Fitch, far left, listens to a question about the Titanic from the group gathered at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson during its History Book Club meeting. Moderator Joe Hoffman is at far right.

Mary Ann Whitley and Tad Fitch shared their research about the Titanic with members of the History Book Club at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson.

Northeast Ohio residents Mary Ann Whitley and Tad Fitch shared their research about the Titanic with members of the History Book Club at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson.

On Aug. 17, Tad Fitch and I were invited to discuss the Titanic with members of the History Book Club that meets monthly at The Learned Owl bookstore in Hudson. Tad is the co-author of On a Sea of Glass: The Life and Loss of the RMS Titanic and contributed to another book, Report into the Loss of the RMS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal. Here’s a link to an article about Tad’s book.

The club explores various historical topics, and members can read various books. They do not all have to read the same book. The discussion is about the topic for the month. They invite authors who have written about the chosen topic when possible.

Tad handled the more technical questions about the ship and sinking and I answered those about Ohio’s connections to the disaster. Tad had been on my little Midwest Titanic email list for a number of years (through meeting a friend of mine) but we had never met. It was great to finally meet in person and “talk Titanic.” I thought our co-hosting of the discussion went very well and I hope we can do it again sometime.

Joe Hoffman, moderator for the club meetings, wrote this nice note to his email list after the program: “First have to say that the History Book Club had its best discussion to date on Sunday when we tackled the topic of the Titanic.  Local Titanic authors, Tad Fitch and Mary Ann Whitley, provided a wealth of information.  We had a peach dish with a little kick to it that was on the Titanic’s menu the night that it sank…..thanks to a first-time attendee.   Many wonderful insights were shared and questions answered…..the vast majority of questions by our visiting authors.  It was a great afternoon of history!”

March & April 2014 programs in Mayfield Heights, Twinsburg and Akron

September 20, 2014

I’ll summarize here some of the programs of the last few months. I wanted to post these items earlier, but some health issues made it advisable for me to avoid doing too much work on the computer.

Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society braved a cold night to hear the stories of Ohioans on the Titanic.

Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society braved a cold night to hear the stories of Ohioans on the Titanic.

 

Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society took time to read the stories of some of the Ohio-bound passengers displayed on poster-size panels.

Members of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society took time to read the stories of some of the Ohio passengers displayed on poster-size panels.

East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society

On March 3, I presented a program for the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society in Mayfield Heights. I tried to intertwine the stories of Northeast Ohio passengers on the Titanic with the kinds of issues and problems that genealogists face, such as finding sources, long-ago news coverage, interviewing descendants, etc. As I pointed out, Janet’s and my project on the Ohio connections to the Titanic was like one huge genealogy project as we delved into the backgrounds and family histories of 55 passengers. A very nice and interested crowd showed up on a frigid night to hear the personal stories of some of the Ohio-bound passengers and how Janet and I tracked down information on them.

Mary Jo Knuth, left, and her mother, Joann Knuth, lent a personal perspective to the program, talking about  their ancestor, Shaneene George, a Titanic survivor who was headed to Youngstown.

Mary Jo Knuth, left, and her mother, Joann Knuth, lent a personal perspective to the Twinsburg library program, talking about their ancestor, Shaneene George, a Titanic survivor who was headed to Youngstown.

Janet White displayed articles about Titanic survivor Shaneene George along with some Titanic replica china, blanket and other items.

Janet White displayed articles about Titanic survivor Shaneene George, along with some Titanic replica china, a blanket and other items, at the Twinsburg Public Library.

Twinsburg Public Library

On April 14 (the 102nd anniversary of the April 14/15 Titanic disaster), Janet and I presented a program at the library focusing on the Northeast Ohio people who were on board the ship. Joining us on this anniversary night were some special guests, Joann Knuth and Mary Jo Knuth, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Youngstown-bound Titanic survivor Shaneene George. They were able to answer questions from the audience and give a personal perspective on the passengers, especially the third-class passengers like Shaneene. I’m sure those in attendance were thrilled to be able to meet descendants of a passenger traveling to Ohio.

Akron Woman’s City Club

On April 22, I presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic connections to the women in the organization’s book section, focusing on those passengers with connections to Akron. We met in the beautiful Titanic-era home that was originally the residence of George Bertram Work and later George M. Stadelman. The craftsmanship of the original section of  the home, built in 1901 (it had some additions since that time), and style of the interior certainly evoked the era I was talking about.  A most appropriate setting. The club has been using this home since 1946. Check out the house on the club’s site. Because the book section often invites authors and enjoys hearing about how their books came to be written, I shared some “war stories” about how Janet and I pulled together our research and managed to self-publish our book in time for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking. The women were most interested and had some thoughtful questions about the writing process as well as Ohio and Akron’s ties to the Titanic.

—  Mary Ann

Titanic in Toledo Feb. 15- June 15, 2014

January 15, 2014

The Titanic artifact exhibit is set to open at the Imagination Station museum in downtown Toledo on Feb. 15, 2014, and will be there until June 15, 2014.

Seven passengers were heading to Toledo or northwest Ohio. One of the most notable was William Harbeck, a renowned motion picture photographer of the time. He died in the disaster and his death created a bit of a stir as he had boarded the ship with a woman he listed as his wife. However, his real wife was back home in Toledo.  There are a few other interesting Toledo connections as well. Frank Skeldon was a reporter for the Toledo News-Bee, and  was sent to New York to cover the arrival of Titanic survivors for the United Press. Skeldon went on to become quite a notable figure in Toledo, business editor of The Toledo Blade and involved with developing the Toledo Zoo. These stories are detailed in our book.

Here is an article that appeared in The Toledo Blade about the upcoming exhibit.

— Mary Ann

*  *  *

Titanic display to dock in downtown Toledo

Imagination Station exhibit starts Feb. 15

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
(Published Jan. 7, 2014)

An elegant perfume bottle. A perfectly preserved pair of men’s socks.

The personal belongings of those who boarded the RMS Titanic in 1912 and many who perished when the luxurious ship sank after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean are among the artifacts that will be on display at the Imagination Station.

“Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is to run from Feb. 15 to June 15 at the downtown science center. Museum officials expect it to attract record crowds.

“There’s so much fascination and interest in it at all age levels,” said David Waterman, chairman of the museum’s board of directors. “We’re so happy to have it. It’s not easy to get. You have to schedule it months and months in advance.”

Nine traveling and permanent versions of the exhibit, which is owned by Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions Inc., have been viewed by more than 25 million people worldwide in the last 18 years, said Theresa Costas, spokesman for Premier.

“It’s transcended generations,” Ms. Costas said. “Here we are almost 102 years removed from the sinking and people are almost just as fascinated by the story. There’s history, romance, technology, science. There’s really something for everybody.”

Almost as compelling as the Titanic’s tragic story is the 1985 discovery of the sunken ship and recovery of the artifacts. Visitors to the exhibition will see pieces of the ship, the china from which its first-class passengers ate, and clothing, shoes, and other items that belonged to the 2,223 passengers and crew members on board. Just 706 people survived.

“In my opinion, the most compelling artifacts are the personal artifacts — the things that belonged to people like you and me,” Ms. Costas said. “When you look at them it’s hard not to make that emotional connection, to say, ‘What happened to this person? Did they survive?’”

Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of the Imagination Station, said the 6,500-square-foot exhibit will take visitors through a series of re-enactment galleries, beginning with the ship’s construction and its launch.

They will see first-class and third-class quarters and learn about life on board the luxury liner. They will relive the events leading up to the ship’s demise, and they’ll have the chance to feel the frigid chill of an iceberg. Visitors also will learn about the science behind the efforts to recover artifacts some 2½ miles underwater.

Upon arrival at the exhibit, each visitor will receive a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger, complete with name, age, and reason for being aboard the Titanic. At the end of the exhibit, visitors will take their boarding pass to a memorial wall where they will learn whether that passenger survived or perished.

A number of special events also are planned during the exhibit’s run, including a visit by Helen Benziger, a great-granddaughter of Titanic passenger Margaret Brown, a survivor who was immortalized in the 1964 film The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

The exhibit, which is sponsored locally by BP along with media sponsors, The Blade and WTVG-TV, Channel 13, has been featured at museums in Detroit, Cleveland, and Columbus. This is its Toledo debut.

Ms. Hauser said attendance is expected to top Imagination Station’s most popular temporary exhibit to date — “Bodies Revealed,” which was twice extended during its 2011 run. Some 35,000 people viewed that exhibit.

For “Titanic,” visitors may purchase timed tickets in advance through imaginationstationtole-do.org or by calling the museum at 419-244-2674.

Admission to the exhibit is $6.50 for Imagination Station members. For nonmembers, admission to the museum and the exhibit is $19.50 for adults ages 13 to 64, $17.50 for seniors 65 and older, $15.50 for children ages 3 to 12, and free for children 2 and younger.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

Program in Westlake, Ohio

November 12, 2013


Westlake talk Oct. 2013 002

Despite a day that started out rainy, a group of about 30 people came to the Westlake community services building to hear a program about Ohio and the Titanic. Several people came up afterward to chat and buy books.

On Oct. 16, 2013, I did a presentation on Ohio’s Titanic connections as part of the city of Westlake’s adult services programs. Westlake’s very nice, spacious and modern community services building was the site. I’m told there are programs going on daily  there, some geared toward the “Fifty Plus” residents. That was the group I spoke to.  Had a nice crowd of around 30 people and they were very interested and asked lots of pertinent questions about Northeast Ohio’s links to the Titanic story as well as general questions about the famous ship.  

— Mary Ann

Willoughby-Eastlake library Author Expo

September 25, 2013

Willoughby author expo 002

Mary Ann signing a book during the Author Expo.

It was cool to meet weather guru Dick Goddard and chat with him. Here he is goofing around giving an endorsement to Ohio Tales of the Titanic!

It was cool to meet weather guru Dick Goddard and chat with him. Here he is goofing around giving an endorsement to Ohio Tales of the Titanic!

I took part in the Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library’s first (hope it will be annual!) Author Expo on Sept. 21, at the Willoughby Hills (Ohio) Community Center, where 30 local authors displayed, signed and sold their books. Gale Lippucci and her crew did a great job in organizing this event. There were spacious tables for each author, nearby restrooms, punch and cookies available in the large meeting room, and the authors were invited to partake of a pizza and pasta lunch, served downstairs. The community center is a great facility for hosting events. The event must have been widely promoted as a crowd of people filtered in and out throughout the day.  I was pleased with the sales. There were a number of “big name” local authors at the event, like Dick Goddard and Les Roberts, as well as those of us whose books are smaller and appeal to a narrower audience — still there was a lot of interest with people coming up to ask questions and chat.

— Mary Ann Whitley

Author Alley event in Larchmere

July 18, 2013

Author Alley book signing

I took part in Loganberry Books‘ Author Alley event on July 6, in the Larchmere area of Shaker Heights, Ohio. It was held during the Larchmere street fair, and lots of folks were out strolling the streets and checking out all the arts, crafts, food and the books at Author Alley. A very nice, friendly event, and the Loganberry folks sure took good care of us authors on a hot, humid day. They offered us light refreshments, water and other beverages,  and came around twice with popsicles and ice cream bars! It was interesting to meet other authors and hear how they got their books published, and chat with the many people passing through who obviously love books. Thanks, Loganberry, for hosting this event!

— Mary Ann