Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A 96-year-old fan!

August 2, 2012

Catherine Proske reading a copy of Ohio Tales of the Titanic.

My co-worker Bob Proske recently went to visit his mother in Cincinnati and took along Ohio Tales of the Titanic, which he was reading. His mother, Catherine Proske, age 96, started reading the book while he was there and “she couldn’t put it down,” according to Bob. Seems she was quite fascinated with all the stories about Ohio’s connections to the Titanic. Thanks, Catherine, for your interest! — Mary Ann


Talk at Elyria library

August 2, 2012

Mary Ann (left) and Amy Richards at Elyria Public Library.

Had an enjoyable time at the Elyria central library on July 24. I was invited to give a program about Ohio’s Titanic connections. About 20 people turned out, including my friend and former co-worker Amy Richards, who lives in Elyria, along with her daughter Mona. Some of the folks in the audience knew about the Oberlin College connection of first-class passengers Carrie and Herbert Chaffee, who met while attending Oberlin. They later moved to North Dakota and were returning there when aboard the Titanic. Mrs. Chaffee survived, but her husband did not. The Chaffees are one of the few Lorain County Titanic connections. The other is the fact that the Orville Root family had planned to sail on the return voyage of the Titanic, which did not happen. — Mary Ann

Talk at Milan, Ohio, library

July 14, 2012

DeEtte Zimmerman, left, buys a book for her daughter in California who is a huge Titanic buff and worked on a documentary about the ship.

I presented a program about Ohio’s Titanic connections to the library in Milan, Ohio, on Wednesday, July 11. Milan is a nice little town, and the library, a brick Carnegie Library that’s 100 years old this year (same as Titanic!), is located just off the town square. Marci Reikowski, public services coordinator, arranged the program and welcomed me to the library. The crowd was small but very interested to hear about some of Ohio’s Titanic tales. Thanks for your interest!

— Mary Ann

LaGrange talk an enjoyable experience

June 28, 2012

On Monday, June 18, I presented a program on Ohio’s Titanic Connections to a small but very interested crowd at the Keystone-LaGrange Library, a branch of the Elyria library system.  Jill Warren arranged the program and it was very interesting chatting with her about the library. It’s clear the library plays a big role in the community. People were coming and going to check out books or movies or use the public computers. Fourteen people gathered for the talk, and some very interesting points were raised …

I mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Orville Root of Lorain who had plans to sail on what would have been the Titanic‘s return voyage to New York that never happened. Someone in the audience wondered if they are related to the family who runs the Root candle company … I don’t know but would like to find out!

During the program I told the story of Richard Otter, second-class passenger and Titanic victim. I mentioned that his widow, Kate Otter, had a house built on West 101st Street in Cleveland, where she lived out her life.  A woman in the audience said that she had lived on that same street in Cleveland at one time. Of course she had no idea there was a connection to the Titanic on that very street.  An interesting coincidence.

Thanks to all those in the LaGrange community who came to hear about Ohio’s connections to the Titanic … and to the library for hosting me!

— Mary Ann

Titanic International Society Centennial Convention

April 27, 2012

Janet and I (Mary Ann on the left, Janet on the right) took part in the Authors’ Corner display and book signing at Titanic International Society’s Centennial Convention in Secaucus, N.J., on April 27, 2012. Thanks to all for their interest in our book! The convention continued April 28 and 29.

100th anniversary of Titanic

April 25, 2012

On April 14/15 this year, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I did something I’ve rarely had the chance to do – spend the day viewing Titanic-related sites and attending two Titanic-related cultural events.

Friends Denise and John had suggested driving around Cleveland to see a few spots I’d never had the time to go to see and photograph. So they planned the itinerary and we set off at about 10 a.m. Saturday, April 14.

First stop was the Shaker Heights home of Titanic survivor Caroline Bonnell, who later married Paul Jones, a federal judge, and moved to Cleveland from Youngstown. This was their home. (It was raining so I just took it through the car window.) I had just recently interviewed Caroline’s daughter, Mary Jones Chilcote, for the series of Titanic stories that ran in The Plain Dealer in Cleveland on April 8, as well as online. (Caroline’s story and a video clip of Mary talking about her mother’s experience appeared on only.) Here’s the link to the page:

Caroline Bonnell Jones’ home in Shaker Heights

We also stopped at the church that Caroline and her husband and family attended, Church of the Covenant on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Caroline’s funeral service was also held here.

Church of the Covenant, Cleveland

Burton Monument, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland

Theodore Burton grave, Lake View Cemetery

Another stop was Lake View Cemetery, where many famous Cleveland people are buried. Among them is Sen. Theodore E. Burton, who was a member of the Senate subcommittee that conducted the American inquiry into the Titanic disaster. His monument and gravestone are across the road from the more famous Garfield Monument.

Our Cleveland tour culminated with placing a wreath at the Ohio Titanic Memorial behind the Great Lakes Science Center. Denise and John had ordered and picked up the wreath. As we placed the wreath and paused to take a few pictures it started to rain so we didn’t linger too long.

You can see more photos of flowers placed at the memorial in previous years here:

Mary Ann at Ohio Titanic Memorial, Cleveland

By then it was lunchtime so we headed west to The Harp Irish restaurant and appropriately toasted the day with a bit of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and Bass ale (Bass was on board Titanic and I feel sure Bushmills was as well).

At Denise and John’s place after lunch we looked over some new Titanic books and then headed south to meet other friends Christina and Roman & Suzanne to attend a performance of the Titanic musical at the Akron Civic Theatre.

We went to the Akron-Summit County Public Library first as there was a display about the Akron-bound passengers. However, when we got there we were told the display had been moved to the theater to coincide with the musical’s performance. Since we then had some free time before the musical started, and the cemeteries where some of the Akron-bound passengers were buried weren’t too far away, we stopped there. I had never seen them in person.

Elizabeth Hocking grave

Ellen Wilkes grave

Joan Wells’ gravestone

I’d seen the Broadway touring company of the musical in Cleveland in 2000 and a few years later put on by a local theater group in Canton. So it had been quite a few years and to see the play again on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic was definitely an unusual experience. This performance was a bit different in that the Akron Symphony Orchestra was onstage, not in the pit, and the sets and props were minimal as the actors moved around the orchestra. Still, the wonderful songs carried the show. The music is soaring and sweeping with an epic quality. If there’s any music that can match the score of James Cameron’s film, this is it. The cast did a great job, and I noted in the program that the actor who played Thomas Andrews, Baldwin-Wallace College student James Penca, is a Titanic buff. He said it was a special experience to play the ship’s designer on the 100th anniversary. I hope James discovers our local group of Titanic buffs (Great Lakes Titanic Society; see the link on the Links page) and meets up with us sometime.

Akron Civic Theatre marquee for Titanic musical

The next day, Sunday, April 15, I went to see the 3-D version of James Cameron’s Titanic. It was amazing. The 3-D was seamless and not at all distracting as it has been with a couple of other 3-D films I’ve seen. It was like you were IN the film. The scenes of exploring the wreck were so lifelike it seemed like you were diving the wreck yourself – certainly as close as I’ll ever get to actually doing so!

All in all, a Titanic weekend to remember …  Mary Ann

Talk at Dover, Ohio, library

April 8, 2012

Dover was a fun experience!

Before our book was even finished, Jim Gill, director of the Dover Public Library, invited me to come down and give a talk on the Ohio Titanic connections on April 3. Fortunately we got copies just a week earlier! Before the talk, my husband and I met Jim for dinner along with a couple of friends who came down from Cleveland. We had a delightful Italian meal at Uncle Primo’s in New Philadelphia. It was nice getting acquainted with Jim before the talk.

The audience was great. People seemed really interested to learn about the Titanic connections in their part of the state and asked some good questions. Jim and all the other folks I met down there couldn’t have been nicer.

I had never been to Dover before, despite living in Ohio for 18 years. Hope it’s not my last visit. A charming town with lots of nice, well-kept older homes on tree-lined streets. The rolling hills and countryside south of Canton reminded me of southern Indiana, an area I’ve always loved and where I lived for many years.

Here are a couple of photos from the event. 

— Mary Ann

Mary Ann gives a talk at the Dover Public Library about Titanic connections in the Akron-Canton area.

Two girls — the “Titanic twins” — buy a book at the Dover library.

Janet gets her first look at our book

April 7, 2012

Janet looks happy when we met April 2 at Steak ‘n Shake in Streetsboro, Ohio, to divvy up books and sign them for our contributors. We made note of the fact we were doing this 100 years to the day after the Titanic left Belfast, where she was built.

Books delivered

March 29, 2012

When you are self-publishing a book and working with a local printer, the delivery method is the trunk and back seat of your car. I found out just how much room 400 copies of a book take up in a Nissan Versa! This is what the trunk (above) and back seat (below)  looked like when I picked up our first order of books from Northern Ohio Printing in Cleveland on Tuesday, March 27.  Now the boxes are taking up room in my dining room, at least until we start distributing some of them. — Mary Ann

Welcome to our book blog!

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:

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.

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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.”

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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 . . .”