A Philadelphia Family's Titanic History and the Fate of the RMS Titanic Pets
Widener Titanic Exhibit Focuses on Philadelphia Families
A boarding pass provides entry for the exhibit noting the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic at the Widener University Art Gallery until May 12. The exhibit, which focuses on the Philadelphia families touched by the tragedy, will even include a section on the dogs that perished on the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York on April 14, 1912.
Upon entering the exhibit, visitors will receive a replica boarding pass with the name of a Philadelphia resident who was on the cruise. The last section of the exhibit will include portraits of Philadelphians on the ship, and visitors will find out if the person on their boarding pass perished or were among the lucky survivors.
The exhibit is produced and curated by J. Joseph Edgette, Ph.D., professor emeritus of education and folklorist emeritus at Widener and an authority on the Titanic. Edgette’s research has primarily focused on Philadelphians who were on the cruise, such as the *Widener family for whom Widener University is named. However, he said he was touched and intrigued by the dogs that were also on the cruise. He said there were twelve dogs on the Titanic and only three survived.
“There is such a special bond between people and their pets. For many, they are considered to be family members,” Edgette said. “I don’t think any Titanic exhibit has examined that relationship and recognized those loyal family pets that also lost their lives on the cruise.”
The exhibit will also include displays on the impact the Titanic has had on popular culture, the company that built the Titanic, the details about the ship, *the Widener family, the recovery efforts following the tragedy, and how families memorialized members who lost their lives.
A reception will be held on April 14, the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the gallery.
The gallery is located on the Main Campus of Widener University in University Center on 14th Street between Walnut Street and Melrose Avenue in Chester.
Photo Caption: Dogs on the deck of the Titanic. Twelve dogs made the voyage, only three survived.
*Widener Library, which opened [at Harvard] with a solemn ceremony on June 24, 1915, commemorates Harry Elkins Widener (born January 3, 1885 in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania), a 1907 Harvard graduate, who was a book collector and victim of the Titanic disaster. His mother, Eleanor Elkins, made a $3.5 million donation to Harvard University to build a library named after him. The library was designed by Horace Trumbauer & Associates, the architect of many private houses for the intertwined Elkins and Widener families of Philadelphia including the renowned Lynnewood Hall. The Associate responsible for designing Widener Library was the chief designer of the firm, architect Julian F. Abele, the first major African American architect.
The Widener Family and the RMS Titanic. In the spring of 1912, George Widener, his wife Eleanore Elkins Widener, and their son, Harry, travel abroad. On the return trip, the RMS Titanic slams into an iceberg on April 15, 1912. Eleanore Widener survives, but more than 1,500 people, including George and Harry Widener, perish.
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