Color painting of the R.M.S. Titanic at sea.
The Library of Virginia >> Exhibitions >> R.M.S. Titanic: Ninety Years Later


Newspaper Coverage

Inaccurate or Misleading Reporting

Headline Coverage

Editorial Cartoons

High Society on the High Seas

Man vs. Nature…
Nature Wins

Aftermath and Inquiry


One aspect of the Titanic disaster that particularly caught the imagination of the public was the tremendous loss of life. Not only did hundreds die, but included in that number were some of the most wealthy, glamorous, and well-known people of the Western World. The passenger list was a veritable Who's Who of the rich and influential, including:

The public quickly latched onto tales of upper crust heroism (exaggerated, true and false): Major Butts' allegedly held off panicked men so women and children could enter lifeboats; Mrs. Strauss gave up her seat in a lifeboat in order to remain with her husband on the doomed ship; And Bruce Ismay's alleged cowardice, climbing aboard a lifeboat though women and children were waiting for places. All of these stories, and the accompanying photographs of the dead and living added to the Titanic legend.

Some Notable Passengers Who Were on Board the Ill-Fated White Star Liner Titanic; Evening World (Roanoke, Va.), April 20, 1912
Some of the Women Whose Lives Were Saved Through Men's Self Sacrifice; Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 18, 1912
The Hungry Sea/Baltimorean in Titanic Disaster; Baltimore Morning Sun, April 18, 1912