Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show. We invite you to visit our website!
Oct. 9 show
The Titanic and Hoosiers
If historians contended there were links between landlocked Indiana and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, would you argue they were all wet? Well, steady yourselves. It turns out there were 14 passengers on the "unsinkable" luxury liner who had Hoosier connections. Some of the Hoosiers survived, while others were among the more than 1,500 passengers and crew members who perished.
To explore all aspects of the tragedy that has captivated the world since the Titanic struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage, Nelson will be joined in studio by Indianapolis resident Craig Ware, whose lifelong interest in the Titanic culminated with meeting the final living survivor - and then corresponding with her. (Millvina Dean, the youngest passenger on board, died at age 97 in England last year.)
A member of the Titanic Historical Society years before the ship was discovered at the bottom of the North Atlantic in 1985, Craig has amassed a trove of info about the massive liner that was built for luxury and convenience, not speed. Indeed, the Titanic has become a symbol of the overconfidence and opulence of the Edwardian era.
Nelson and Craig will be joined in studio by Katherine Gould, associate curator of cultural history at the Indiana State Museum, where an extensive new exhibit recently opened. Featuring room re-creations and about 240 artifacts that have been salvaged from the wreck site, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will continue at the State Museum through Jan. 16.
The Hoosier survivors included an Irish maid who had immigrated to Indianapolis but then returned to her homeland to visit relatives. Victims included a Hammond resident who had traveled to Sweden to visit her parents. She perished, as did her 2-year-old daughter, who had been born in Hammond.
Myths and folklore abound about the sinking. They include allegations that distress signals were ignored, that third-class passengers deliberately were kept below deck, and that the ship's cargo included cases of dragon blood.
We will try to separate fact from myth as we delve into a tragedy that for generations has fascinated social historians, analysts of mass panic, science-oriented folks, and those intrigued with what happened to - and aboard - the ship. Their numbers are legion, particularly since the release of the blockbuster movie Titanic (1997) starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. (Their co-star Gloria Stuart passed away last month at age 100.)
Some Titanic-related tidbits:
- Both Nelson and Craig have, separately, met acclaimed oceanographer Robert Ballard, the scientist who headed the expedition that discovered the Titanic.
- To explore further, Craig suggests the websites Robert Ballard Titanic and Titanic Historical Society.
- Ellen Mary Toomey was the Irish housekeeper who was living in Indianapolis and survived the sinking. She had been returning in second-class on the ship, which had a hull that spanned four city blocks. It took two years to construct the luxury liner at a British yard in Belfast, Ireland.
- In addition to the rich and famous such as millionaire John Jacob Astor (who perished), the ship's passengers included Dr. Ernest Moraweck, a physician who grew up in Tell City. He also perished.
- At the State Museum, where visitors can touch a chunk of ice set at 28 degrees (the water temp when the Titanic sank), artifacts include a wall sconce from a first-class lounge, china etched with the logo of the White Star Line, a man's bowler hat and perfume being carried in the cargo by a manufacturer.
- The ship's cargo included a rare copy of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat set in gold and inlaid with 1,500 precious gems; it has never been recovered. Tune in to find out why the cargo also included a large shipment of dragon's blood.
- Controversy and debate continue to this day about delays in responding to the Titanic's crisis. By the way, the Titanic's maiden voyage was to be the last voyage for its 62-year-old captain, who had planned to retire. Instead, Captain Smith was among the victims of the tragedy.
History Mystery question
In 1913, just one year after the tragic sinking of the Titanic, a natural disaster affected the state of Indiana. The natural disaster happened in March 1913 and resulted in more than 200 deaths across the state.
Question: What was the natural disaster?
To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is four tickets to the Indiana State Museum, as well as a gift certificate to Ike & Jonesy's, all courtesy of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
With Chris Gahl of the ICVA out Roadtripping far beyond the banks of the Wabash, Amy Lamb, media relations manager at the Indiana Historical Society, will be filling in on Saturday.
Amy says "Anything Goes" as the Indiana Historical Society's Anything Goes: Cole Porter Revue kicks off this Thursday and Friday, Oct. 14 and 15.
Eli Lilly Hall will be transformed into a 1940s-era nightclub for a De-Lovely evening including dinner and dancing, as well as a cabaret show about Porter's life and music performed by Actors Theatre of Indiana. Cost is $75 per person (or $60 if you're an IHS member), and advance registration is required. Other Anything Goes programming will also take place in November, February and March.
If you can't make the revue, Amy says you can always visit the Cole Porter Room at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center anytime Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., to see related memorabilia and have your song selection performed for you, right on the spot.
Your team on the Hoosier History Live! e-project,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Chris Gahl, Roadtripper
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
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What's new with Hoosier History Live!
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Show will return after a football hiatus ...
On Oct. 16, Hoosier History Live! will be pre-empted by WICR-FM's coverage of U Indy football.
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