"When, on Saturday morning early, forty miles out at sea, a small steamship ran into and punched an ugly hole in the side of great steamship with five hundred people on board, the world knew of the disaster in a few minutes. The man at the wireless key on the damaged steamship gave a few clicks on his instrument. He sounded the marine code meaning danger and distress. Then a wireless man on shore, on Nantucket, caught the signal, and all other business of the wireless was suspended . . ."
Thus began one newspaper reporter's column describing the collision of the SS Florida with White Star Line's steamship RMS Republic 50 miles off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts on January 23rd 1909. The SS Florida remained sea worthy but the Republic did not. The RMS Republic was lost while under tow back to New York the following day.
Thanks almost entirely to the presence of wireless radio equipment and operators aboard the RMS Republic, other ships in the area, and onshore, over 1500 passengers and crew were rescued from the Florida and Republic. Only six passenger and crew members were lost during the event.
Redtrunk.org now provides access to the most comprehensive collection of newspaper coverage of the RMS Republic's collision and ultimate loss. Employing high definition digital photography, it reveals for the first time, the content of a recently re-discovered scrapbook compiled in 1908. The scrapbook's 122 pages contain thousands of column inches of newspaper reporting on of the RMS Republic event, with details, diagrams and photographs perhaps unavailable elsewhere.
Given the historical significance of the RMS Republic's sinking, it was decided that this scrapbook's contents should be made public and available to everyone. It's therefore been released on this site under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
Now, "grab the papers" and relive the sinking of the RMS Republic.