Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Register of the Culver (William B.) Memorial Scrapbook of the Shipwreck of the Ville du Havre, 1873-1874
Mss169  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (55.05 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
 
Table of contents What's This?
Description
The scrapbook, inscribed "Wm. B Culver" on the cover, is probably a memorial to Culver, created by a family member. Newspaper clippings in the scrapbook report varying accounts of the event, provide the names of survivors and those who died, speculate on the cause of the collision and whether the crew had acted appropriately to avoid the hit. The accounts also report on prominent figures who died in the collision, including Judge Rufus W. Peckham of Albany, New York (1810-1873) and Collodion, a caricaturist.
Background
On November 22, 1873 at 2:00 a.m. the steamship Ville Du Havre (formerly named Napoleon III) of the French Atlantic line, running between New York and Le Havre, collided with the British ship Loch Erne, travelling from London to New York. Of the approximately 226 crew and passengers, only around 87 were saved. According to newspaper accounts the Ville Du Havre spotted the lights of the Loch Erne through the fog with minutes to spare.A Second Lieutenant and the Captain tried to turn the ship in time but they received a full hit at mid-ship. The Ville sank in twelve minutes drowning many passengers in their cabins. A mast fell, hitting a craft filled with those who made it to the deck and killing many more. The captain had a first lieutenant swim to the Loch Erne for help, and although the latter had also been badly damaged and had drifted half a mile away, she sent over three craft to pick up survivors.
Availability
Collection is open for research.