CARTER, LUCILE P. Manuscript diary of a Titanic survivor, as recorded in Frank Smythson's "Mignon" Diary and Engagement Book for 1910. [England and America: January-February 1910 & April 7-June 3 1912.]
48mo (61 x 48 mm). Graphed sheets with days of the week, months, and dates printed in black, two dates per page. Original red leatherette stamped in gilt to upper cover.
Provenance: Lucile P. Carter (gift inscription to front free endpaper).
A visceral, albeit brief, first-hand account of the Titanic disaster. Below the printed date April 14 in her miniature diary, thirteen-year-old Lucile P. Carter, a boarding school student in England returning home to America with her family, bears witness to the 20th century's most notorious collision: "accident happened in night[.] ship struck iceberg[.] we are all in lifeboats[.] in morning we are taken on the Carpathia." The main portion of the diary begins on April 7following a large, holograph "1912"with Lucile writing that she is leaving Wycombe Abbey to meet her father in London. In the entry for April 9 she records, "Titanic of White Star line sails at 12. The suction drags in the steamship 'New York,'" and in the next few entries Lucile describes passing the time on board in swimming with her brother William and playing with her dog. Entries made in the aftermath of the disaster detail her journey back to New York"before landing the newspaper boats almost upset us" (April 17)and ultimately to her grandmother's home in Pennsylvania. Years later Carter would recall, "I was in the last boat ... It was almost carried under by the suction. I saw the whole ship sinklighted deck by lighted deckas the band played 'Nearer My God to Thee'" (Seltzer, "The Philadelphia Scene" in Philadelphia Inquirer, April 15, 1955).