TITANIC. RYERSON, EMILY BORIE. 1863-1939. Autograph Letter Signed ("Emily Borie Ryerson"),
Lot 271
TITANIC.
RYERSON, EMILY BORIE. 1863-1939.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Emily Borie Ryerson"),
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
£5,900 - 8,900
Lot Details
TITANIC.
RYERSON, EMILY BORIE. 1863-1939. Autograph Letter Signed ("Emily Borie Ryerson"), 3 pp rectos only, 8vo, Boston, April 18, 1913, to Mr Bowen, on personal stationery, light wear, very good.
WITH: a vintage photograph of Ismay and related documentation.

A TITANIC SURVIVOR REPORTS HER CONVERSATION WITH BRUCE ISMAY JUST A FEW HOURS BEFORE THE ICEBERG COLLISION. This is one of the most damning and fascinating Titanic letters extant, giving direct evidence that Ismay did order the ship to speed up though he was well aware of the icebergs, the subject of multiple investigations and official enquiries in the following years.
"....I was on deck in the afternoon of April 14 between 5-6 o'clock & Mr Ismay came up & inquired if our staterooms were comfortable & the service satisfactory etc. & then thrust a Marconigram at me, saying, we were in among the icebergs. Something was said about speed & he said that the ship had not been going fast yet that they were to start up extra boilers that afternoon or evening (I forget wh.) The telegram also spoke of the Deutschland a ship out of coal & asking for a tow, & when I asked him what they were going to do about that he said they had no time for such matters, our ship wanted to do her best & something was said about getting in Tuesday night. I was not much interested & cannot remember the exact words & details but repeated the conversation immediately to my husband & to Miss Bowen when I went down to my cabin & she remembers it & the strong impression wh. was left in my mind & in hers was that they were speeding the ship up—to get away from the ice—& that we wd. probably get in late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Mr Ismay 's manner was that of one in authority & the owner of the ship & that what he said was law. If this can be of service to anyone I do not wish to be silent to seem to be protecting him."
Emily Ryerson was aboard the Titanic with her husband, three children, her son's governess Miss Bowen, and a maid. The reason for their journey itself was a tragic one: Arthur Ryerson Jr., age 21, had just been killed in a car accident and the family was returning home to bury him. Emily's husband Arthur Ryerson was killed in the sinking, but she and the rest of her party were rescued in Lifeboat 4. Emily Ryerson's youngest son, Jack, was initially denied entrance to the lifeboat, but his father pleaded that he was only 13 and the officer in charge relented.
See "Rich Men and Poor Men: The Story of the Ryerson's on the Titanic" by Ryerse, in the Journal of the Titanic Historical Society, summer 1990 (a copy included with this lot); and the June, 1913 transcribed deposition of Emily Ryerson in the Limitation of Liability hearings (www.titanicinquiry.org). Letter is published in Barratt, Lost Voices of the Titanic, 2010.

Footnotes

  • "They have asked for my testimony in regard to my conversation with Ismay on board the Titanic & I feel there is no reason ... to want to hide it, if it is any help in the steerage claims...."
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Christina Geiger
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 644 9094
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9007
Similar items
<i>The ex-Duke of Montaigu</i>,1938 Lancia Astura  Sports Coupé 3162 An important French patinated bronze figural fountain depicting Tritons and Neirids, Henri-Leon Greb 1922 Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp Silver Ghost Barrel-sided Tourer 43JG 1913 Napier 30/35hp 4,122cc Type 44 Landaulette  Chassis no. 11610 Engine no. 18779 Ex-Geneva Salon, special pre-production 'Works' ,1996 Bentley Continental T  Chassis no. SCBCZB20COTCX53136 An Original White Star Line Steamer Deckchair, by repute from RMS “Titanic”, 53x21.5x39in(135x54.5x9