New York Herald, April 21, 1912, page 1:
‘Keep Your Mouth Shut; Big Money for You,’ Was Message to Hide News
Hold Story for ‘Four Figures,’ Marconi Official Also Warned the Carpathia Operator, While Anxious World Waited Details of Disaster.
While the world was waiting three days for information concerning the fate of the Titanic, for part of the time at least, details concerning the disaster were being withheld by the wireless operator of the steamship Carpathia under specific orders from T. W. Sammis, chief engineer of the Marconi Wireless Company of America, who had arranged the sale of the story. This was admitted yesterday by Mr. Sammis, who defended his action. He said he was justified for getting for the wireless operators the largest amount he could for the details of the sinking of the ship, the rescue of the passengers and the other information the world had waited for. The first information concerning the loss of the Titanic came Monday evening, and it was known at that time the survivors were on board the Carpathia. About midnight the first of the list of survivors began to come by wireless, and from that time until Thursday night, when the rescue ship arrived in port, the world waited and waited in vain for the details of how the “unsinkable ship” had gone down. Three messages were sent to the Carpathia telling the operator to send out no news concerning the disaster. Two of these were unsigned, and the last one had the signature of Mr. Sammis.
“Keep Mouth Shut; Big Money.”
The first message was unsigned, and it is said it was sent as a list of names of survivors were being forwarded. It read:– “Keep your mouth shut. Hold story. Big money for you.” The messages from the Carpathia to the Marconi office concerning this matter were not available, but there was evidently some communication, for the second unsigned message followed after an interval. This message read:– “If you are wise, hold story. The Marconi company will take care of you.” The third and last message was addressed to “Marconi officer, the Carpathia and the Titanic,” and signed “S. M. Sammis,” chief engineer of the Marconi Company of America. This one read:– “Stop. Say nothing. Hold your story for dollars in four figures. Mr. Marconi agreeing. Will meet you at dock.” Mr. Sammis was at the Waldorf-Astoria yesterday at the hearing before the sub-committee of the United States Senate, and he was asked about the message.
Mr. Sammis Resents Criticism.
“It is reported,” he was told, “that a message was sent by you to the wireless operator on the Carpathia to which you gave the orders or at least said to him not to give out any details of the sinking of the Titanic, as you had arranged for four figures.” “Well?” he said is a defiant way. “Did you send such a message?” “Maybe. What of it?” he replied. “It would be interesting to know if you actually sent such a message.” “Yes, I sent the message, but whose business is it?” Mr. Sammis asked with some heat. “Perhaps it was no one’s business,” he was told, “but it is interesting to know that when the world was horror stricken over the disaster and waiting for the news, that there were persons preparing to capitalize the suspense and had arranged for ‘four figures.’ ” “Do you blame me for this,” retorted Mr. Sammis, as he backed up against the wall. “Do you blame me for getting the highest price I could for the operator for the story he had to tell about the collision and the rescue. I thought I was doing a good turn for him, and I can’t see how it is the business of anyone.” It is not unlikely that the sending of these messages with the apparent result that no details of the disaster came from the relief ship will form part of the inquiry that is being made by a sub-committee of the Senate. Part of this inquiry has been directed as to why a message from President Taft asking for information about Major Archibald W. Butt was unanswered, and it is not unlikely that in view of the message from Mr. Sammis that this will be taken up again.
Navy Likely to Have Records.
While these messages were intercepted by more than one wireless receiving station, there is one place where the Senate Committee could undoubtedly get copies of them. The New York Navy Yard has a powerful receiving station, and has what is known as an “intercepted message” book. These messages are considered confidential and are never given out, but the book would undoubtedly be at the disposal of the investigating committee. Senator Smith said yesterday that the authorities in Washington knew on Thursday long before the Carpathia arrived, that the White Star line was contemplating the return of part of the Titanic crew to England by the steamship Cedric, and this information undoubtedly came from a government station. John W. Griggs, one time Attorney General of the United States and Governor of New Jersey, is president of the Marconi Wireless Company of America. He said last night he had not heard that the chief engineer of the company was marketing the information of the disaster. “This is a matter which will be looked into,” he said. “I know nothing about it, had not heard of it before, and, of course, cannot say what will be done until it is brought to my attention in an official way.”
I’ll be speaking at the Orange County Libraries (Orlando, FL) at three Branches.
Downtown Branch, Saturday, April 19 at 11:00 a.m.
Dr. Phillips (Southwest) Branch, Sat. April 26th at 2:30 p.m.
Hunter’s Creek (South Creek) Branch, Sat. May 31 at 2:00 p.m.
Kyrila Scully will also be speaking at the Breakfast for the Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, FL at the Wyndham Resort in Downtown Disney on June 5th.
If you want to book a lecture, tea party or banquet, please contact Titanic Speakers Bureau for more information.
MILFORD, PA — The Pike County Historical Society will host an evening in honor of the Titanic on Sunday, April 27. The Hotel Fauchere will host a dinner in the Delmonico Room. In addition to being the largest liner ever built, when the Titanic set sail it also hosted the most advanced culinary facilities of any ship of its time. The chefs for this Titanic-inspired dinner will recreate dishes enjoyed by the passengers in the first-, second- and third-class dining saloons of the big ship. Each course will be introduced with a discussion of the culinary history of the Titanic.
The speaker, Ken Rossignol, will present his program at 5:30 at The Emerson House, located next door to the hotel. Writing true crime, maritime history and cruise thrillers occupies most of Rossignol’s time. As a maritime history speaker, Rossignol enjoys meeting audiences around the world and discussing the original news stories of the sinking of the Titanic and other maritime history topics.
Luxury liner attire ca. 1912 is encouraged. The cost is $75 per person and tax and gratuity are included; beverages at additional charge. Ten dollars of each fee will be donated back to the Pike County Historical Society. Call for reservations, space is limited, 570/409-1212, ext. 150 or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ironies of the Titanic
by Bruce M. Caplan
There’s an old saying that there’s two things you can’t escape and that’s “death and taxes.” On the terribly cold night of April 14th 1912, the Titanic newly crowned Empress of the Seas, met her Waterloo. At 11:40 in the evening the giant vessel slammed into an iceberg and less than three hours later on the morning of April 15th, she was at the bottom of the sea.
Prior to the collision the mood of most on board was idyllic. However, the many millionaires were probably cursing the fact that our government was attempting to levy an annual income tax. Word was that the tax would only apply to the rich and regardless it would never be more than 2% of anyone’s annual income.
Less than a year after the vanishing of the Titanic in February of 1913, the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified and Federal Income Tax became legal.
Originally the annual date to file was not in April, but eventually it became April 15—-the same date on the calendar that the great ship sank. Isn’t it ironic that our government picked the same date on the calendar that the Titanic sank, to make so many of our wallets sink?
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SPRINGFIELD – Edward S. Kamuda, who founded the Titanic Historial Society in Indian Orchard, died at his home Sunday after a long illness, the society announced Monday. He was 74 years old.
Kamuda and five others founded the Titanic Historical Society on July 7, 1963 in Indian Orchard.
As president, he watched its membership grow to several thousand people from around the world and the organization became one of the leading organizations for researching the Titanic and documenting the lives of the doomed vessel’s passengers and crew.
The Titanic struck an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912, killing 1,517.
“If it weren’t for Edward Kamuda, much of the information we have today on Titanic wouldn’t exist,” says Karen Kamuda, THS vice president and wife of Edward.
The historical society’s home office was humbly located in the rear of Henry’s Jewerly on Main Street in Indian Orchard. The store is located across the street from the former Park Theater, where as a teen, Kumuda’s lifelong interest in the Titanic was first piqued with the 1953 movie “Titanic” starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwick.
He began tracking down the remaining survivors and sending them letters. Many would write him back and share their recollections of the voyage and the night of the sinking.
As he told The Republican in a 1993 interview “”I was so lucky I got a hold of them when I did. Most of them are gone now.”
Over time, the society would work closely with Dr. Robert Ballard in the search of the ocean floor that in 1985 would eventually locate the wreckage of the ocean liner. He would also be a vocal opponent of efforts to salvage items from the Titanic site, equating it with grave robbing….MORE
This graphic video provides a frame-by-frame video depiction of the sinking of the Titanic in real time. Check your watches, turn on your Titanic music or favorite movie of the Titanic and watch how it all unfolded 102 years ago on April 15, 1912.