Image description: A life vest used by a survivor of the RMS Titanic. Five days into its maiden voyage in 1912, the White Star ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg at full speed in the North Atlantic, en route from England to the United States. At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, the gigantic ship sank in 12,500 feet of water 350 miles off the coast of Canada. Within about two hours, the ocean liner Carpathia arrived and rescued the Titanic’s 705 surviving crew and passengers. Around 1,500 people aboard were lost.
Chicago physician Dr. Frank Blackmarr, a Carpathia passenger, helped with the survivors suffering from hypothermia, exposure, and shock. He collected this Titanic life vest during the voyage as a souvenir, and later donated it to the Chicago Historical Society. In 1982, the CHS donated it to the Smithsonian’s National Watercraft Collection.
Image courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.