Titanic mania endures 100 years after sinking, says Cornell historian

Historians in the News

...Katherine Howe, author of a new novel the Titanic called "The House of Velvet and Glass," said the draw of the ship is "the collision of all possible symbols available to you in 1912, the way that engineering can fail, the wealth, the poverty, all of these things coming together on one night."

We've always been fascinated with class, and aboard the Titanic, the division between the haves and have-nots was in dramatically stark relief.

Down in third class were immigrants heading to America, in search of a better life, dreaming perhaps of life in first class. Upstairs was the very picture of how one might imagine life in the Gilded Age: the parlors were occupied by some of the richest people in the world. Back then, to be rich was to be famous. The ship was like an exclusive Oscar party, Howe, said. The rich men on the boat, such as John Jacob Astor IV or Ben Guggenheim, Howe pointed out, were the equivalent of someone like George Clooney....

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