Friday, 21 October 2011


Amazing never-before-published photographs taken by a couple who survived the Titanic disaster have hit the auction blocks, 99 years since the sinking of the "unsinkable" ocean liner on her maiden voyage in 1912.

John and Nelle Snyder, a wealthy couple travelling first class on their honeymoon, were rescued in the first lifeboat lowered from the sinking ship, Number 7. At the time it left the Titanic's boat deck, an hour after hitting an iceberg, the ship was still on an even keel and most passengers felt safer on the Titanic's seemingly sturdy decks than in an open boat in the middle of the North Atlantic. No.7 took only 28 people out of a possible 65, including the Snyders, film star Dorothy Gibson, aviator Pierre Marechal and a pomeranian dog belonging to society beauty Margaret Hays.

Among the items up for auction include never-before published photographs snapped from the deck of rescue ship Carpathia, showing lifeboats approaching, ominous  icebergs, and letters describing their experiences. Also included is a photograph of the couple arriving in New York wearing the clothes they escaped in (left).

'I can only tell you that I have a mighty fine wife and she is the one you must thank - besides our Lord - for my being able to write this letter.
'If it hadn't been for Nelle I am sure that I never would be here now. She 
is the one that urged me to get up when I wanted to go back to bed. We were both asleep when the boat hit. I don't know whether the bump woke me up or I woke up when Nelle spoke to me. 

'At any rate she made me get up and go out to the companionway to see what was going on - I went out three times before deciding to get up and get dressed. When we reached the top deck only a few people were about and we all were told to go down and put on some life belts - we did it, thinking it was only a precaution.
'When we got back on the top deck again we saw they were getting the life boats ready - as soon as they were ready they told the people to get into them.
'Nearly every body stepped back from in front of us and as a result we were almost the very first people placed in the life boat.'

Proclaimed as the "unsinkable ship" - RMS Titanic sank just 5 days into her maiden voyage in April, 1912. Without enough lifeboats for all aboard, 1,522 people went to their deaths.

John and Nelle Snyder lived a long married life together, John dying on a golf course aged 71 in 1959, Nelle at 94 in 1983. They had three children, whose descendants have offered the items up for auction with Philip Weiss Auctions in New York. The current minimum bid is $36,000.

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