Drowned World: True Stories from the Titanic

Singapore, Singapore

November 23, 2011

So much for Jack and Rose, the fictional characters in James Cameron’s Titanic. The real passengers of RMS Titanic had more compelling stories to tell. Some of these anecdotes had gained legend status; others were little-known factoids about the people who lived through and died in one of the greatest tragedies in maritime history. Their stories had not gone down with the ship untold.

Mom and Me – Souvenir Photo from Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Daniel Danielsen Grønnestad, a 32-year-old Norwegian musician, emigrated to the US at the turn of the century with his brother, Bertil. They settled in North Dakota, hundreds of miles from the eastern seaboard. Despite the distance and their modest means, the brothers took regular homecoming trips to Norway, traversing half of the American continent and sailing across “the pond.” They were about to make one such trans-Atlantic trip back to America in April 1912. Bertil, however, had an overwhelming sense of foreboding about the trip and decided to put it off. Daniel embarked on the Titanic at Cherbourg, France (a stop from Southampton, England before sailing for New York) without his brother but with other 2,223 souls on her fateful maiden voyage on April 10, 1912. Close to a hundred years later, I would be clutching a replica of Daniel’s boarding pass at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.

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