National Archives at New York City

Dangers and Disasters in the World's Port

The World's Port, through documents of the National Archives

Dangers and Disasters

In Dangers and Disasters, two of the most infamous sinkings of the 20th century are brought to life through documents filed as part of a Federal Court case. Linked by their catastrophic losses, the Titanic and Lusitania tragedies had long-term impacts on safety in the shipping industry.

Refer to CaptionFirst-Class Reception Room, ca. 1912 Records of District Courts of the United States

Perilous Ice

Refer to Caption Memorandum Reporting RMS Titanic s Collision, April 15, 1912 Records of District Courts of the United States In the Hydrographic Office initial report on the Titanic s collision with an iceberg, the magnitude of the damage was still unknown.

In Perilous Ice, the tragic sinking of the Titanic is told through photographs, depositions, charts, and deck plans.


Refer to Caption Passenger Certificate for the RMS Lusitania, March 18, 1915 Records of District Courts of the United States Listing passenger capacity, the Lusitania s certificate also noted the number of lifeboats on board--a significant increase in the wake of the Titanic tragedy. However, only six were successfully lowered during the 18 minutes that it took for the ship to sink.

In Torpedoed, the controversial sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine is told through cargo manifests, receipts, and maps.

The World's Port exhibit reflects primary source documents can tell important stories of our past, that the National Archives has these documents, and that they are available for everyone to learn from and discover.

The World's Port exhibit ran from September 21, 2012 through November 25, 2012 at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green, New York, NY.