R.M.S. TITANIC: Kraus of New York Postcard, Postally used May 31st, 1912, Nebraska, Possibly Written by a Titanic Survivor


Origin: American
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: 1912
Height: 3.5 inches
Width: 5.5 inches
Condition: B

Printed by Kraus of New York, the card depicts Titanic to the front with the text; ‘The S. S. Titanic; 882 ft long; the largest ship in the world; sunk April 15, 1912, at 2:20 A.M; on her maiden trip; with a loss of about 1635 passengers.’ The card is in good condition with only light creasing, and very small amounts of flaking to the sky behind the ship.

Postally used May 31st, 1912, Nebraska , the reverse provides significant interest, penned by ‘Anna’,  the first sentences produce dramatic words; "I just have to send a card at this time and let you know I am still living". Addressed to a Mr Joseph Srajhans Jr, at Route 2 Crete Nebraska, the full script reads:

“Dear Joe; As I was to write and didn’t get to write a letter so I first have to send a card for this time, and let you know I am still living. Well how are you making it now – a – days working hard are you? I suppose I think this windy weather is awful especially when one have to work in the field. Am short of news so will ring off doing with best wishes to you, yours Anna”

There were thirteen survivors from the Titanic named Anna who traveled in all three classes, but the author of this card is currently unknown. Anna may or may not be related to Joseph Srajhans Jr, this also, is very difficult to say though the tone of the words suggests they are close but not overtly intimate. One wonders why the first sentence is so dramatic, why so if Anna had not been in some kind of recent danger?, though the remaining words are lighter. Written two weeks after the disaster, it is plausible this was her first contact with her friends and relatives, the rescue ship Carpathia docked on the evening of the 18th of April, leaving thirteen days between the arrival of the survivors and the date of the 31st when the card was written and stamped. The postcard would have taken several days on a train to travel the thirteen hundred miles or so from New York to Nebraska.

Owned by the White Star Line, RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, U.S.A., on 10 April 1912. Four days into the crossing, at 23:40 on 14 April 1912, she struck an iceberg and foundered at 2:20 the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

Only a few months away, on 15 April 2012, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic is planned to be commemorated around the world. By that date, the Titanic Quarter in Belfast is due to have been completed and the area will be regenerated. In addition, the cruise ship Balmoral, has been chartered to follow the original route of Titanic, intending to stop over the point on the seabed where she rests on 15 April 2012. Interest in RMS Titanic has always been strong but with the arrival of the one hundredth anniversary on the horizon, this interest promises to continue to rise.

If the mysterious author can be revealed as a Titanic survivor then this card transforms from an already significantly valuable post card to a hugely important piece of ephemera, propelling it to a meteoric level. Either way, the card is a hugely intriguing, mysterious and important piece of history, which fascinates on many levels.