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I've got a question for all you experts out there. I'm a Titanic historian, and I'm curious about two things Titanic related.

  1. What was the first article about the Titanic in the magazine? Was there any before the sinking (April, 1912) regarding its scientific advancements, or was it only mentioned after the sinking. The first I know of is the one from the 80's with the cover image a photo taken looking down on the railings. Was there any before this one, possibly almost as early as the disaster itself?
  2. Were there any advertisements for the Titanic in it? I've seen them for the Olympic, Titanic's identicle sister ship. Since Titanic only had one voyage, there musn't be a lot of ads if any, but were there any at all?

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Hello to you Tom,

Welcome to the NGS Collector's Corner! I am happy to see another Titanic and National Geographic "fan" (aka historian).

Actually, I recently posted a short statement about Titanic here on the 'Corner in April (see: ). Be sure to check out the photos I attached to it.

Regarding your questions:

- 1] There was no article about the Titanic or the White Star Line in general prior to, or after, the sinking. As far as I have ever discerned, no member of the Society was tragically killed on the Titanic (meaning, any staff member, Board member, or any professional who worked with NGS).

- 2] I have not seen any White Star Line, or Olympic/Britannic advertisements in vintage issues of NGM, although there were some lovely ads for other ship lines and vessels. Have you seen an "Olympic" ad in an issue of NGM? If so, I must have somehow missed it (I do own every issue of NGM from No. 1 in 1888 through to the present!!

Meanwhile, you obvioulsy are aware of the very now well-known issues of NGM which featured "Titanic" on the covers - December 1985, and December 1986. There were also feature articles about Titanic in October 1987, August 1998, and December 2004 (Dec. '04 NGM had Titanic's rusty bow on the cover for non-U.S. copies only, see my photo of it on the link I gave you).

For the longest time, I thought that December 1985 was the first time NGM talked about Titanic, and NGS never has seemed to contradict this perception, but they did indeed mention Titanic long ago -- albeit only in passing really. This is the info:

NGM, July 1926 –
- - Article:
“Standing Iceberg Guard in the North Atlantic: International Patrol Safeguards the Lives of Thousands of Travelers and Protects Transatlantic Liners from a ‘Titanic’ Fate”
~ By F. A. Zeusler (Pages: 1-28)
Subject(s): International Ice Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, Icebergs, Atlantic Ocean

This caught me by surprise at first, but again, it is not really about Titanic. Until Dr. Ballard discovered her in 1985, NGS essentially ignored her. We can attribute this to the fact that the actual Titanic disaster was not really something NGM would cover in its publication in those days (pre-1980's). Once she was found, they could conveniently lavish attention on it under the guise of "underwater archaeology", ha-ha.

I do have a complete listing of ALL National Geographic coverage of the Titanic (books, video, tv, magazines, NGM, etc.). I'd be happy to share it with you if you care to see it.

Kind regards,

Scott T. Shier, Michigan
I had actually come across your posting just after having posted this. I'm glad to see people observing the 98th anniversary. Do you have any plans for the 100th anniversary? I do, and you may just be involved haha. Actually, I'm directing a Titanic film, and I hope to get it aired for the 100th anniversary. Your involvement, I mean, is simply watching it- I'm hoping a lot of Titanic fans will tune in.

I just pulled out my old National Geographics to hunt down the ads I've found if you're interested.

July- 1923

April- 1922

And just for fun, a Red Star Line ad mentioning White Star Line-

I just checked my list of books I have, and I have August of 1998, but not the others (save for the two obvious 1985 and 1986 ones). I'll hunt that down and take a look at it.

Thank you!
Hi Tom,

You know, now that you've shown me photos of those ads, I do recall seeing them....I just forgot then! Alas for me, all my NGM's pre-1988 are all packed away in boxes at another location, so I am never able to look at them when I want.

thank you, and I'd be happy to watch your video - best wished on it!

- Scott S.



You know I've also noted what you've written here Scott. I have seen the White Star Line ads but prior to the Ballard findings no articles on the 1912 tragedy...




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