Among the 1,500 passengers who died when the Titanic sank beneath the waves on April 15, 1912, was young, Philadelphia bibliophile Harry Widener. Harry had been a friend, protégé, and early client of one of the Rosenbach Museum & Library’s founders, Dr. Rosenbach, so when Harry’s mother decided to create a library at Harvard in her son’s memory, she turned to Dr. Rosenbach for help in building a collection worthy of his ambitions.
Dr. Rosenbach’s involvement in the creation of the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library helped insure the ﬁnancial future of the Rosenbach Company and set the stage for Dr. Rosenbach’s great successes in the following decades, during which he used his expertise in rarebook and manuscripts to help shape many other private libraries that later became important public collections.
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the international tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic, this exhibition tells the intertwined story of the Wideners and the Rosenbachs and the fateful voyage, along with other Titanic book-tales, such as the Joseph Conrad manuscript at the bottom of the sea, and thoughts from Marianne Moore and the sea-faring Conrad about the Titanic tragedy.
This exhibition is just the ﬁrst in a multi-year series that explores the Rosenbach brothers’ achievements and how they helped to shaped our understanding of history and literature.