ALS signed “Your loving son, Len,” two pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 7.75, embossed White Star on board R.M.S. ‘Titanic’ letterhead, April 9, 1912. Letter to his parents. In full: “I am on the briney [sic] ocean, & leaving Queenstown we passed Cherbourg last night. I suppose you read about our narrow escape when coming out of the docks at Southampton. The sucking power of the propellers was so great that she broke loose another vessel lying outside port and was only an airsbreath from hitting her. I am very comfortable—getting good food & a good bunk, my wages are low but I will let you know all later as I want to catch the Queenstown mail, I am only writing to let you know I am all right. I will write next week sending full particulars about my none too good job. Well good by. I shall come home after the trip as it is cheaper they issue tickets at £1.” Under his signature, Taylor adds a brief postscript which reads, “The boat’s rocking about.” Accompanied by the incredibly rare original embossed White Star mailing envelope, addressed in Taylor’s hand to his parents in Blackpool, and bearing a Queenstown postal cancellation, with a partially-legible date. In fine condition, with central horizontal and vertical folds and some scattered mild soiling.
Only 18 years old, Taylor signed on as a Turkish Bath attendant on board the luxury liner three days earlier on April 6. His pay was slightly more than £4 per week, which he comments on as “low,” for his “none too good job,” as he would have been the junior man in the baths. As the Titanic left Southampton, it came within several feet of crashing into the S. S. New York, due to the large displacement of water caused by the ship and Captain Smith’s difficulty in navigating through the a congested harbor. Taylor mentions the impressive power of the ship, which could max out at around 46,000 horsepower, and was responsible for snapping the New York’s mooring lines almost causing a catastrophic collision before even hitting the open ocean. The content of the letter dates it to April 11 as the ship sailed from Queenstown on that day, with Taylor seemingly too occupied to write the letter he intended to write and send earlier on the April 9. Unfortunately, he would never fulfill his promise of coming home, as he died in the sinking and his body was never recovered. Any letter written from on board the liner is quite rare and extremely desirable, even more so by a member of the crew, and particularly with its very rare White Star envelope. RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.