Collection of three pieces of correspondence related to a claim by the family of a young man lost in the Titanic disaster, consisting of a letter by his father, a letter by the White Star Line, and a retained carbon copy of their law firm’s response to the inquiry. The initial ALS signed “Joseph Bailey,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.25 x 7, January 25, 1916, to “The White Star Line,” in full: “I trust you will excuse me writing you but I have enclosed a cutting which I thought applied to me very strongly. This being the first intimation that I have had regarding the same, I thought you would allow me to explain my case. My eldest son Percy Bailey 19 years of age was lost from the ‘Titanic.’ He was bound to New York. I am only a working man, (Butcher’s Assistant). I should like to state that I personally paid his passage for him, (Second Class) and entirely fitted him out with clothing, and all things that was necessary for him in starting life, including a sum of money. I might say that this left me entirely a poor man, as he had promised to return the same to me as soon as possible, so you can see that I not only lost my son which was a great blow I can assure you, but also all that I was possessed of. I have not at any time made any claim against your company but I trust you will see that my case is deserving, as I lost my all in that great disaster. I should be glad to get any information from any one which you should desire including your Penzance agent Messr’s Ludlow & Son with whom I booked the passage, trusting you will see your way [to] help me, the same as others in my great loss.” Includes the newspaper clipping referenced, with a piece headlined “£128,000 for ‘Titanic’ Victims” circled in ink.
The White Star Line forwards the letter and clipping to their law firm, Hill Dickinson & Co., with a typed letter, January 27, 1916, headed, “Titanic,” in full: “We attach letter we have received from Joseph Bailey, father of Percy Bailey who was lost in the ‘Titanic,’ with which perhaps you will be good enough to deal with.” Last is the retained carbon copy of Hill Dickinson’s response to Bailey, January 28, in part: “The newspaper cutting which you enclosed refers to a settlement of proceedings in America and not to proceedings in this country. Unless, therefore, you were a party to the American proceedings we regret that you will not be entitled to participate in the settlement funds.” In overall very good to fine condition, with toning and handling wear.
Bailey had lived in Penzance for his entire life and followed in his father’s footsteps as an assistant butcher. Having just turned 18, he decided to go to America and had been hired as a butcher’s apprentice in Cleveland. Though originally booked on the White Star Line’s RMS Oceanic, he transferred his reservation to the Titanic upon learning that friends of his would be traveling on the steamer. He planned to visit an uncle in the Bronx before going on to Cleveland to begin his apprenticeship, but was tragically lost in the disaster and his body was never recovered.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.