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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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RMS Lusitania: 1908

RMS Lusitania: 1908

The Hudson River circa 1908. "RMS Lusitania passing Hoboken piers." The doomed Cunard ocean liner would be torpedoed by a German submarine in 1915 with a loss of 1,198 lives. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

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Four Funnels

The Lusitania and her slightly faster sister ship Mauretania each had four functional funnels. In this picture many of her boilers were undoubtedly exstinguished to conserve fuel as she entered NY harbor. Unlike the Titanic these ships were built for speed as well as luxury and had to meet certain government specifications for use during war time. In return the British government subsidized the cost of building both ships. And fast they were, faster than most if not all "liners" on the sea today. Look closely at the painted white water line on the ship and you will notice that much of it is missing even thought the ship is barely a year old in this picture. That was a telltale sign of a seriously fast ship back in the days before gel coat or epoxy paints! It would be well over two decades before another ship was built that could barely outrun the Lusitania's surviving sister. Even then the aging 23 year old Mauretania nearly took the speed record back with a stunning 27+ knot average Atlantic crossing. This is a spectacular photo of an historic, beautiful ship. As fast as she was, she could not outrun the torpedoes fired at her off the coast of Ireland on that tragic, warm sunny day in May nearly 100 years ago.

I just found out

My grandmother came to America on this ship! Not this sailing (which would have been way too cool) but this ship!

Many ironies

The "Hoboken piers" in the background were then owned by two German-based shipping lines - Norddeutscher Lloyd and Hamburg America line. The U.S. seized them when it entered WWI, and then used the piers to unload the thousands of caskets of GIs killed in battle.

The Anias

Let's not forget the Beatlemania!

The Tanias

Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania, and let's not forget Wonkatania!

Save Yourself

Let's see: Eight lifeboats this side, presumably eight on the other, 40 people to a lifeboat (probably generous) = room for 640.

By the time she was torpedoed the Lusitania had 48 lifeboats (some collapsible). Only six were successfully launched.

Yep, an interesting perspective

On this picture. Very cool.


What a stunning image! How majestic those early super-liners were.

A couple of interesting details: I'm surprised how many wires are holding the smokestacks in place. Also, it looks like smoke's only coming from the middle two stacks. Does anyone know if the Lusitania also had a dummy stack, like the Titanic?

Most interesting detail I'm noticing is the crow's nest on the front mast. Before the days of radar, it was still the human eye that warned the captain of dangers ahead. Wouldn't want that job on a cold, rough North Atlantic night!


Interesting perspective. Photo looks kinda like it was taken from a periscope.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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