Halifax’s Titanic collection at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic grew yesterday with the addition of $80,000 worth of highly sought after artifacts: a mortuary bag, a wreckwood rosette, a photograph and a cap badge.
The rough canvas bag held the belongings of first-class bedroom steward Edmund Stone, who died in the 1912 disaster and was buried at sea. The bag has “41” written on it, showing Stone was the 41st body recovered. The possessions found on his body were sealed in the bag and mailed to his wife in England, where all of the items were bought at auction last fall.
Some passengers had pockets stuffed with diamonds as they awaited a rescue that never came. Not Stone, a rusty pocket watch, a few keys and a ticket for an item held at a pawn shop were all that remained of the 33-year-old.
“When I hold this material, it does sometimes feel a little spooky. I just imagine this mortuary bag arriving in the mail to Mrs. Stone, and her opening this up, and this is all that’s left of her husband,” said Maritime Museum of the Atlantic historian Dan Conlin at yesterday’s unveiling.
Conlin noted Stone’s pay stopped April 15, 1912. “You only got paid as long as the ship was afloat,” he explained.
The wreckwood rosette was made by William Parker, a Halifax carpenter who helped recover Titanic victims. He carved it out of pieces of the mahogany balustrade from the ship’s grand staircase. The museum already had a cribbage table Parker made from the same material.
The photograph is of him and the cap badge also belonged to the “wreckwood folk artist” of the Titanic, Conlin said. “This flotsam nobody wanted, he turned it into paperweights, picture frames, cribbage boards and rosettes.”
Those were given as mementos to those who had helped in the rescue and recovery.