One hundred years ago, on May 7, 1915, the British luxury liner RMS Lusitania sank off the southern coast of Ireland after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Nearly twelve hundred of the men, women, and children on board perished, provoking a firestorm of international condemnation. On the centennial of the Lusitania disaster, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives is mounting a short-term exhibition in the Hoover Tower rotunda. Remember the Lusitania! Discoveries from the Shipwreck will showcase artifacts retrieved from the wreck together with photographs, posters, documents, medals, and maps from Hoover's collections.
Among the recovered objects on display will be a porthole from the Lusitania, china and silverware, a ceramic chamber pot, a brass pocket-watch case, and bullets and rifle shells that had been stored among the ship’s cargo. The items brought up from the Lusitania wreck, lying beneath three hundred feet of water some dozen miles off the southern coast of Ireland, have been made available for the exhibition courtesy of the wreck’s owner, Gregg Bemis, a Stanford graduate (Class of 1950) who has commissioned several dives down to the wreck, even undertaking one himself, in 2004, at age seventy-six. An array of items from the collections of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, founded in 1919 as a repository for documents concerning the First World War, provides historical context for and documentation of the sinking of the Lusitania, the extraordinary reaction the incident provoked, and its military and political consequences.
Remember the Lusitania! Discoveries from the Shipwreck will be on display in the Hoover Tower rotunda at Stanford University from May 20 to May 24, 2015, and open to the public, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call the Hoover Archives at 650-723-3563.