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RMS Carpathia - History, Accommodations, & Ephemera Collection

All Digitized Ephemera for the RMS Carpathia available at the GG Archives. Common items of ephemera in our maritime collection include passenger lists, brochures, event and entertainment programs, and other memorabilia produced for a voyage or ship.

1904-10-04 Passenger Manifest for the SS Carpathia

1904-10-04 SS Carpathia Passenger List

  • Steamship Line: Cunard Line
  • Class of Passengers: Cabin
  • Date of Departure: 4 October 1904
  • Route: New York to Liverpool
  • Commander: Captain W. T. Turner
Immigrant Inspection Card - RMS Carpathia 1904 Liverpool to New York

1904-10-18 Immigrant Inspection Card - Cunard RMS Carpathia

Inspection Card issued to an immigrant traveling in Steerage on board the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line dated 18 October 1904 that provided information including Port and Date of Departure, Name of Ship, Name of Immigrant, Last Residence and evidence of Immunization.

Front Cover, "Famous Cunarders," Published by the Cunard Line 21 March 1910.

Famous Cunarders - 1910

8-Page Booklet/Leaflet from 1910 titled "Famous Cunarders" provided an illustrated introduction to their "A"-List Cunard fleet including the Campania, Carmania & Caronia, Carpathia, Lusitania & Mauretania, Pannonia, and the Saxonia & Ivernia.

Front Cover of Tour B Itinerary Souvenir Program - European Cruise on the SS Carpathia 1913

1913-07-02 Cruise Tour B Souvenir Program - SS Carpathia

Very rare Itinerary and Souvenir Program for a European Cruise on the SS Carpathia of the Cunard Line in the year following its involvement in the rescue of the RMS Titanic.

Front Cover of a Saloon Passenger List from the SS Carpathia of the Cunard Line, Departing 4 November 1913 from Fiume to New York via Trieste, Patras, Messina, Naples, Almeria, and Gibraltar

1913-11-04 SS Carpathia Passenger List

  • Steamship Line: Cunard Line
  • Class of Passengers: Saloon
  • Date of Departure: 4 November 1913
  • Route: Fiume to New York via Trieste, Patras, Messina, Naples, Almeria, and Gibraltar
  • Commander: Captain William Prothero


Ephemera contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenirs provided to the passengers of each voyage. Many of these souvenir ephemeral items have disappeared over the years.

Our selection varies considerably by ship, and likely contains only a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.

Bookmark pages you're researching and check back periodically for additions as we continue to digitize our extensive ephemera materials.

The Cunard SS Carpathia

The SS Carpathia in the Mersey after the Voyage.

The SS Carpathia in the Mersey after the Voyage. GGA Image ID # 1415a75cff

The latest addition to the Cunard Company’s North Atlantic fleet is the twin-screw steamer Carpathian whose advent marks a new departure in the history of Atlantic travel.

Prior to 1850 steamships did not carry steerage passengers. They had to perform the ocean voyage in sailing ships, and the hardships they endured seem incredible in these days of regular, speedy and luxurious voyaging.

For years after the middle of last century the third-class passenger was tolerated rather than catered for on board steamships. The least comfortable portions of the ship were allotted to him, and of privacy and seclusion there was none, and of comfort the very minimum.

Now all this is changed, and in recognizing the necessities and desires of those classes of passengers who do not travel in the first saloon, the Cunard Line have, as was only to be expected from the pioneer North Atlantic steamship line, led the way, and needless to say, the enterprise thus manifested has brought its own reward in the shape of world-wide popularity.

The Cunard Liner SS Carpathia.

The Cunard Liner SS Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 1415c0ae2d

The latest outcome of this consistent effort to provide the maximum of accommodation and comfort for second and third class passengers is the steamship Carpathian which carries only these two classes of voyagers. Her builders are Messrs. Swan and Hunter, who achieved such a pronounced success with the Cunarder Ivernia.

The Carpathia is one of the largest of British vessels, having a gross tonnage of 13,555 tons, and the passenger who walks round the ship from bow to bow, vrâ the stern, covers a distance of close upon a quarter-of-a-mile.

But perhaps a clearer idea is given of her great size by the mention of her detailed dimensions. These are as follows : Length,560 ft.; breadth, 64 ft. 3 in.; depth to upper deck, 40 ft. 6 in.

Passengers on the Deck of the Carpathia Enjoy a Deck Race.

Passengers on the Deck of the Carpathia Enjoy a Deck Race. GGA Image ID # 1415c7a81e

The ratio of length to beam is therefore 87, and this relatively great breadth is an important factor in ensuring not only roomy passenger quarters, but what is equally important, steadiness at sea. But she does not rely upon great beam alone to secure this latter desideratum.

On each bilge of the vessel, that is, on each part of the hull where the side rounds into the bottom, are keels, known, in nautical language, as bilge keels or rolling chocks. These reduce the rolling tendency to a minimum, and thus, with her great size and beam and her side keels, the Carpathia is a phenomenally steady ship.

Another Deck Race on the Carpathia.

Another Deck Race on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 1415cd7a69

Seagoers frequently complain that on some steamers there is an excessive vibration, the hull pulsating sympathetically to each throb of the engines. On the Carpathia this vibration is absolutely non-existent. How such a desirable condition has been secured we do not know.

That is the secret of the designers and builders, but the solid fact remains that vibration is altogether eliminated. As will be seen from our illustration, the Carpathia is a handsome vessel with a graceful hull, one huge funnel and four raking masts.

The top of the funnel is 130 ft. above the bottom of the ship. To the observer this will convey some idea of the size of the craft, but it also ensures a good draught for the fires in the engine-room, and carries away all smoke right clear of the ship, so that the passengers can enjoy their promenades without any annoying descent of smoke and smuts.

View of the Second Cabin Dining Saloon on the Carpathia.

View of the Second Cabin Dining Saloon on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 14163b8b55

The Carpathia has four complete steel decks, the lower, main, upper and shelter deck ; while below the lower is the orlop deck, and below that again the cellular double-bottom, which not only serves the useful purpose of carrying water ballast but prevents the real bottom of the ship being injured should the vessel be so unfortunate as to run ashore, a contingency which has not yet happened in the long history of the Cunard Line.

Above the shelter deck is the bridge deck, 290 ft. in length, which provides a splendid promenade for passengers, and above that again is the boat deck upon which the boats are carried, and which provides shelter and shade for the promenades below.

Commencing, therefore, from the outer shell bottom of the ship, we have : inner bottom, orlop deck, lower, main, upper, shelter bridge and boat decks, structures which add much to the strength of the vessel. But it is time to speak of the passenger accommodation.

The Third Class Dining Room on the Carpathia.

The Third Class Dining Room on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 14165b0db6

On the bridge deck amidships is a steel deckhouse which contains a large number of second-class staterooms, and in its forward part a handsome library and writing-room.

Here are bookcases, writing and occasional tables, lounges, etc., while the decorations and upholstery are suggestive of good taste and solid comfort. Aft of the library is the grand staircase leading to the second—we had almost styled it first-class— dining saloon on the deck below.

At the other end of the bridge deck aft is a steel deckhouse containing the smoke-room, with bars and lavatory en suite. The smoking saloon is paneled in walnut, and is handsomely and tastefully furnished and upholstered. The second-class cabins are large and airy, and contain two or four beds, sofa, lavatories, wardrobe, etc.

A Second Cabin Two-Berthed Room on the Carpathia.

A Second Cabin Two-Berthed Room on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 141693cd22

The saloon is a handsome apartment extending the full width of the ship, and capable of dining at one sitting the full complement of second-class passengers.

Natural light is provided by nine ports on the port and starboard sides and ten ports forward, in addition to which there is a central light shaft, the dome of which is tastefully glazed with stained glass, and this, with the old gold curtains screening the ports, add considerably to the appearance of this spacious saloon, which includes among its other equipment, handsome sideboards, piano, etc.

The decorations of walls and ceiling are in cream and gold, which combine effectively with the rich upholstery and mahogany of the seating accommodation and furniture.

View of the Second Cabin Four-Berthed Cabin on the Carpathia.

View of the Second Cabin Four-Berthed Cabin on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 1416d17d2f

Needless to say, the service-rooms adjacent to the saloon are of the most up-to-date type and passengers will appreciate the double entresol where they may hang hat or wrap preparatory to entering the saloon.

The third, it might be styled second, class accommodation is on the mainland upper decks. The dining saloon extends the full width of the ship and will seat over 300 passengers.

The walls are paneled in polished oak with a teak dado, while the seating accommodation takes the form of revolving chairs. Add to this that a piano is provided; that the floor is covered with linoleum, the tables with white napery ; that the dinner and tea services are of handsome design and such as will be found in a restaurant ashore, and it will be seen how real is the effort of the Cunard Company to cater for the comfort of third-class passengers.

Third Class Smoking Room on the Carpathia.

Third Class Smoking Room on the Carpathia. GGA Image ID # 141714b705

The sleeping quarters consist of two and four berthed rooms, all done in white enamel, with lavatories, spring mattresses and bed linen en suite. No rooms contain more than four berths, and no passengers are carried in “open quarters.”

But excellent saloon and sleeping cabins do not exhaust the provision for this class of voyagers. There is a spacious smoking-room for men and a sitting-room for the opposite sex; there are deck and covered promenades, the latter of which will prove itself a great boon, judging by the manner in which similar accommodation on board thé Ivernia and Saxonia is appreciated.

View of the Third Class Ladies Sitting Room.

View of the Third Class Ladies Sitting Room. GGA Image ID # 141731ea4b

For all classes of passengers, and also for the seamen, stewards and Bremen, baths are provided, and, in fact, nothing is lacking which the long experience of the Cunard Company can suggest to make passengers as comfortable as possible.

Of course, a barber’s shop is a part of the tout ensemble. The heating and ventilating arrangements of the passenger accommodation are on a specially designed system by which fresh air, the temperature of which can be suited to the weather, is forced through the whole of the living rooms at the rate of 25,000 ft. per minute.

By this means saloons and staterooms are kept cool in hot weather and warm in cold, and that without the inmates being subjected either to draught or stuffiness.

View of the Third Class Two-Berthed Room.

View of the Third Class Two-Berthed Room. GGA Image ID # 141733378d

The sanitary arrangements are excellent for both classes of passengers. Throughout, the vessel is lighted by electricity, and there are in all about 2,000 lamps.

It will be noticed, however, that the state-rooms are provided with an alternative illuminant in the form of lamps. Thus, should anything go wrong with the electric light, there is a lamp to hand, ready for the lighting.

The precautionary addition to the artificial lighting of the ship is quite in keeping with the Cunard policy of surrounding the passenger with every possible aid to safety and comfort.

Four-Berthed Third Class Room.

Four-Berthed Third Class Room. GGA Image ID # 14177223e8

This solicitude of the Cunard Company for the safety of the lives entrusted to them is everywhere apparent. Passengers will notice that the Carpathia carries two masthead lights, one on each of the foremasts, but, of course, at different heights.

By watching these an approaching vessel can observe any alteration in her course even before the red and green sidelights come within the range of vision. We have already mentioned the double-bottom.

There are also transverse bulkheads dividing the ship into distinct water-tight compartments, and though two adjoining chambers might be open to the sea the safety of the ship would not be jeopardized.

There are two sets of engines of the quadruple-expansion type, which have been built by that renowned firm—the Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company, Limited, which means that the steam is used four times before being returned to the condenser; there are, of course, two shafts and two propellers, so that in case of accident to one engine, shaft, or propeller, the other could bring the vessel to port, and that at a not greatly reduced speed.

Passengers Relaxing on Deck in the Pentland Firtil.

Passengers Relaxing on Deck in the Pentland Firtil. GGA Image ID # 1417d71b18

Seen from the deck the engine-rooms appear a bewildering maze of gratings, iron stairways, steam pipes, levers, and heavy pieces of machinery. But when one descends from platform to platform and stands in the engine-room, what looked chaos is the most wonderful example of order and scientific method.

Even the noise of the whittling machinery doing the work of 9,000 horses is regular and methodical. Far away outside the stern of the ship revolve the propellers, and every revolution they make registers itself in the engine-room, where it can be read at a glance, the unit figure in the index hanging with a rapidity which makes the eye ache.

This automatic recording of the number of revolutions affords a check on the distance the ship is assumed to have travelled, and, of course, makes for safely. So does a wonderful contrivance which is part of the engine-room telegraph.

If the officer on the bridge rings to say “ full speed astern,” an electric gong sounds, and will not cease its discordant note until the order is carried out and the fact signified to the bridge above. This ensures direct co-operation between bridge and engine-room, and eliminates the risk of what is a very common cause of accident.

But perhaps the most wonderful sight which this or any other steamer has to show is the shafts which link the propellers with the engines. It is a walk of over 200 ft. from the engine-room to where the shaft disappears through the aftermost bulkhead. In the tunnel one can walk upright with hat on.

A steel bulkhead separates us from the twin-shaft on the other side of the ship, and here is the shaft revolving on its well-lubricated bearings, and almost noiselessly transmitting the power of 4.500 horses to the propeller revolving in the sea outside.

We are 20 ft. or more under the water here, and the funnel towers over 120 fr. above our heads. Practically, each shaft, from the engine-room to the aftermost bulkhead, runs through an hermetically sealed box 200 ft. long, for abaft the engine-room is a bulkhead the water-tight door in which would be shut from the engine-room did anything go wrong.

But what about the men in the tunnel shaft, what would become of them in such an emergency? The regard to safety is here again evident.

Right aft is a steel ladder leading through a manhole to the decks above, and thus the men attending to the lubrication of the shaft could leave the tunnel without passing through the engine room, while at the same time the closing of the bulkhead door would keep the water out of the engine-room.

It may seem somewhat unnecessary to point out these ubiquitous evidences of care and precaution, for it is the proud boast of the Cunard Line that, though their historic Britannia initiated their mail and passenger business in the year 1840, there has not during the intervening 62 or 63 years been a life or a letter lost from a Cunard vessel.

This is a marvelous record, which tells its own story of staunch ships, competent officers and crews, and a management which closely supervises every detail and leaves nothing whatever to chance.

Before the Carpathia sailed on her first voyage on the 5th inst., all her boats were tested to see that they were ready for immediate use. Every member of her crew was drilled as to his particular duty in case of emergency, each officer, sailor, fireman and steward was told off to a particular boat, and knew the part he would have to play in case of accident.

Should an alarm of fire be raised, pumps, hoses, blankets and extinguishers would be ready for use, and that by the men instructed in their manipulation. We do not mention this because there is any need to anticipate such necessities, but because this all-round vigilance and caution emphasizes the wisdom of the Cunard policy of avoiding danger by preparing for it.

And the same care which is taken to ensure safety characterizes the pains taken to secure the comfort of passengers. The table is liberal, the stewards well trained and ample in number, so that the food and service will win the admiration of each class of voyager just as the “Cunard table” on the other vessels of the North Atlantic fleet, whether first, second or third class, is justly famous for its excellence and variety.

Indeed, we may here place on that record it deserves a specimen day’s menu for the third-class in this type of Cunarder. If this be so excellent, what of others?:

Breakfast, at 8 o'clock.—

Oatmeal porridge and milk, fried fresh fish, steak and onions, bread and butter, jam or marmalade, tea or coffee.

Dinner, at 1 o'clock. —

Soup, ling fish, mutton hot pot, potatoes and vegetables, rice pudding, bread, pickles. Tea,

at 5 o'clock. —

Stewed apricots and rice, bread and butter, tea, jam or marmalade.

Supper daily.

Gruel at 8 pm. Chicken broth, beef tea, and jellies supplied to invalids, Special milk supplied to infants and invalids. The best quality of cabin bread, also Scandinavian bread, supplied to third-class passengers.

The bills of fare are varied daily at the discretion of the dhief steward. Special attention is paid to the supplying of extra comforts for women and children, and those who are sick, at such times as are required.

Of course the Carpathia carries a doctor, and has well-appointed surgeries and hospitals where male and female passengers can be treated. Her first voyage is to Boston, after which she will run in conjunction with the Aurania in the Tuesday service of the Cunard Company between Liverpool and New York.

The second cabin fare to Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore, is from £8 upwards, while the third-class rate is £5 15s. The latter fare is a striking example of the high state of economical excellence to which ocean voyaging has now attained, and suggests a contrast with railway travel, to the disadvantage, of course, of the latter.

The distance of New York from Liverpool is 3,240 miles, and the rate of £5 15s. works out at less than one halfpenny per mile, although comfortable lodging and excellent board are included. And now our task of telling the tale of the new Cunarder as a mighty ship—one of a new type—is over.

How it has been done we leave to the reader and voyager. With their praise shall we be satisfied! There is but left for us to thank the courtesy of Dr. Benedict W. Ginsburg, unvarying, like his skill, for sundry snap-shots of guests on that charming passage which did so much to give the fine new Tyneside product a well-fitting and hearty send-off on her voyage over the face of the waters.

"The Cunard SS Carpathia," in The Syren and Shipping: A Weekly Illustratede Journal, Vol. XXVII, No. 349, Wednesday, 6 May 1903, p. 250-255.

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