Park University, which has a unique Kansas City area connection to the Titanic, will commemorate the centennial of the ship's sinking with a special exhibit in the McAfee Memorial Library on the University's Parkville Campus. The exhibit, on display Monday, April 2, through Tuesday, July 31, will include items related to the Titanic and the time period, as well as pictures of two Park alumni who, along with their 10-month-old child, survived the ship's sinking off the coast of Newfoundland on April 15, 1912.
Albert and Sylvia Harbaugh Caldwell, both 1909 graduates of Park, and their son, Alden Gates Caldwell, were returning to the U.S. from a mission trip in Siam (now Thailand) when they boarded the ship in Southampton, England. Their story of what happened on the night of the sinking mirrors that of other survivors and was included in the June 1912 edition of the Alumniad, Park's alumni magazine at the time. Every April for many years, reporters sought out the Caldwells because of their remarkable story of survival. They were one of the few families to have survived intact and, to make the tale even more compelling, Albert was one of only 14 second-class male passengers to survive out of 168.
The story of the Caldwells has resurfaced recently with the release of the book, A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival, written by Albert's great-niece, Julie Hedgepeth Williams, Ph.D. Williams wrote and researched the book using recollections of her great-uncle and research from Albert's grandson, Charles Caldwell, Ph.D., among other relatives. She also utilized resources from various institutions, including material provided by Carolyn Elwess, Park University archivist, who oversees Park's Fishburn Archives and Special Collections. Williams will discuss the book on Sunday, April 15 -- the centennial commemoration of the Titanic's sinking -- at the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The event, which is co-sponsored by Park, will begin at 2 p.m.
In addition to pictures of the Caldwell family during and after their time at Park, the University's exhibit will feature 1912 sheet music and books about the sinking, and contemporary articles and poems from magazines, including the original report on "The Loss of the Titanic" from the May 28, 1912, issue of the Congressional Record of the Sixty-Seventh United States Congress.
The McAfee Memorial Library is located in Park's underground Mabee Learning Center, which can be entered through Millsap Foyer. Admission is free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and 4 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through the spring semester. For summer hours beginning May 12, call (816) 584-6285.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Elwess at firstname.lastname@example.org.