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Subject: Jack Eaton, RMS Titanic Historian and Author

Dies at 94
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Date Posted: Friday, January 29, 11:03:01am

John Paul Eaton
May 27, 1926 – January 29, 2021

Titanic International Society mourns the passing of one of its co-founders and its sole historian, John P. Eaton, on Friday, January 29, 2021 at age 94 after a brief illness.

“Jack,” as he preferred to be called, first became entranced by Titanic’s story at age 20, upon seeing artist Harper Goff’s painting of the sinking liner in the July 1946 issue of Esquire magazine. It was the start of a lifelong, passionate interest that would take him to three continents researching Titanic’s story.

Jack was co-author with TIS President Charles Haas of five highly regarded books: Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, Titanic: Destination Disaster, Falling Star: Misadventures of White Star Line Ships, Titanic: The Exhibition and Titanic: A Journey Through Time.

Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy featured Eaton and Haas’s many remarkable Titanic research discoveries, including first publication of the ship’s cargo stowage plan, cargo manifest, ticketing list, details of post-sinking lawsuits, the first full account of Halifax’s post-disaster role, the most detailed deck plans and a comprehensive passenger list, accompanied by an authoritative 50,000-word text. By its third edition (2011), it came to include more than 1,000 photographs, and some called it “The Titanic Bible.” Jack was a frequent contributor to the Society’s quarterly journal, Voyage, most notably with his unique column “Titanic-Related Ships,” which profiled the histories of dozens of vessels having direct connections to Titanic’s story.

He and Haas were invited to the National Geographic Society’s Washington headquarters to identify portions of the wreck seen in Robert Ballard’s first photographs in 1985, and in January 1988 they traveled to Sydney, Australia to assist with the design and content of a proposed Titanicexhibition in that city’s new maritime museum. On June 11, 1993, at age 67, Jack became the most senior person then to make the perilous 12,500-foot dive to Titanic’s wreck. He was co-historian on the Titanic Research and Recovery Expeditions of 1993, 1996 and 1998, participated in a life broadcast via satellite from the wreck site in 1998, and was featured in innumerable television and radio programs about the lost liner. In March 2009, he and Haas were honored with South Street Seaport Museum’s prestigious “Silver Riband Award” for “their outstanding research on RMS Titanic and the White Star Line; for their lifetime of dedication to the history of the Titanic and for enhancing and extending our understanding of the great ocean liners.” He was a featured lecturer during the 2012 Titanic Memorial Cruise.

At this writing, plans for a commemoration and celebration of Jack’s remarkable life have not been finalized, and the Society will keep his many worldwide friends informed through our social media platforms: website http://www.titanicinternationalsociety.org, our Facebook page, and our Instagram and Twitter accounts. We plan a memorial edition of Voyage to be published this spring, and welcome TIS members’ memories and stories about Jack over the years. Contributions in MS Word may be sent to voyageeditor@aol.com, with the subject line “Eaton tribute,” or postally mailed to the address below, with the envelope marked “Eaton Tribute.”

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory will be gratefully received by Titanic International Society, P.O. Box 416, Midland Park, NJ 07432-0416 USA, or by one’s favorite charity, especially those preserving ocean liner history or supporting classical music.


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