Families of survivors of the Titanic disaster gathered with reporters and photographers on April 18, 1912 and waited in the rain at Pier 54 for the arrival of their loved ones.

On April 18, 1912, families of survivors of the Titanic disaster gathered with reporters and photographers on Pier 52, and waited in the rain for the arrival of their loved ones.

It was as though even the weather was conspiring against them on the evening of April 18, 1912. Odd stood, pencil and pad in hand, at the Cunard Line’s pier waiting for the arrival of the Carpathia and the survivors of the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Surprisingly, he had been assigned the job of field editor. He was grateful that his boss at the Evening Mail hadn’t stuck him in their makeshift headquarters in a cheap, rundown diner on West Street, opposite the pier.

Lightening lit up the sky, periodically giving the water a ghostly look through the fog that had rolled in earlier.

It was a night of howling wind and rain and a drenched city turned out to welcome survivors. For the early morning edition I assembled facts turned in by others and wrote the lead that occupied a double column down page 1 with a jump head inside—all under an 8 column banner line.
O. O. McIntyre

At just twenty-eight years old, Odd was in the middle of the story of a lifetime, and the pressure to deliver was great. Just weeks earlier, he had been certain his days at the copy desk of the Evening Mail were numbered, so in many ways, what had been the end for so many was a second chance for him.

Confusion and desperation for news and information first led to false and incomplete stories printed in newspapers around the world. Eventually, the White Star Line was able to confirm for reporters that 1,503 people had died.

In the first days after the crew of the Carpathia, a Cunard Line ship, pulled the Titanic’s survivors from the lifeboats, very little was known about the fate of the ship or its passengers. Radio communication was still new and wireless messages were misinterpreted, resulting in initial reports that no passengers had died in the accident. The White Star Line, the British shipping company that owned and operated the Titanic, first told family members that it was merely damaged.

The stories Odd and his team wrote from the interviews they managed to get in the hours following the survivors’ arrival in New York gave Evening Mail readers a glimpse into a horrible night of death, sacrifice, and cowardice.

After working more than forty-eight hours, Odd returned home to get some sleep. Three hours after he drifted off, Maybelle couldn’t resist waking him up to show him the early edition of the Evening Mail. In 12-point type was the byline, “by O. O. McIntyre.” As sleepy as he was, he read the story at least a dozen times.

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