Figure 1.--These two children survivied the Titantic disaster in 1912, There seems to be contradictory information about who the children are. The photo has a notation at the top reading "Louis & Lola? Titanic survivors", but the Bain Collection from which the photo comes identifies the children as Louis and Edmond Narvatic as the two children. Source: Bain Collection--Library of Congress.

Michel and Edmond Narvatic (United States, 1912)

These two children survivied the Titantic disaster in 1912, There seems to be contradictory information about who the children are. The photo has a notation at the top reading "Louis & Lola? Titanic survivors", but the Bain Collection from which the photo comes identifies the children as Louis and Edmond Narvatic as the two children. I tend to trust the Bain designation since both of the children look like boys to me and since the notation on the photo itself has a question mark after the names. It has been suggested that the photo might have been taken on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued some of the Titanic survivors, but the background of the photo showing a playground with a wire fence and wooden wall with some leafless shrubery does not look like the setting one would find on a ship. I think the photo must have been taken on land, possibly in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where most of the survivors were taken. There is a famous cemetery in Halifax where a number of the Titanic victims were buried.

The Titanic Disaster (1912)

The sea lanes between Europe and North America were the most important in the world. The industrialization of the United States had greated an economic giant that had begun to rival Europe which in the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of the industrial revolution had become the economic center of the world. In addition to the agricultural, mineral, and industrial products, a lucrative part of the trans-Atlantic trade was the huge number of European emigrants seeking a new future in the United States and Canada. At the time this required an oceanic voyage. Several steamship companies competed for this trade which was extremely lucrative. The most important was British and German companies. The British White Star Line was one of the most important. They contracted Harland and Wolff to serve on the Atlantic route. RMS Titantic at the time was the fastest and most luxurious ocean liner ever built. The accomodations in sterrage where most immigrants traveled were better than the accomodations for better paying passengers on other stramships. Titanic had a capacity of 46,329 GRT. It was 269 meters long and 28 meters wide at its widest point. Titanic to serve on the Atlantic route. White Star advertized Titanic as not only luxurious and fast, but unsinkable. It was widely seen as a technological wonder of the day--emblematic of the optomistic attitude toward technology and progress in the years before World War I. Titanic sailed from Southampton and after a stop in ??? (Ireland) set off fir New York. The captain hoped to set a speed record for an Atlantic crossing on the maiden voyage and disregarded warnngs of sea ice because he believed that the vessel actually was unsinkable. Titanic just before midnight collided with a huge iceberg (April 14, 1912). More than 1,500 people including the captain and other ship personnel perished when the great ship sank. Included among thise lost were many of the rich and famous as many had booked passage on Titanic as it was such a major event. The American millionaires Benjamin Guggenheim, Isodor Straus, and John Astor were among the victims. But even more than the individual victims, the Titanic disaster showed the limits of technology and had a huge impact on public opinion.

The Child Survivors

These two children survivied the Titantic disaster in 1912, There seems to be contradictory information about who the children are. The photo has a notation at the top reading "Louis & Lola? Titanic survivors", but the Bain Collection from which the photo comes identifies the children as Louis and Edmond Narvatic as the two children. We tend to trust the Bain designation since both of the children look like boys to me and since the notation on the photo itself has a question mark after the names. It has been suggested that the photo might have been taken on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued some of the Titanic survivors, but the background of the photo showing a playground with a wire fence and wooden wall with some leafless shrubery does not look like the setting one would find on a ship. I think the photo must have been taken on land, possibly in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where most of the survivors were taken. There is a famous cemetery in Halifax where a number of the Titanic victims were buried.

Identification

A HBC reader writes, "You showed this photo last year, and I remember looking up the list of the Titanic Survivours in my copy of the book, A Night to Remember. This does not list any survivors with the name Navratil. Here is the answer. It has their names listed as Hoffman. I gleaned this from the Library of Congress collection on Flickr. which shows the same photo of the two boys and the following comment. 'Photo taken before the 'orphans' of the Titanic were correctly identified and returned to their mother. The boys are French brothers Michel (age 4) and Edmond Navratil (age 2). To board the ship, their father assumed the name Louis Hoffman and used their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon. Their father died in the disaster of the RMS TITANIC, which struck an iceberg in April 1912 and sank, killing more than 1,500 people. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008) which forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)."

Clothing

Louis, the older boy, wears a tunic suit with loosely buttoned belt, striped knickers, white long stockings and hightop shoes with side buttons. He is holding a ball and looks to be about 4 or 5 years old. The younger child (Edmond?) wears a one-piece romper suit with self-belt, white long stockings, and ankle-strap shoes. Edmond looks no older than 2 or 3 years old. Notice that Edmond seems to be holding a model of a ship--possibly a small replica of the Titanic. A reader remonds us, "Edmond can't be holding a model of the Titanic. The Titanic had four smock stacks. The toy ship has just two." The Titanic was indeed a four stacker. What we find a little suprising is that after his experience on Titanic that the boy would be given a toy ship.







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Created: 7:23 PM 9/27/2006
Last edited: 10:01 AM 12/2/2010