The Titanic was extremely ill-prepared for disaster. There was enough space on the lifeboats for only a third of the passengers and crew, and many of the boats were launched half full or below capacity. Of the crew members, only 23 percent survived. Women and children boarded first as per maritime custom. However, this was still meted out according to class. While 97 percent of first-class women survived, only 31 percent of the children in steerage lived. At the same time, only 13 percent of men in steerage survived.
Many of the men who did manage to escape faced social ostracism for their perceived cowardice, including White Star Managing Director J. Bruce Ismay. All told, more than 1,500 people died in this disaster. When Cunard’s Carpathia arrived on site the next morning, only 705 people in lifeboats waited for them. Pictured here is Titanic Capt. Edward John Smith in 1911, who perished aboard his ship.