Saving Face © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 4 x 5.75 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
When someone is attempting to protect their reputation it is said they are "saving face". One person who found it difficult to save his face was J. Bruce Ismay, the managing director of the White Star Line. He was among over seven hundred survivors of the line's pride and joy, Titanic, when it sank in the Atlantic in 1912 on its maiden voyage. Over two thousand did not survive, including many women and children. The "code of the sea" when a ship is sinking, which states "women and children first" was often mentioned when it was learned there were not enough lifeboats on the Titanic to accommodate all the passengers and crew. Unsubstantiated rumors circulated that Ismay was pressuring Captain White (who went down with his ship) to break a speed record, even though they were approaching an area reportedly containing icebergs. The fact that Ismay (neither a woman nor a child, and traveling 1st class, and the managing director of the line) found space in a lifeboat, made him an even bigger target for criticism.

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