Sunday, August 14, 2016

Louise Brooks’ 1928 Trans-Atlantic Voyage to Europe

This guest post, by past guest blogger Philip Vorwald, offers new details about one of Louise Brooks trans-Atlantic journeys. Philip wrote, "I was investigating the White Star Line for a friend when I thought about her trip to Germany in 1928. On a lark, I plugged a few things in, and found out an interesting error regarding her trip.  She did not sail on the S.S. Majestic."

R.M.S. Majestic

Louise Brooks left New York harbor on October 6, 1928 at midnight, bound for Cherbourg, France. The ship she was sailing on would continue through to Southampton, England, but she would disembark in France for Paris, and then on to Berlin by train to film Pandora’s Box later in the fall of 1928.

Barry Paris’ biography of Louise Brooks states she sailed on the S.S. Majestic. My research into this voyage shows the name of the vessel to be incorrect. She actually sailed for France aboard the R.M.S. Majestic. This is not just a simple moniker name error. They were two completely different ships, operating at two different time periods.

There were two (2) White Star Liners with the name Majestic. The first, known as the S.S. Majestic, ran from 1889 to 1914. It was built by Harland and Wolff Shipyards in Belfast. She was de-commissioned and  scrapped in 1914, 14 years before Louise’s voyage. She couldn’t have been on it.

At the time, the S.S. Majestic was one of the largest and fastest trans-Atlantic liners. By the early 1900s, however, she was getting too old and too slow, so the White Star Line commissioned a new, larger vessel that was to replace the S.S. Majestic, and this vessel was also was built by Harland and Wolff Shipyards in Belfast. This ship was launched as the R.M.S. Titanic.

The second “Majestic” was the R.M.S. Majestic. This ship was originally built in Germany in 1914 and named the S.S. Bismarck. After WWI, the Germans handed the vessel over to the British, who renamed it the R.M.S. Majestic.

The R.M.S. Majestic served with the White Star Line from 1922 to 1934, running a common route from New York to Cherbourg / Southampton. Then she ran with the Cunard White Star Line company from 1934 to 1937. She sank on 1939, and was raised and scrapped in 1943.

Thus, Louise Brooks sailed on the R.M.S. Majestic, of the original White Star Line, in 1928. 

R.M.S. Majestic leaving New York harbor

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