This week in Newspaper Sunday we take a look at news coverage of the Great Eastern, which arrived in New York Harbor and caused a sensation in the last week of June 1860.
The colossal ship had been undergoing sea trials in September 1859 when Brunel, believed to have been driven to exhaustion by his unending work on it, died. And an explosion on the ship reinforced the notion that the Great Eastern was jinxed.
When it arrived in New York City, the great metropolis was impressed, and crowds flocked to see it. But the "Monster Ship," as the newspapers called it, was never profitable the concept of a huge ocean liner was decades ahead of its time even if it was an engineering marvel.
- New York Tribune, September 27, 1859: A vivid report of the explosion aboard the Great Eastern during its sea trials.
- Ashtabula Weekly Telegraph, October 8, 1859: The death of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in late September 1859 was news in the American heartland, and Brunel's brilliant steamships were prominently mentioned.
- New York Tribune, June 29, 1860: An improvised reception of small boats welcomed the Great Eastern when it appeared in New York Harbor.
- New York Tribune, June 29, 1860: An extensive account of the Great Eastern's passage across the Atlantic.
Note: After using the links above, click the "persistent link" at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress to see the entire page of the newspaper. And try to spend time navigating about in the vintage newspapers, which are endlessly fascinating.
Illustration: The Great Eastern depicted at its dock in New York City/Library of Congress
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