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Mail Bundle Facing Slip

R.M.S. is short for Royal Mail Steamer. Titanic was registered as a mail carrier. While the Titanic disaster was full of personal tragedies, some of the cruelest involved the postal clerks, none of whom survived.

This facing slip was recovered from the body of Amerian mail clerk, Oscar Scott Woody. Facing slips were put on bundles of mailgoing to specific towns. This mail facing slip showed the mail was destined for Boston, Springfield and New York. The Titanic's postmark is shown on the cover.

There were five postal clerks on board Titanic: Americans Oscar Scott Woody, John Starr March, and William Logan Gwinn and British postal works James Betrram Williamson and John Richard Jago Smith. During the Titanic's frantic final hours, the postal clerks along with steward Albert Theissinger and others desperately tried to save the 200 sacks of registered mail by dragging them to the upper decks. Theissinger was the only one to survive. When he finally abandoned the seamingly suicidal task, the five mail clerks were still at work, sloshing through waist deep freezing water.

Mail clerk Oscar Woody was recently married. On April 15, 1912 he was happily celebrating his 44th birthday at the stern of the ship with his fellow collegues when Titanic hit the iceberg. He died on his birthday.

American sea postal clerks, like Oscar Scott Woody, earned about $1,000 a year. This was considered a small fortune by the standards of the times, especially since they traveled aboard luxurious vessels, took their meals in a separate dining room, and were alloted an allowance for their board while in a foreign country.