Exhibitions

As in any hotel, virtually every object used by passengers carried the ship’s, or at the very least the line’s name and logo. There is a practical if somewhat morbid rationale for labeling a life preserver [110] with a ship’s name, but in other cases the sole impulse was promotional. As a marketing device this made good sense. Officers habitually gave certain items, like cups and saucers [111], to special guests as mementos of their passage.

Decks of cards [112] and the like were sold aboard ship. Some items were available for free but were intended to be used only aboard ship, such as scoring pads for bridge [113]. Accoutrements for general use—like stationary portfolios [114], room keys [115], and ashtrays [116]—were supposed to stay with the ship from voyage to voyage.

A significant number of passengers pocketed keepsakes after each voyage, and the replacement costs could be exorbitant. According to a Cunard spokesman, when the Britannic “made her maiden voyage to New York [in 1930], we lost $55,000 worth of silverware alone”—about $750,000 in today’s currency.

114. Cunard Line

Queen Mary (1936-67)
playing cards. 9.5 × 6 cm.
Courtesy of the Akadim Collection

115. Red Star Line

Belgenland (1923-35)
ashtray. 11.5 × 10.5 cm.
Courtesy of the Akadim Collection

116. Gdynia-American Line

Cup and saucer with seal comprising a trident and the initials PMH: Polska Marynarka Handlowa (Polish merchant marine).
Circa 1982. 9.5 × 14.5 cm.
Courtesy of the Akadim Collection

117. United States Lines

The Hales Trophy.
Postcard, 14 × 9 cm.
Gift, American Merchant Marine Museum

118. Cunard Line

Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969-2008)
lifejacket, manufactured by the Nicki Clothing Company, Ltd.,
Isle of Man. J.A.C. 66 × 35 cm.
Courtesy of the Akadim Collection

119. United States Lines

First Class Stateroom wanted on voyage
baggage tag. n.d. 8 × 16.5 cm.
Gift, American Merchant Marine Museum

120. United States Lines

Eastbound Ticket to Europe, No. 125020.
After 1966. 8 × 20 cm.
Gift, American Merchant Marine Museum

121. United States Lines

Bridge Score Pad.
n.d. 18 × 10 cm.
Gift, American Merchant Marine Museum