Some of Ruth’s memories became dialogues in James Cameron’s film Titanic, which were spoken by Gloria Stewart in the film. In one scene, when Rose looks at the ruins of the ship, she is reminded of the ship. In the scene, she breaks her silence and says, ‘It’s been 84 years and I can still smell the fresh paint. China was never used. Never slept in the beds.’ In a 1990 article on Ruth in online THS magazine The Titanic Commutator, Don explained how the novelty of everything was to him the biggest aspect of the ship.
Ruth and Don meeting
Don first met Ruth in 1982, when she was 82 years old. During that memorable meeting at his Los Angeles home, Don learns of Ruth’s beautiful childhood in India. As the youngest person at the time of the Titanic sinking, Ruth recounted her ordeal in an American children’s magazine in 1913. After that, she remained silent for almost 70 years. When she started talking about it again in the eighties and when Don met her, her children also got to know the backstory. In the 1990s, Don was hired by Cameron as she prepared to shoot the film. She was part of the first team to dive into the Atlantic wreck.
Ruth remembered every destruction of Titanic
Don says, ‘Ruth was 90 years old when she died. At that time there were many survivors who were older than him but they were not telling a good story. They were like a broken record repeating the same thing. Dawn joined THS in 1974 and has been on a search for wrecks since her high school. Walter Lord’s 1955 classic ‘A Night to Remember’, which chronicles the final hours of Titanic, proved to be a turning point for Dawn. She became addicted to Titanic.
the strange tales of the titanic
THS was created in 1963 by Edward Kamuda, historian and Titanic researchers. All of them had devoted their lives in their research to know the stories of the people aboard that wrecked ship. Don joined THS because of her skills in one of the greatest maritime disasters in history. She is now a historian of THS and has been instrumental in bringing out ‘The Titanic Commutator’, a priceless truth to Titanic scholars and people around the world.
Ruth’s relationship with India
According to Dawn, Ruth’s father Alan Oliver Baker served as a missionary in India. After marrying Nellie E. Baumgardner, Bakers left for India in 1898 and landed in Guntur in December of the same year. They settled at Narasropet, about 45 km from Guntur. Ruth was born in 1899. She was reportedly the first Caucasian baby born in Guntur. He attended a boarding school in Kodaikanal. In 1907 his brother Luther died of tetanus. His siblings, Marion and Richard, were also born in India.
left the country for fear of losing the child
Bakers could not adapt to the harsh climate of India. Nelly was afraid she might lose another child, so she wanted to leave the country. On March 7, 1912, Nelly and the children moved from Madras to London. His journey lasted about a month and on 10 April he boarded a train to Southampton and finally on 12 April boarded the Titanic. Don further said, ‘He took Titanic only because he had to go to America. Being the first Journey, it had nothing to do with it. They just took the next ship and it was Titanic.
And like this Ruth never returned to India…
Don recalls Ruth telling how she could not speak to the people around her because their English was too similar to Telugu. He also told how his mother had sewn a $100 bill to his coat before he boarded the ship and most of his companions were dead. The Bakers survived the drowning, but none of them came back to India. Ruth’s father, Reverend Baker, wanted to come because he loved India. But his mother did not let him come. Climate, famine, pandemic, the loss of a child and then the sinking of the Titanic, obviously why would anyone want to. They decided that she would never cross the ocean again. Ruth also never came back.’
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