The east face of the pedestal incorporates the year of dedication (1931) and the sculptor's name. The rear features the following inscription:
To the young and the old
The rich and the poor
The ignorant and the learned
Who gave their loves nobly
To save women and children
The top of the pedestal incorporates a band of shallow relief featuring stylized waves. Above, a partially-draped male nude stands on an uneven block with irregular horizontal markings. The representational figure and long flowing drapery are rendered abstractly. The man's face points toward the sky, while his arms extend outward with the folds of the drapery suggesting cuffs. The overt crucifix-form, without any sense of pain in the body or face, evokes heroism and optimism. The use of the striated standing block, alludes to the three-step base on a Calvary Cross (representing the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity).
The memorial, which had stood in a private gallery in New York City for more than a decade while the varies requisite approvals were obtained and the site was readied, was finally erected in 1930 at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. The dedication ceremony was held on May 26, 1931. Historic photographs reveal that the memorial sat on the western edge of the parkway. In 1968, as a result of the obliteration of the southern end of New Hampshire Ave to allow for the construction of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Titanic Memorial was then relocated to the Southwest Waterfront Park.
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sculptor
Henry Bacon, architect
DC Inventory: February 22, 2007
National Register: October 12, 2007