Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Elbert

From a 2007 City Journal article by Stefan Kanfer on Elbert Hubbard: It was the last attribute that cost him his life. On a mission to see Kaiser Wilhelm II and stop World War I in its tracks, he and his second wife, Alice, boarded a ship to Europe. At dockside in New York City, Hubbard ebulliently informed reporters that he was a negotiator without portfolio, an “ex-officio General Inspector of the Universe, with power to investigate anything in any way I choose, as long as I do not violate the Pure-Food laws.” The inspector never reached his destination. On the morning of May 7, 1915, as the RMS Lusitania cut through the Irish Sea, a German torpedo hit her prow. She sank in 18 minutes. Among the 1,190 victims who drowned were Elbert and Alice, last seen arm in arm as they headed for their stateroom.

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