J. Arthur Rank’s promotional book for the 1958 film “A Night to Remember” is a key in the Titanic Historical Society’s history and The Titanic Commutator. Ed Kamuda wrote to all eighty-seven survivors listed in the promotional book (for US theater operators) and seventy-five responded. They were thrilled that someone was interested in their personal experiences a half century later. When he asked if they would write down their recollections, they were touched by the young man’s sincerity and many became lifelong friends. It was their written accounts that was the foundation of The Titanic Commutator (that would appear when the organization was formed).
On Sunday July 7, 1963, five young people (Ed Kamuda, Joe Carvalho, Frank Casilio, Bob Gibbons, John Eaton and Mike Ravetti) met at the Kamuda home in Indian Orchard, MA and formed the Titanic Enthusiasts of America (TEA) changed to Titanic Historical Society in 1975. The organization’s mission is preserving the history of RMS Titanic, Olympic, Britannic and the White Star Line. The glue that held the group together was, The Titanic Commutator, the quarterly journal Kamuda began still in continuous publication, now managed by his wife, Karen, who is also a shipping history buff.
In 1963 thirty of the remaining survivors became Honor Members. There were 41 Honor Members: Walter Lord, Wilton H. Oldham, Leslie Harrison, William McQuitty, Comdr. Joseph G. Boxhall, George T. Rowe, Gus Cohen, Edith Russell Cook, John Podesta, Leo J. Hyland, George Kemish, Laura Buzzell, Alfred Pugh, John B. Ryerson, Washington Dodge, Edith Haisman, Mrs. Jacques Futrelle, Fred Dent Ray, Amy McMicken, Wilfred D. Seward, Walter Williams, Ed Ryan, Rene Harris, Katherine Manning, Celiney A. Decker, Violet C. Jessop, Lawrence Beesley, Edwina Corrigan, Albert Caldwell, Sylvia Mercherle, Eva Hart, R. Norris Williams, Mrs. E. Darby, Reginald Burgess, Osgood Williams, Frederick Fleet, Mrs. Arthur H. Cook, Mrs. Frank Aks.
Kamuda filled Commutator pages with new or little-known facts about Titanic, riveting survivor accounts and other ocean liners. Members loved reading the original survivors’ experiences from the handwritten letters Kamuda possessed.
The journal was mailed to members worldwide, the information was new and is permanently recorded as Kamuda wanted. As time passed, well known authors on Titanic, shipping history, Harland & Wolff, the White Star Line, Titanic documentaries and films, maritime art and collectibles, etc. have and continue to contribute fascinating and original articles.