Open post

“For Those Few Minutes, the Ship Was Alive Again”: Adolphe Saalfeld

"For Those Few Minutes, the Ship was Alive Again": Adolphe Saalfeld

Adolphe Saalfeld called himself a chemical merchant.

More specifically, he was a self-made man of business who dealt in perfumes. 

His wholesale firm, called Sparks-White & Co., Ltd., was a distillery of fragrance, created by chemists and marketed for global distribution. Adolphe was its head chairman.

Adolphe, who was 47 years old, was bound for America on a pleasure trip: he planned to see Niagara Falls, and visit both Montreal and Chicago.

He also traveled with the intention to promote his perfumes as a wholesale distributor to potential clientele, or perhaps establish a brand-new stateside outlet for his perfumes.

He boarded the Titanic in Southampton on April 10, 1912, as a First-class passenger. Adolphe would occupy a cabin on C Deck.

With him, he carried leather satchels, which altogether contained over 60 small vials of perfume oils.

Before officially embarking, Adolphe had taken a tour of the ship with his nephew and fellow chemist, Paul Danby. Paul wrote back to his wife in awe of Titanic’s luxuries, describing it as “wonderfully appointed.”

Adolphe wrote a letter to his own wife, Gertrude, on the same day. In this and subsequent letters, he calls her “Wifey.”

Both Adolphe and Paul took pride in believing that they had written the very first letters on board Titanic.

Adolphe would write a second letter to his beloved Gertrude later in the evening. 

"Dear Wifey,

...It is not nice to travel alone and leave you behind. I think you will have to come next time... I have a small table for two to myself. I had a very good dinner and to finish had two cigars in the smoke room and shall now go to bed as I am tired... 

So far, apart from occasional remarks I have not spoken to anyone. I want to keep quiet and have a thorough rest. As I do not know whether I will be up in time for the mail at Queenstown, I am posting this letter tonight. A kiss for you and love to all from your loving husband."

Citation from "On Board R.M.S. Titanic" by George Behe, 2012.

Adolphe was very clear in his intention to preserve his solitude on the journey. And so--outside of his own correspondence to Gertrude--his movements throughout the voyage are not well-documented.

At the time of the collision with iceberg on April 14th, Adolphe reported that he was in the First-class Smoking Lounge.

He also wrote that the iceberg was more than visible to the passengers as Titanic scraped by.

In smoking room on Sunday night 11.45 -- slight jar felt which for a moment made us think some breakage machinery, but soon engines stopped and stepping from verandah cafe iceberg plainly seen and felt.

Citation from "On Board R.M.S. Titanic" by George Behe, 2012.

To date, it has not been proven which lifeboat saved Adolphe Saalfeld on the night Titanic sank. But it is often reported to have been Lifeboat No. 3. 

This boat, along with all the other odd-numbered vessels, was launched from the starboard side by First Officer William Murdoch—who, in spite of the Captain’s decree—permitted men to board lifeboats once women and children were scant about.

Adolphe seems to have taken to a lifeboat early in the sinking. He left all of his belongings behind--including the satchels that carried his perfume samples.

"...saw boats being lowered and noticed general reluctance people going into them. Then I saw a few men and women go into a boat and I followed and when lowered pushed off, and rowed some distance fearing suction in case Titanic sinking -- All expected to go back after damage patched up, but as we drifted away gradually, saw Titanic sink lower and lower and finally lights on her went out, and others in my boat said that they saw her disappear. Our boat was then nearly 2 miles away but pitiful cries could be plainly heard."

Citation from "On Board R.M.S. Titanic" by George Behe, 2012.

After the sinking, Adolphe’s plans for his new American parfumerie do not appear to have been fruitful; it is likely that they were entirely undermined. As an affluent male survivor of the Titanic disaster, Adolphe was reported ostracized from society.

He returned to England and his beloved Wifey, Gertrude.

Family members later claimed that Adolphe’s experiences on Titanic robbed him of sound sleep for the rest of his life.

He reportedly took the calling upon his chauffeur, a man known as Patch, to drive him about the emptied streets into the wee hours of the morning, until he could at last doze off.

Adolphe Saalfeld passed away in 1926 at the age of 61.

But his was a story unfinished, even with his death.

In 2000, a leather satchel was recovered from the Titanic's wreck site. Crumbling but whole after nearly nine decades on the seafloor, the bag still bore Adolphe's name.

His perfume samples were still contained within. A few vials had broken open, but most were found to be intact.

Historian, artifact curator, and Titanic expert Bill Sauder described the moment that Adolphe Saalfeld's satchel was opened to the world above, for the first time since 1912.

"The one thing I'll remember about Titanic artifacts until the day I die is when the Saalfeld perfume vials came up.

When you recover things from the Titanic: it's wet; it's rusty, and it's rotten. And the smell that comes off of it is perfectly alien, perfectly fetid; you know it's a kind of death you have never experienced.

And so the lab is kind of unpleasant. And then all of a sudden somebody opens up this satchel--this leather satchel--and out comes the fragrance of heaven... It's all these flowers and fruity flavors, and it's delicious. It's the most wonderful thing you've ever had.

It was just a complete overwhelming experience. It was like, all of a sudden the fragrance of heaven, you know, kind of moves through the room. So instead of being surrounded by all of these dead things, um... for those few minutes, the ship was alive again."

The memory of this extraordinary, ethereal moment moved Mr. Sauder to tears.

Open post

“Curses and Prayers Filled the Air”: Robert Williams Daniel & Eloise Hughes Smith

"Curses and Prayers Filled the Air": Robert Williams Daniel

Robert Williams Daniel stood dazed and determined on the Carpathia, knocking on a stranger's door and wearing an oversized suit that wasn't even his.

At 27 years old, Robert had survived the sinking of the Titanic--although no one, including himself, seemed to know exactly how.

But however he was saved from the ocean, the third-hand account from the Carpathia's medical officer attests to Robert having been saved in a red "woolen sleeping garment" or nightshirt, and shoes. Robert also reportedly wore his late father's pocket watch tied around his neck.

Carpathia's physician, Dr. Arpad Lengyel, had been assigned to attend to Titanic's steerage survivors. And since this is where he first treated Robert, who he found to be "delirious"--insisting he was a doctor himself--and underclothed.

So Dr. Lengyel, believing Robert was a colleague in the medical field in a pitiful state, gave him his own suit to wear. Robert reportedly had no recollection of this interaction when Dr. Lengyel tended to him the next day.

When it was discovered that Robert was, in fact, a First-class passenger of the sunken ship, he was transferred to an alternate area of the Carpathia.

And then, on a ship full of widows, Robert eventually set out to befriend the bereaved newlywed from West Virginia: Eloise Hughes Smith.

Standing before the doorway of her cabin--lacerations on his bruised face, wearing "a pair of trousers large enough for a giant [and] a blue shirt he had bought from the Carpathia's barber"--the still-reeling Robert offered his companionship to 18-year-old Eloise, so that she might feel protected while the survivors awaited the Carpathia's arrival in New York City.

She was newly pregnant, suddenly widowed, and absolutely inconsolable. Barely three months earlier, she had been another man's bride.

When Robert disembarked Carpathia with Eloise in his arms, she was reportedly "in a fainting condition." They were some of the first to appear on the ship's gangway.

After Robert had parted ways with Eloise and her father on the quay, his mother found him despite the fact she barely recognized him. The New York Sun reported that he was  "total wreck" and almost too weak to stand. Reporters swarmed him immediately, and his confused--and confusing--narrative unfolded.

Robert reportedly "reeled" at least once, and removed himself to lean on a railing to steady and compose himself.

"Let me smoke a cigarette before we go on," he is reported as having said at last.

The reporters pressed Robert about the bruises and cuts on his face.

"[On Titanic's stern, there] seemed to be thousands fighting and shouting in the dark... Everybody seemed to have gone insane. Men and women fought, bit and scratched... [there were] men praying as I struggled to get to the rail. Curses and prayers filled the air... I grabbed something and uttered one prayer. Then I went over the side of the boat. I tried to wait but suddenly found myself leaping from the rail, away up in the air and it felt an eternity before I hit the water. "

Robert had boarded Titanic in Southampton, having been in London on business, and occupied "an inside cabin" on A-Deck, although the exact cabin has never been conclusively determined.

And he had boarded alone--save for his new puppy, a cherished French bulldog named Gamin de Pycombe.

While his time spent during the voyage is not well-known, Robert's movements during the sinking are documented thanks to his friend, Edith Russell--who had a cabin around the bend from his.

Titanic trimmer Paddy Dillon, who himself swam in the water before being pulled aboard a lifeboat, also recalled seeing Robert within five minutes of the ship's submersion.

"Then [Titanic] plunged and then seemed to right herself. There was about 15 of us when she took the first plunge. After the second, there was only five of us left. One of these was a Mr. Daniels [sic], a First Class passenger. He only had a pair of knickers, a singlet and a blanket thrown over his shoulders. I think he jumped for it."

Robert would proceed to regale the press with so many stories about fellow passengers as the Titanic went under--including Jack ThayerRichard Norris Williams and his father, the Carter family, and Ida and Isidor Straus--as well as First Officer William Murdoch and Fifth Officer Harold Lowe.

Robert was also sought out by the bereaved family members of victims who were anxious to learn the details of their last moments.

Later in 1912, Robert had plans to meet up with fellow survivor Colonel Archibald Gracie, with whom Robert had formed a fast and profoud friendship while on board Carpathia. The Colonel was writing a comprehensive book of the disaster based upon passenger recollections and testimonies, and the men wrote to each other regularly.

Robert, having been abroad once again in England, was asked by reporters in December of 1912 about Colonel Gracie. He did not know that his friend had died the week earlier.

When Robert was informed, he was "overcome with grief" and declined to speak any further.

By 1914, Robert began calling upon another Titanic survivor with whom he shared traumatic memories: the widowed Eloise Hughes Smith.

Her father was not a little displeased, given that his daughter was, at the time, involved in ongoing litigation with her late husband's family on behalf of hers and Lucian's infant son.

In spite of Congressman Hughes's misgivings, Robert and Eloise grew to be closer and closer friends, and that friendship evolved into romance.

And so, in a remarkable turn of events, Robert Williams Daniel married Eloise Hughes Smith in a quiet ceremony in New York City in August of 1914.

The next day, Robert departed for London yet again.

There, he became stranded for over two months due to the outbreak of the Great War, which delayed Eloise and Robert in announcing their marriage to society.

Once Robert was permitted to return to the United States, he and Eloise settled in Philadelphia with Eloise's son, Lucian Smith, Jr., and Robert's new English bulldog. Among their neighbors were the Carter family, who had also survived Titanic.

In February of 1919, Robert was sent overseas to France at the behest of the United States War Department to handle money that would be used to convert French currency in the possession of American soldiers returning from the war front. He was subsequently awarded a medal for his distinguished service.

But by the time Robert returned, his marriage to Eloise was sadly deteriorating.

They separated in 1920, in the wake of rumors of his marital infidelity. And in 1923, Eloise filed for divorce after learning, according to her legal claim, that Robert was residing with "an unknown blonde woman" in New York.

The divorce was granted without contest. According to the divorce decree, Robert was to remained unmarried for five years.

By December of that same year, he remarried in New Jersey. And in 1929, he would marry a third and final time.

Eloise would likewise remarry a third time, when she was widowed yet again. Her fourth and final marriage would end in a swift divorce.

After all of that emotional tumult, Eloise reverted her surname to Smith--that of her first husband, Lucian P. Smith, and the love of her life.

Eloise Smith died in 1940 from a heart attack at only 46 years old.

Her ex-husband, Robert Williams Daniel, died later that same year from cirrhosis of the liver. He was 56 years old.

Regardless of its outcome, Eloise and Robert are noted as the sole survivors to marry after meeting in the wake of the disaster.

Open post

“Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets It Is Very Cold Weather”: Eloise Hughes Smith & Lucian P. Smith

"Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets It Is Very Cold Weather": Eloise Hughes Smith

Eloise Hughes was 18 years old when she debuted herself to society in January of 1912. Since her father was a Congressman and her mother's family was also famously political, she was announced in a contemporary newspaper report as "a debutante of the congressional circle."

And rumor is that, from the moment 24-year-old Lucian Smith set eyes upon her photograph, he was hopelessly enamored.

The two married just a month later, in early February.

It was a grand affair. The Washington Post reported of the ceremony that Eloise radiated in "a gown of white satin trimmed with rare lace with a veil and orange blossoms and carried a shower bouquet of orchids."

Eloise and Lucian then embarked on a spectacular honeymoon.

Their outward-bound vessel with Titanic's elder sister, the R.M.S. Olympic,

The newlyweds visited Egypt, where they rode camels around the pyrmaids at Giza, and Lucian even scaled one to its summit.

They traveled through the Middle East, and then moved on to Europe.

Lucian and Eloise Smith decided to bring their adventure to a close in April of 1912. They debated which vessel to take home, torn between the faster Lusitania and the brand-new, gilded Titanic.

The reason for the curtailed honeymoon is most often reported to be a matter of Eloise having found herself pregnant; this, however, is not something she mentioned in the known letters that she sent home.

"Lucian is getting so anxious to get home and drive the car and fool around on the farm....We leave here Sunday... By boat to Brindisi [Italy], by rail to Nice and Monte Carlo, then to Paris and via Cherbourg either on the Lusitania or the new Titanic."

Courtesy of [source]

Eventually, Eloise and Lucian made their choice for passage.

They boarded Titanic in the port of Cherbourg, France, as First-class passengers on the evening of April 10th.

Eloise took to bed earlier than her husband during the voyage. While she retired, Lucian would play cards in the First-Class Smoking Lounge.

On the night of the collision with the iceberg, Lucian and Eloise took dinner in the First-class dining saloon, where they observed the party the Widener family was hosting in honor of Captain Smith.

Not being guests of the celebration, which Eloise later wrote "was not particularly gay," the Smiths removed themselves to the Cafe Parisien, and listened to the ship's band.

Eloise excused herself for bed around 10:30 p.m.

Lucian, as usual, went to play cards.

That particular night, he sat down to a game of whist with three gentlemen from France, including the famed aviator Pierre Marechal.

When Titanic struck the iceberg, Lucian and his fellow card-players reportedly bore witness to it.

In an article by the times published April 20, 1912, "the Frenchmen" attested to what they saw.

"We were quietly playing auction bridge with a Mr. Smith from Philadelphia, when we heard a violent noise similar to that produced by the screw racing. We were startled and looked at one another under the impression that a serious accident had happened. We did not, however, think for a catastrophe, but through the portholes we saw ice rubbing against the ship's sides."

Eloise, who was in bed, later attested that while the collision woke her, she eventually fell back to sleep. She awoke a second time when Lucian entered the room.

In response to his wife's inquiry as to what the matter was, Lucian replied calmly. "We are in the north and have struck an iceberg: It does not amount to anything, but probably delay us a day getting into New York," he told her. "However, as a matter of form, the captain has ordered all ladies on deck."

Eloise wrote that as she dressed to go up on deck, she and Lucian had leisurely conversation about their plans once they arrived in New York.


Eloise later described the scene on deck as First-class passengers awaited the ready of the lifeboats.

"There was some delay in getting lifeboats down: in fact, we had plenty of time to sit in the gymnasium and chat with another gentleman and his wife. I kept asking my husband if I could remain with him rather than go in a lifeboat. He promised me I could. There was no commotion, no panic, and no one seemed to be particularly frightened; in fact, most of the people seemed interested in the unusual occurrence, many having crossed 50 and 60 times. However, I noticed my husband was busy talking to any officer he came in contact with; still I had not the least suspicion of the scarcity of lifeboats, or I never should have left my husband."

Twice thereafter, Eloise refused to enter a lifeboat without Lucian.

Distraught, she approached Captain Smith, who was in the middle of using a megaphone. She told him she was alone on the voyage save her husband, and asked if Lucian could go with her into the lifeboat.

Eloise wrote Captain Smith ignored her, and only continued to announce, "Women and children first!" through the megaphone.

Lucian pulled her away.

"He then said, "I never expected to ask you to obey, but this is one time you must; it is only a matter of form to have women and children first. The boat is thoroughly equipped, and everyone on her will be saved." I asked him if that was absolutely honest, and he said, "Yes." I felt some better then, because I had absolute confidence in what he said. He kissed me good-by and placed me in the lifeboat with the assistance of an officer. As the boat was being lowered he yelled from the deck, "Keep your hands in your pockets it is very cold weather." 

Lucian and Eloise would never see each other again.

Eloise was saved in Lifeboat 6. She stated the lifeboat was lowered haphazardly, almost vertically, before the falls were cut with a knife provided by a fellow female passenger.

"We were some distance away when the Titanic went down. We watched with sorrow, and heard the many cries for help and pitied the captain, because we knew he would have to stay with his ship. The cries we heard I thought were seamen, or possibly steerage, who had overslept, it not occurring to me for a moment that my husband and my friends were not saved. It was bitterly cold, but I did not seem to mind it particularly. I was trying to locate my husband in all the boats that were near us."

Safely on board Carpathia, the newlywed widow was gifted the cabin of a kind honeymooning couple named Charles and Emma Hutchinson.

Eloise searched for Lucian throughout the Carpathia, in disbelief that he had not been saved.

Desolate and all alone in the cabin of other newlyweds, Eloise is reported to have heard a sudden and unexpected knock upon the door.

Standing there, in an oversized suit that had been donated to him by the Carpathia's physician, was Robert Williams Daniel.

Robert, a fellow First-class passenger on Titanic, reportedly felt honor-bound as a Virginian gentleman to offer his protection and accompaniment to the bereaved young Eloise while she was alone on board Carpathia.

Upon the ship's arrival in New York, Robert carried Eloise in his arms down the gangway to the dock. There, he entrusted her "in a hysterical condition," according to contemporary periodicals, to the care of her waiting father, Congressman Hughes.

But Robert and Eloise would see each other again.

Open post

“I Wish the ‘Titanic’ Were Lying at the Bottom of the Ocean”: Edgardo Samuel Andrew

"I Wish the 'Titanic' Were Lying at the Bottom of the Ocean": Edgardo Samuel Andrew

Edgardo Samuel Andrew was newly 17 years old when he boarded Titanic in Southampton.

He did not want to go.

Edgardo Andrew grew up on a cattle ranch called El Durazno, in Argentina.

He was born to English-immigrant parents, named Samuel and Annie, in March 1895. Edgardo was the second-to-last of eight children, but his younger brother died in infancy, making Edgardo the de facto baby of the family.

Samuel Andrew died in 1906, leaving Edgardo's older brother as administrator to both the business and his family.

It was commonly accepted practice for expatriate families to export their children for their schooling back home. And the Andrew family did just that.

So in 1911, in keeping with the tradition dictated by his siblings before him, Edgardo set off for school in Bournemouth, England. He went at the behest of his elder brother, Silvano.

Silvano had himself attended school back in Britain, where he studied marine engineering and steam engines over the course of six or seven years.

Silvano then returned to Buenos Aires and joined the Argentinian Navy.

He was thereafter shipped off to United States: first to Quincy, Massachusetts, and then New Jersey.

While there, Silvano began courting an affluent widow named Harriet White Fisher, and he eventually quit the Navy to work as an executive for Harriet's prominent company, called "Fisher and Norris Anvil Works."

It was well into the spring of 1912 when Edgardo received a letter from Silvano: he and Harriet Fisher were engaged to be married. And soon.

The wedding was scheduled for April 27, 1912, in New York.

Silvano wanted Edgardo to attend--not just as a guest at the wedding, but also to enjoy the bounty of American life, and possibly even work alongside him at the Anvil Works.

Edgardo, of course, accepted the invitation and booked immediate passage to New York from Southampton.

On board the R.M.S. Oceanic.

Edgardo's ship was scheduled to depart from the Southampton docks on April 17th, 1912, only ten days before the wedding.

He had not considered the coal strike, which had only recently ended on April 6th and was still impacting sea travel. It left most vessels without fuel for their scheduled routes.

Including the Oceanic.

Edgardo's ship was berthed indefinitely, moored alongside smaller vessels like the S.S. New York. And most likely, it had had its limited coal supply pilfered by its parent, the White Star Line.

To supply the maiden voyage of Titanic.

Edgardo felt he had no choice: to make it in time for his brother's wedding, he would have to depart England sooner than scheduled.

And so, he transferred his ticket to Titanic, which was set to leave a week earlier, on April 10th. It would afford him more time; and really, it was his only option.

Edgardo was displeased with the adjustment for a particular reason.

He had recently received a letter from a dear friend--often presumed to be a romantic interest, or even fiancee--back home in Argentina: a girl named Josefina Cowan.

Josefina wrote to Edgardo that she would soon be taking passage to England, and that she dearly hoped to see him.

But with his alternate passage on Titanic already booked, Edgardo had to dash both her hopes and his. He responded on April 8th.

"You can't imagine how sorry I am leaving without seeing you, but I've got to go and there's no other way...

When I received your first letter telling me you were coming... I was so happy about the news I could not think of anything else, and I was making every program... but sadly my anticipated programs will not come true..."

In that same letter, Edgardo expressed his bitterness toward what he felt was the sole impediment between himself and Josey: the necessity of his travel on Titanic.

The plain irony would become his epitaph.

"You figure Josey I had to leave on the 17th this (month) aboard the "Oceanic", but due to the coal strike that steamer cannot depart, so I have to go one week earlier on board the 'Titanic'. It really seems unbelievable that I have to leave a few days before your arrival, but there's no help for it, I've got to go. You figure, Josey, I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don't really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the 'Titanic' were lying at the bottom of the ocean."

And so, on April 10th, Edgardo rode the train to Southampton and embarked on Titanic. He held a Second-class ticket.

He was all alone.

His spirits seem to have lightened, however, once he had settled on board.

While Titanic steamed toward the port of Cherbourg that same afternoon, Edgardo popped into the barber shop and bought two postcards: one for his brother Wilfredo back home at El Durazno, and one for his friend in Italy.

Edgardo began the postcard to Wilfredo: "From this colossal ship I'm pleased to greet you."

On Titanic, Second-class passengers shared dining tables.

And so young Edgardo became friends with his table-mates. They were Jacob Milling, who was a railway machine inspector from Copenhagen, and Edwina Troutt, who was traveling to visit her sister.

Just like Edgardo, Edwina had likewise been inconvenienced by a transfer of passage from the lamed Oceanic.

Edgardo seemed to have spent a significant amount of time in the company of his new friends.

Edwina recalled that both Edgardo and Jacob wrote letters each morning. She also reported on conversations between them about how ardently Jacob missed his wife, and his excitement to send her a wireless message.

And according to Edwina, on the evening of April 14th, the trio was "in the Library talking over various things."

Edwina later wrote the following recollection about the actions of both Jacob Milling and Edgardo Andrew once Titanic struck the iceberg.

"I heard the ship make a stumbling noise, enough to wake me... [after the collision] I met only a few curious women & Mr Andrew. I tried to find out out what was the matter, & the officer told me, 'It's only an iceberg. ou must go back to your stateroom or you'll catch cold.'

...I saw them lower one lifeboat with no one in it & noticed the men were also uncovering another. I then realised something was the matter. I at once went to the state rooms of all my friends & told them to dress in case we were called up. Then I met Mr Milling & he said 'What is the trouble, Miss Trout? What does it all mean?' I said, 'A very sad parting for all of us. This ship is going to sink.' (Mr Andrew laughed at me & said impossible)

Mr Andrew & I then went looking for other friends & so many of them couldn't do anything for themselves so we helped them with their life preservers..."

In a spoken interview decades later, Edwina recalled that Edgardo had tried to convince her that the ship could not--and would not--go down.

Elsewhere, she reported that Edgardo even gave her his life vest.

Edgardo died in the sinking that night. His body, if ever recovered, went unidentified.

But in 2001, a leather suitcase was recovered from the shipwreck, about 800 feet off of the stern. The luggage was submitted for restoration.

It was Edgardo's.

Remarkably, once opened, it was found to still be neatly packed. The contents included his shoes, as well as a school notebook.

Therein, written in pencil, researchers found that he had taken up pages, just signing and re-signing his name.

Edgardo Samuel Andrew--only 17 years old and looking toward his future--seems to have been practicing his signature.


Behe, George. "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage." The History Press, 2012.

National Geographic, "Drain the Titanic." Documentary directed by Wayne Abbott. 2015.

Open post

“My Friend Was a Gentleman Farmer”: William Crothers Dulles

"My Friend Was a Gentleman Farmer": William Crothers Dulles

William Crothers Dulles was a millionaire bachelor from Philadelphia.

Contemporary reporting indicates that he had a law degree, but if he did, he never seems to have practiced. To date, there is not even a record of a law degree being issued to him by his reported alma maters.

William was a member of an elite driving club in New York. He was also a dog fancier, having shown his Cavalier King Charles spaniels at shows throughout the Northeast.

But his life’s absolute passion was thoroughbred horses.

William was a horse breeder of some renown; his country home and farm in Goshen, New York, was called Tophill.

Tophill Farm was also where William also housed his extraordinary equine library and collection of equine art, which was rumored to be one of the most extensive in the world at the time.

This may very well have been true, given that William built a fortified bunker in which to store it all.

According to the New York Herald, “his library of sporting books was well known on both sides of the Atlantic. He had a vault of steel and concrete constructed for their safekeeping.”

And William alone kept the key to it.

William had been wintering in Europe alongside his mother Mary Dulles, since late January of 1912.

He was reported to have been inseparable with his mother following the loss of his father Andrew twelve years prior, always acting as his mother’s escort to Philadelphia events. Mary had been in Europe since December 1911, visiting with William’s younger sister Margaret and her husband Ettore.

In the spring of 1912, William had been dallying in Britain on the hunt for more rare equine tomes to add to his legendary library.

But then, for reasons unknown, Mrs. Dulles and her son parted ways in Paris so he might return home.

William Crothers Dulles boarded Titanic at 39 years old, at the port of Cherbourg, France.

As a First-Class passenger, he occupied cabin A-18. And he traveled alone, save for the company of his little dog, which--in keeping with the dog shows he participated in--is presumed to have been a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

There is hardly an account that provides any insight into William’s time spent on board.

But fellow First-Class passenger William Sloper attested to having made fast friends with Mr. Dulles, reporting briefly that they had shared a dining table with "a Mr. W.C. Dulles of Goshen, NY, and a Mr. Hoyt of New York City [who] were not saved."

"I remember I chummed around those first four days with a young, unmarried man about my age by the name of William Dulles who had been the steamer going over in the winter. My friend, Bill Dulles, was a gentleman farmer and trotting horse breeder from Goshen, New York. I saw him early on Sunday evening [April 14th] but I never saw him again. Later he was listed among the missing."

William Dulles died in the sinking of the Titanic. There are no known reports of his last moments. 

The body of William Crothers Dulles was the 133rd corpse recovered by the crew of the Mackay-Bennett. It was noted as follows.

N0. 133. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 50.

CLOTHING - Green suit; grey sweater and overshoes.

EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; gold plated knife and chain; gold tie clip; "W. C. D."; four memo books; gold stud; 11s. 6 1/2d.



A particular possession was notably absent from the listed effects: the single key to William’s bunker-full of celebrated equestrian treasures, which were still locked away at Tophill Farm.

The Chicago Evening Post reported on April 16th—the day after the sinking—of the pall cast over Paris.

And that reporting made specific mention of William’s inconsolable mother.

"The American colony in Paris was plunged into profound grief this morning by the definite news of the stupendous loss of life caused by the wreck of the Titanic. Hundreds of permanent residents and of the American tourists staying at the hotels had relatives on board. They had gone to sleep last night comforted with the assurances cabled here that all had been saved, and it was only when they received their newspapers this morning that they learned the terrible toll of fatalities…

The White Star office was besieged by weeping women, several of whom had sons on board. Among these was Mrs. William Dulles, who left the office in a state of collapse, supported by her friends."

The death of William Dulles was orbited by bizarre occurrences. 

On April 19th, the Evening Bulletin reported an interview with William’s cousin, Dr. Charles Dulles, who was crestfallen that his cousin had not survived the sinking.

Therein, the Bulletin also mentioned a mystery woman, leading to speculation that William Dulles was secretly engaged—a rumor vehemently denied by his acquaintances.

"A handsome woman, elegantly dressed, inquired at the White Star Line offices in New York last night for information regarding Mr. Dulles. When told there was no record of his rescue, she hurried to the Surveyor of the Port and got a pass to the pier for the Carpathia's arrival. She was then lost sight of. Dr. Dulles said to-day he had no knowledge of the woman's identity."

Furthermore, in the midst of the tragedy, the Newark Star reported on that same day that a strange and harrowing incident had occurred at Tophill Farm. 

An employee of William Dulles by the name of John Pippin had appeared on the property “wildly intoxicated… and violent.” He was subsequently kicked by one of the horses. 

Drunk and bleeding, he then wrested the keys from the property caretaker and made his way to the late William’s bed, where he passed out.

Police arrested John Pippin at midnight after breaking in the door, which he had barricaded with furniture and a bunk bed.

Pippin had also armed himself with an axe, although according to the report “he had no opportunity to use it.”

William Crothers Dulles was interred in a family mausoleum in Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery on May 6, 1912.

His world-famous library was eventually auctioned off in December of 1912, but only after expert attempts to break the lock to the bunker that safeguarded it.

New York’s American Courier reported in January 1913 that “in order to open the vault, his executor found it necessary to employ an expert locksmith, who worked many hours before he succeeded in his task.”

Prior to sale, William's collection was noted by the New York Herald as “the largest and Choicest Collection ever offered for sale by auction in America or Europe.”

Open post

“Lighted and Beautiful in the Night”: Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

"Lighted and Beautiful in the Night": Engelhart Cornelius Ostby

Engelhart Cornelius Ostby was born around Christmastime in 1847 in the city that became Oslo, Norway. He studied to become a jeweler at the Royal School of Art.

In 1869, Engelhart followed the trail of his parents and his younger brother, who had emigrated to the United States three years prior. After arriving in New York, he reunited with his family and settled in Providence, Rhode Island,

He first took a job with the jewelry firm of Hunt & Owen, but shortly thereafter moved on to Arnold & Webster, where he acted as the Director of Design and Engraving for almost a decade.

Jewelry-making in Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Engelhart married a girl named Lizzie Webster in 1876. The couple would go on to have five children: four sons and a daughter.

In 1879, Engelhart entered into business with a gentleman named Nathan Barton. With about three thousand dollars in capital, the men established Ostby & Barton. The company would gain renown for its beautiful designs of gemstone, signet, emblem, and even baby rings, alongside other pieces of adornment such as brooches, cuff links, and pendants.

Engelhart's firm quickly became a top-tier producer of gold rings. It outgrew its initial business space quickly, and was moved to a factory building. Booming business soon demanded yet another relocation to the old Ladd Watch Case Company on the corner of Richmond and Clifford Streets in Providence. Then the space of this premises had to be doubled.

Engelhart did not limit his world to jewelry-making. He also became a director of both the High Street Bank and the Industrial Trust Company, and was a trustee of the Citizens Savings Bank. Because of these positions, Engelhart rose to prominence in Providence, for both his business acumen and his ongoing charity.

Sadly, Engelhart became a widower in 1899 when Lizzie died at the age of 45. He raised their five children with the assistance of his mother Josephine, until she died three years later, in 1902.

Engelhart Ostby took regular business trips to the European capitals, in order to survey the popular and upcoming jewelry trends for his "kingdom of rings" back home.

Unsurprisingly, he spent much of this time in Paris.

Parisian shopfront on rue Maitre Albert, 1912, by Eugene Atget. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


And in 1906, he began taking his seventeen-year-old daughter, Helen, on these business trips. In 1907, after much anticipation, Engelhart finally took his only daughter to see his homeland of Norway.

In 1912, Engelhart and Helen were on another such international tour. And while they were in Egypt, they had befriended an American couple, Frank and Anna Warren of Oregon.

The road to the Pyramids at Giza, Cairo, Egypt, 1870. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Later on, they encountered the Warrens in Pari; the couple expressed that they looked forward to their upcoming travel on Titanic. Presumably, this is how Engelhart and Helen learned that they could still book passage on Titanic's maiden voyage.

And so, they did.

Father and daughter boarded Titanic as First-Class passengers on the evening of April 10th at Cherbourg. As per usual, Engelhart carried with him his black leather Gladstone bag, which contained gemstones and precious valuables that he had acquired during the trip.

On the 10th of April we took the boat train to Cherbourg. The Titanic remained out in the harbour, lighted and beautiful in the night. We boarded her from a tender.

As cited in © "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage" by George Behe. The History Press, 2012.

Helen was fairly vague in her recollections of their time spent on board. "Mostly," she wrote, "we just wandered around between meals, enjoying the luxury and newness of it all."

She went on to note that she and her father always traveled with the White Star Line, so they enjoyed comparing notes of Titanic versus the other vessels under its flag.

Sunday, April 14th, was leisurely. Helen wrote that she and Engelhart mused on the grand welcome Titanic was sure to receive when arriving in New York City. Helen also overheard Captain Smith receiving an ice warning while he spoke to passengers nearby.

After enjoying "the usual Sunday evening concert" by Titanic's musicians, Helen retired to her cabin.

I had just dropped off to sleep when I was awakened by a jar that felt about as it would if you were in a car that scraped the side of a tree... It seemed completely silent for a minute or two. The engines were cut off. The corridors were quiet until one began to hear doors open and voices speaking. The first voice I heard was a woman asking the steward what had happened. He replied calmly, 'Everything will be alright.'

Passengers began to gather in the corridor one by one, trying to get some information. My father came out of his stateroom across the corridor. It was very quiet, as when a train stops in a station and you can hear everyone's voice. You could see anxious looking faces, people with outlandish clothes and women in curlers. People had thrown on anything just to cover themselves.

As cited in © "On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage" by George Behe. The History Press, 2012.

Eventually, the stewards instructed the passengers to don their lifebelts. It was a troublesome endeavor, according to Helen, because there had been no emergency drill to practice getting them on, but the stewards were very helpful.

Helen dressed warmly, although she claimed she was struck quite abrupt by the instinct not to put on too many clothes, lest they weigh down her ability to swim.

Engelhart and his daughter met up with the Warrens once again, and migrated up to the boat deck via the Grand Staircase. Helen wrote that Captain Smith swept by them, followed by two ship officers who would not engage with--or even look at--inquiring passengers.

On deck, the group could hardly hear a thing, because the steam from the funnels was deafening. The sequence of events in Helen's multiple accounts become contradictory by this point, but it is evident that, at some point, Engelhart parted from his daughter, as Mrs. Warren also testified that "a young woman by the name of Miss Ostby, who had become separated from her father... was with us."

Helen said that Engelhart either remained in--or alternatively, returned to--his cabin to dress more appropriately for the cold, assuring her that he would not be long.

A heartbreaking comedy of errors ensued.

I wondered what kept father below however, and after about ten minutes I went down to try to find him. I guess my father must have come upon deck some other way for I could not find him in the stateroom. Thinking he had gone up and joined the Warrens, I too went back but he had not been around there. I was waiting for him all the time when the crew came around and told us to get into one of the boats. We all hung back awhile, I wanted father to come with us but the men insisted that we hurry up so we got in... 

It was a very unpleasant feeling stepping into that boat because although it was level with the boat deck, it was swung out over the water so that there was a little gap between it and the side of the ship...  The stars were out but it was pitch dark...

Helen Otsby and Anna Warren were rescued in Lifeboat 5, which was presided over by Third Officer Herbert Pitman. Also in Lifeboat 5 were Helen Newsom and Karl Behr, as well as Dr. and Mrs. Frauenthal. Dr. Frauenthal and his brother had, in fact, jumped down into the lifeboat from the boat deck, and had broken another passenger's ribs in the process.

As the boat descended toward the ocean, concerns had been expressed that the craft might "turn turtle."

Up until that time, things had gone on very calmly. But at the end we could see and hear people on board were realizing there was no place to go. As the ship began to stand on end we heard a big rumbling, rattling noise as if everything was being torn from their moorings inside the ship. She stood quietly on her end for a minute, then went down like an arrow... Of course some complained of losing jewelry and clothing -and some the cold. One woman was seasick. When somebody happened to mention jewelry left behind, I remembered for the first time that I had lost a diamond bar pin which was given me by my father which was still pinned to my nightgown aboard ship. I hadn't given it a though, and when I was reminded, it didn't matter.

Helen never saw her beloved father again.

Engelhart's corpse was the 234th recovered by the Mackay-Bennett, and noted as follows.


EFFECTS - Gold filled teeth; gold watch and chain; knife: glasses; diary; two pocket books and papers.


Once transported back to Halifax, the body was identified by an Ostby & Barton employee named David Sutherland. Engelhart Ostby was interred in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 11, 1912.

A contemporary newspaper reported, "The flower tribute was enormous, even when a note had been circulated not to send any flowers."

Open post

“High Class Confectionery”: Kate Phillips & Henry Morley

"High Class Confectionery": Kate Phillips & Henry Morley

In the spring of 1912, Henry Morley sold his candy shops.

The shops, collectively called Purveyors of High Class Confectionery and owned by L. Morley Confectioners, were fine-candy stores, and they were quite successful. The businesses were profitable enough for Henry to employ multiple shop assistants.

One of those assistants was Kate Florence Phillips, with whom Henry fell in love.

And so, on April 10, 1912, Henry and Kate boarded Titanic at Southampton. Henry's brother, who had aided him in selling the Confectioneries, waved the couple on from the quay. The lovers were planning to resettle in the United States, where they could begin a life together in San Francisco.

A candy counter in St. Louis, MO, circa 1910. Courtesy of the United States National Archives & Records Administration.


But Henry had also left a life behind.

Henry Morley, who was 38 years old at the time he absconded with 19-year-old Kate, was a married man.

Henry had chosen to abandon his wife Louisa in order to elope with Kate. He had left "on holiday" under the pretense of going to a western climate in order to recuperate from an illness--and then he sold his businesses. Some funds were allocated to the continued support of Louisa and his daughter Doris; the rest of the money was intended as capital for a new shop in California, with Kate as his bride.

On March 2, 1912, Henry withdrew a large sum of money from his bank in Worcester. He spent the next month bouncing from address to address, passing Kate off as his wife.

Henry and Kate boarded with a joint Second-Class ticket under the very fake names of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall.

Titanic leaving Southampton, April 10, 1912. Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum.


How Kate and Henry spent their time during the voyage is undocumented.

While on board, or perhaps before embarking on the voyage, Henry gifted Kate with a love token he had purchased back in Britain: a silver necklace, boasting a deep-blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. She reportedly wore it to every dinner on board, gleaming with pride.

When Titanic struck the iceberg on the night of April 14th, Henry is reported to have roused Kate from sleep. Before rushing up on deck, Henry removed Kate's necklace from a drawer and latched it around her neck.

On the boat deck, Kate wore only her cotton nightgown and her beloved necklace, and held nothing but a small seal-skin purse and her lover's arm. Henry could not swim, and he reportedly clung to Kate as they stood before the lifeboats. And then a sailor grabbed her away and forced her to board.

Kate Phillips's necklace, called the Love of the Sea. Courtesy of Titanic: The Exhibition, in NYC, November 2022.


The lifeboat in question alternates between Lifeboat 11 and Lifeboat 13. It has been reported that Kate shared the lifeboat with two-month-old Millvina Dean, and that at one point, she was in Kate's arms.

Henry Morley died in the sinking. His remains were not recovered.

Young Kate arrived in New York alone, bereft, and impoverished. Somehow, she found an unnamed couple with whom to stay as she recovered from the trauma of the disaster.

And then Kate learned that she was pregnant.

Unfortunately, the couple who housed her did not want a baby to care for as well; Kate had no other option but to return to her parents' home in England.

In January of 1913, nine months after Titanic set sail and foundered, Henry Morley's daughter was born. Kate named her Ellen Mary.

It was a disgrace to be born without a father, but in my early childhood I was protected from the shame.

I was born in my grandparents' house on January 11, 1913, nine months to the day from when the Titanic called at Queenstown.

The house backed onto the river Severn and my earliest memory is of sitting in the family punt while my grandfather strapped me in. "Well make sure you won't drown," he would say. But I didn't know what he meant.

For the first nine years I was brought up by them. Once a year this woman would arrive from London and cuddle and smother me in kisses. I couldn't bear it. I had no idea who she was.

Ellen's paternity, though never publicly conceded, appears to have been acknowledged by payments made to Ellen's grandparents by Henry Morley's brother, in order to pay for her schooling.

Ellen suffered an emotionally and physically abusive childhood as her mother's mental health deteriorated.

Per Ellen's accounts, her likeness to Henry Morley seemed to amplify her mother's emotional pain. She would reprimand her young daughter for looking at her, for instance, because she had her father's eyes.

The shock of the Titanic must have disturbed my mother's mind. She had been on her way to another land with the man she loved. You'd think that she would love his child. But instead she rejected me...

One day, a bedridden Kate placed a gift in Ellen's hands.

When I was sixteen, my mother gave me a diamond and sapphire necklace and a seal-skin purse with two keys inside. She simply gave them to me with the words, "Here. Take these. They're yours, now," and she would not explain. I did not realize their importance, because she could never speak about the Titanic.

Kate rarely, if ever, saw her daughter again after that.

Kate Phillips was later committed to an asylum. She died in 1964.

Kate’s necklace, which was sold to collectors in the 1990s, is now called “The Love of the Sea.”

Open post

“He Breathes the Air of Two Hemispheres”: Francis Davis Millet

"He Breathes the Air of Two Hemispheres": Francis Davis Millet

In March of 1912, the Washington Times published a laudatory piece about the "soldier, painter, and connoisseur": the American artist Francis Davis Millet.

No chapter of fictional adventure can rival a chapter in the real life of Mr. Millet. Soldier of fortune, adventurer, war correspondent, art student, and artist, he seems to have been constituted of stuff which makes dramatic events possible.

Indeed, Frank Millet seemed fated to be the common denominator through decades of extraordinary events.

He was a drummer boy in the American Civil War. He was a correspondent in the Turkish-Russo conflict and the Spanish-American War. Mark Twain had been his best man. He socialized with the President of the United States. He was the man who made "The White City" white for the Chicago World's Fair. He was asked to contribute to the design of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington's D.C.

He sailed on Titanic.

Apparently, among Mr. Millet's many remarkable talents was his lifelong ability to somehow be everywhere, all at once.

Once, while in Japan, his companion joked that perhaps, Frank was finally in a land where no one would recognize him. A waiter then approached Frank and addressed him by name, because he had been in the artist’s company at the Chicago Exposition.

According to friends and critics alike, Frank was an exalted wanderer at heart and of mind.

Inertia is not one of Millet's faults; he is ever in movement, a comrade in the world of art. Are the heavens to be decorated? See Millet. Is there to be a banquet for the gods? see Millet. Has the army moved? Yes, and Millet with it. He breathes the air of two hemispheres... he is contagious in art and manly enthusiasm.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank Millet boarded Titanic as a First-Class passenger on the evening of April 10, 1912, in Cherbourg, France.

He had been in Europe since early March of that year, in the company of his dearest friend, Major Archibald Butt.

They had been close companions for many years; they had even been housemates in Washington, D.C., hosting extravagant parties for the elite society of the capital.

Major Butt thought highly of Millet, and the latter of him. On the older man Major Butt leaned for advice and took it, and the two men had a sympathy of mind which was most unusual.

Archie, as he was called, had reportedly been in danger of anxious collapse in early 1912. He had been walking a tightrope between his allegiance to former President Theodore Roosevelt, and current President William Taft. "Do you wonder," Archie asked his wife Clara, "that our nerves have been disintegrated and that our innards are all upside down?"

At the same time, Frank Millet was preparing for a business trip in Rome to handle administrative matters as the head of the American Academy of Art.

Concerned for his friend's well-being, Frank interceded to President Taft in a letter, begging leave for Archie so that the friends might travel in Europe together.

The President consented.

Major Archibald Butt. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


After a month abroad, the United States beckoned Frank back to finalize the design for the proposed Lincoln Memorial.

Archie and Frank briefly parted ways so the latter could conduct some business in Europe while the former stayed back in England. They intended to meet up once again on Titanic's maiden voyage.

The two did not share a cabin, however, because Archie had far too many trunks.

Portrait of Francis Davis Millet circa 1910. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.


Once reunited on board Titanic on the evening of April 10th, Archie and Frank sat down to dinner with a mutual friend from Washington, D.C.: Clarence Moore. The trio would gather regularly throughout the voyage.

The next day, Frank posted a letter to fellow artist Alfred Parsons. He was evidently vexed, and uncharacteristically grouchy.

Queer lot of people on the ship. Looking over the list I only find three or four I know but there are a good many of "our people" I think and a number of obnoxious ostentatious American women, the scourge of any place they infest and worse on shipboard than anywhere. Many of them carry tiny dogs and lead husbands around like pet lambs.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank, a gentle spirit, was not usually so sour; in fact, his dear friend and best man Mark Twain once said that he intended to call all cordial, affable people “Millets.”

But then again, he had just had "the Devil of a time in Rome" with the project he was involved in, and stated outright that he was ready to throw up his hands and "chuck it" altogether.

Frank Millet’s portrait of his friend Mark Twain, 1877.


In the same letter, Frank took multiple opportunities to marvel at Titanic’s finery and size.

I thought I told you my ship was the Titanic. She has everything but taxicabs and theatres...

The fittings are… exceedingly agreeable in design and color.

As for the rooms they are larger than the ordinary hotel room and much more luxurious with wooden bedsteads, dressing tables, hot and cold water, etc., etc., electric fans, electric heater and all. The suites with their damask hangings and mahogany oak furniture are really very sumptuous and tasteful.

I have the best room I ever had in a ship and it isn't one of the best either, a great long corridor in which to hang my clothes and a square window as big as the one in the studio alongside the large light. No end of furniture cupboards, wardrobe, dressing table, couch etc., etc. Not a bit like going to sea.

You can have no idea of the spaciousness of this ship and the extent and size of the decks.

Citation Courtesy of "Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World," Hugh Brewster, 2012.

Frank and Archie whiled away the voyage in each other’s company. They often congregated with Clarence in the First-Class Smoking Lounge.

According to passenger Marie Grice Young, she often spotted the two friends taking vigorous walks around the decks as they chatted.

Frank and Archie also fraternized with fellow First-Class passenger Archibald Gracie. The old Colonel had likely tried to recommend his own book about Chickamauga to them, just like he had done with a very accommodating Isidor Straus. But Frank was probably uninterested, given that the men’s notions of the Civil War were drastically different.

Archie Butt was born in Georgia in 1865: the same year the Civil War had ended. And he was the nephew of a Confederate general.

Frank, on the other hand, was a Massachusetts native who had been a drummer for the Union Army, and his father had been a Union surgeon. He had even assisted his father’s surgeries on the field in 1864.

And while it might seem that Frank’s battlefield era was long past, the memories stayed with him. He regularly attributed his use of vivid, blood-red paint to his hospital experiences in the war.

Frank’s true feelings about the encounters with bombastic, former-confederate Colonel Gracie, whatever they might have been, are undocumented.

Francis Davis Millet at work in his studio. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.


During the evening of April 14th, Frank and Clarence took dinner at their usual table in the First-Class dining saloon.

Archie, meanwhile, attended a party in the A La Carte restaurant held by George and Eleanor Widener, reportedly in honor of Captain Smith.

Afterward, the three friends settled in for a late night of cards in the Smoking Lounge with fellow passenger Arthur Ryerson. They were there at 11:40 p.m., the moment of Titanic’s collision with the iceberg.

Clarence Moore. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


The men reportedly continued their game until about 1:00 a.m. “They were perfectly imperturbable,” testified Archibald Gracie at the American Senate Inquiry.

The last sighting of Frank Millet was on deck, assisting the loading of lifeboats alongside Archie and John Jacob Astor.

Frank never sought salvation himself. Neither he nor Archie survived.

Francis Davis Millet’s corpse was the 249th recovered by the Mackay-Bennett.


CLOTHING - Light overcoat; black pants; grey jacket; evening dress.

EFFECTS - Gold watch and chain; "F. D. M." on watch; glasses; two gold studs; silver tablet bottle; £2 10s. in gold; 8s. in silver; pocketbook.



He was 65 years old.

And, devoted even in death, Frank was remembered in conjunction with his most beloved friend, Archie.

They were jointly mourned across the nation by civilians and the famous alike, and were tearfully praised for their so-called glorious deaths. During a memorial for Archie, President Taft broke down in tears during his eulogy, and could not bear to continue.

It is no surprise to any man who knew Major Butt that he met death like an officer and a gentleman. And none who knew Frank Millet would have expected anything but self-immolation in behalf of women and children.

Mr. Millet was given to unostentatious charities all his life and he spent nearly all he made on others. He was most eager to help any one in any way. Major Butt's kindliness and desire to be helpful and ability to carry out his desires are almost too well known for comment. We can ill spare such men.


Open post

“On a Trip Around the World”: Henry Sutehall, Jr. & Howard Irwin

"On a Trip Around the World": Henry Sutehall, Jr. & Howard Irwin

Henry Sutehall Jr. had been away from home for over two years when he boarded Titanic in Southampton on April 10, 1912.

Harry, as he was called, had been born in England in 1886. He emigrated to the United States with his parents and two younger siblings in 1895. They departed from the docks at Southampton, thereafter settling in Buffalo, New York.

His father worked with plaster in construction; his mother managed the family’s corner store on Delaware Avenue, selling tobacco products, confections, and ice cream.

And when Harry came of age, he took to work as a “trimmer,” working with upholstery in fancy carriages and automobiles.

Harry worked at E. E. Denniston’s in Buffalo. And that was where he met his new best friend: a young Canadian man named Howard Irwin.

The Soldiers & Sailors Monument in Buffalo, NY, circa 1912.


The young men were dissimilar: Harry was unassuming, even-tempered, and genteel, with nary a vice. Howard, on the other hand, was arrogant, adventurous, and irascible. By his own admission, he got into fights.

But they forged a devoted friendship, and soon, Harry Sutehall and Howard Irwin decided to embark on a round-the-world tour.

And so, on New Year’s Day of 1910, Harry and Howard set out on their adventures. Harry brought along his violin, and during their cross-country travels, Howard picked up the clarinet. Harry presumably guided his friend in nurturing his musical skills.

The boys worked their way across the United States; or, as Howard wrote in his journal, “stopping in all the principalities between Buff [Buffalo] and Frisco [San Francisco].”

They financed their travel by working as trimmers whenever they could offer their services. But they took other jobs as well—at one point, they worked as peach-pickers in California.

And then, sometime in the summer of 1911, Harry and Howard headed to Australia.

The ferry Kurraba at Mosman Wharf, Sydney, Australia, circa 1910. Courtesy of the museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.


They arrived in Sydney.

The boys seemed to fare well in Australia. Harry reportedly won a sweepstake of some kind while they were there, which contributed itself toward their travels.

While there, Harry fell in love. The girl's identity has not been discovered to date, but Harry made his intentions clear in the letters he wrote home: he would, one day soon, return to Australia to marry her.

Somewhere along the way, Howard Irwin had also fallen in love--although the relationship appeared to have been deteriorating. Pearl Shuttle had been touring the United States in her own right, as she was either a vaudeville performer or playing cornet a band.

Their love was epistolary, and Howard expressed in his letters to Pearl that because she was so beautiful, that he feared she would fall in love with another man. Over and over again, Pearl attempted to reassure Howard.

“You asked me if the love I had was dying,” Pearl wrote. “I say not.”

After many exchanges sent between Australia and the United States and back again, Pearl sent a seven-page letter to Howard in which she suggested they break up.

The boys parted ways after their stint in Sydney, only because they had diverging interests and they had plenty they each still wanted to see. But they vowed to meet up again along their westward wanderings toward home.

Howard and Harry made good on their word and reunited in Durban, South Africa, where they won a talent contest, perhaps thanks to their musical aptitudes. Then Howard and Harry once again split off, promising to meet again in England in 1912 to head back home on the maiden voyage of Titanic.

After separating from Howard, Harry went on to Europe.

While there, he is reported to have had an audition with American composer John Phillip Sousa. "The March King," as Sousa was widely known, had great esteem for Harry's talent but alas, he had no need for a violinist. So he advised the young man as to potential avenues he might take, to further his musical ambitions.

Eventually, Harry made it to England ahead of schedule. He stayed with family and enjoyed the reunion; they had not seen each other in five years, since 1907.

John Phillip Sousa circa 1900. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Harry Sutehall boarded Titanic as a Third-Class passenger at Southampton on April 10, 1912. He was unexpectedly alone.

For reasons still unconfirmed, Howard Irwin didn't show up.

By some accounts, Howard had left Europe two months early, because Pearl was deathly ill, and he had rushed to be with her. By Howard's own account, he had been shanghaied: the night before, he had gone out drinking with some random fellows and when he woke up, he was on an eastbound steamer vessel, heading to the Orient.

Not many people believed him.

Regardless of Howard's absence, Harry curiously boarded Titanic in possession of Howard's trunk. Maybe it was a mistake; maybe, it was a favor for his friend who had left it behind.

Harry Sutehall Jr. did not survive the sinking. He was 25 years old.

Howard Irwin claimed he was in Port Said, Egypt, when he heard that Titanic had foundered. He returned home thereafter, without his belongings and without his best friend.

In 1993, a submersible recovered Howard Irwin's luggage from the wreck site of Titanic. Inside, were his clarinet and shoes,  a leather satchel filled with letters from Ms. Pearl Shuttle, and his travel diary from 1910.

The first entry reads:

With luck this trip will take us two years and with bad luck (WELL) we are going anyway.

Open post

“I Have Never Seen Such a Sky”: Vera & Albert Dick

"I Have Never Seen Such a Sky": Vera & Albert Dick

By the time he was 24 years old, Albert Adrian Dick was already on top of the world.

He and his brother had become two of the most successful and diversified business owners in Alberta, Canada. What had begun as a sawmill enterprise in 1904 had been so successful that their venture evolved, and soon thereafter also boasted a real-estate business, a three-story office building, and a hotel in Calgary called the Alexandra.

Bert, as he was known, took to high living throughout the remainder of his twenties, enjoying poker and the company of beautiful women.

But at the age of 31, Bert at last decided it was time to settle down.

So he did exactly that. He wooed and wed the beautiful--and young--Vera Gillepsie. She was 16 years old at the time, 14 years younger than he.

Their wedding was on May 31, 1911. On that very same day, across the Atlantic, the RMS Titanic was launched in Belfast.

The launch of the RMS Titanic in Belfast, Ireland, on May 11, 1911. Taken by John Westbeech Kempster.


Bert's ongoing work commitments delayed the couple's honeymoon until the winter of 1911. They traveled to Egypt, the Holy Land, France, and Italy.

Bert got into some trouble in Naples, though, when he was somehow swindled by professional gamblers. Vera was livid upon hearing the news.

Bert reportedly accompanied Vera on a lavish shopping spree on their return trip through London, in order to placate his new wife in her ire. They purchased a large number of replica antique furniture at that time, planning to furnish their new home, a Tudor-style mansion in the wealthy Mount Royal District in Calgary.

An eastward view of the intersection of 8th Avenue and Centre Streets, Calgary, Alberta Province, Canada, circa 1912.


By this point in her honeymoon travels, Vera was homesick and missing her mother fiercely--understandable, given that she was 17 years old. But she was enlivened to learn that Bert had booked passage on Titanic's maiden voyage for their return home, and Vera would meet so many glamorous, famous people.

Vera and Bert boarded Titanic at Southampton on April 10th as First-Class passengers. The couple occupied suite B-20; a lavish accommodation, surely, but not one of the exalted "Millionaires Suites" for which Vera had hoped.

In spite of this disappointment, Vera excited urged her husband up and down the ship. She wanted to examine and experience every opulent detail: the Grand Staircase, each First-Class public space, even the horse-riding machine in the gymnasium.

Unlike many of their peers in First Class, the Dicks were not accompanied by a maid or manservant. Vera, therefore, had to unpack her clothing on her own.

She claimed she was concerned about the range of sartorial choices she had available, as she had read in fashion magazines that fine ladies on board liners like Titanic changed their outfits upwards of four times a day.

And for that first dinner on board on April 10th, Vera was particularly anxious; she did not have the same sorts of jewels and finery as other First-Class women would.

That, accompanied by the fact that the Dicks might be perceived as Nouveau Riche by their fellow passengers, caused Vera an acute dread as she and Bert entered the reception room that night. Luckily for Vera, she eyed the other women in the area and her confidence returned. Yes, she had less gemstones, but she none the less felt very pretty.

Thomas Andrews, July 1911.


That night, Vera and Bert Dick befriended a distinguished passenger: Thomas Andrews, the chief architect for Harland & Wolff. They made pleasant and intellectual conversation; Mr. Andrews seemed to enjoy their company.

Once Vera and Albert were seated at their table, things got awkward.

Their steward, a dark-haired and attractive 20-year-old named Reginald Jones, took a shine to young Vera, and she to him. She chatted gaily and laughed with him about the menu and the ship, unabashedly enjoying their exchange.

Bert decidedly did not. Once they were alone, he scolded his wife for her mindless flirtation. It was simply indecent to have such familiarity with the waitstaff, he insisted.

Vera outright dismissed his admonishment and deliberately continued her friendly chatter with Reginald Jones throughout the meal.

Vera then became vexed, when immediately after dinner, Bert elected to retire to the men-only First-Class Smoking Lounge.

For a man with such a gambling habit, she felt very strongly that room of cigars and playing cards was a perilous place for her new husband to spend time.

The First-Class Smoking Lounge on Titanic’s older sister, Olympic, circa 1911. Taken by Robert John Welch for Harland & Wolff.


Other passengers supposedly overheard the couple's argument that night, and Vera told friends that they had fight after fight during the voyage.

On the evening of April 14th, Thomas Andrews invited the Dicks to dine with him at his table. Vera, though flattered, found herself bored. Bert and Mr. Andrews spoke of nothing but the technical and engineering aspects of the ship. And because they were seated at a different table than usual, Reginald Jones was not their steward.

The gentlemen were so engrossed that the party was the last to leave the dining saloon. They migrated to the Cafe Parisien for a late-night coffee.

Le Cafe Parisien on Titanic. Taken by Robert John Welch for Harland & Wolff.


After Vera and Albert had parted ways with Mr. Andrews, they took a brief stroll around deck. They quickly found it too cold to enjoy the exercise, and so they retired to bed.

According to Vera, they were once again arguing quite heatedly when they were startled by a noise "like a thunderclap," although in a contemporary report by the Calgary Herald, he supposedly did not find the shock terribly "severe." Per a contemporary report, Dick then went up on boat deck to hunt the cause of the disturbance, where he saw ice on the deck. He returned to Vera in their cabin.

And then, according to Vera and Bert, there was a rather urgent knock at their cabin door.

It was Reginald Jones.

He had wanted to warn the couple that a collision had occurred, and that the Captain had ordered all passengers to hasten to the boat deck with their lifebelts. Bert and Vera dressed--although Vera only in her nightgown and kimono--grabbed their lifebelts and went up on deck as Reginald Jones had advised.

[Vera] went up on deck with him, because she said she wanted to see an iceberg. They were assured by the officers that there was really no danger and were advised to go back to their cabins. They did so, but Dick himself was not absolutely assured of the ship’s safety. This uneasiness was caused, said Mr. Dick, “through a previous railway accident which I had undergone, which made me decide to make sure that everything was safe."

Once there, the Dicks saw that many other First-Class passengers were simply milling about without direction. Reticent to enter the lifeboats that were being launched before their eyes, Vera and Bert wondered if it would be prudent to remain on the ship.

But then they encountered Thomas Andrews. He advised his new friends to get into a lifeboat immediately. Mr. Andrews delivered a bewildered Vera and dazed Bert to First Officer William Murdoch, who was launching odd-numbered lifeboats off the starboard side. "More passengers for you, sir," he said to Officer Murdoch. And then Thomas bid Vera and Bert farewell.

Vera reported that during this time, Reginald Jones found them once again, and urged her to put her lifebelt on, instead of carrying it as she had been. "Put your lifejacket on, ma'am," she claimed he urged her. "It's the latest thing this season."

As Vera and Bert embraced in parting, Officer Murdoch reportedly pushed Bert by the shoulder and urged him to follow his wife into Lifeboat 3.

Mr. Dick complied.

“During the lowering of the boat – which was 70 feet above the water – several times we were in danger of being “upended” as the new rope would not work well. However, we got afloat and safely away from the ship and cautiously picked our way among the large masses of floating ice. We had some difficulty at first in finding the oars, but I eventually found one and with the stokers commenced to row. I rowed all night until I was completely played out. We saw the great liner plunge to her water grave and heard the awful cries of the drowning people after the boat had disappeared."

While in the lifeboat, Vera whispered in awe to Bert. "I have never seen such a sky... even in Canada, where we have such clear nights." Floating in the dark and without a lantern, the crewman in the lifeboat took to lighting matches to check the time.

Once on board the rescue ship Carpathia, Vera collapsed in a deck chair in tears.

The Dicks later discovered that tragically, Thomas Andrews had not survived the sinking. And neither had Reginald Jones.

Vera and Bert were interviewed by the media after they disembarked from the rescue ship Carpathia in New York City. In these reports, it certainly seems that the Vera's youthful naivete was amplified for entertainment's sake.

“We were hurried helter-skelter into the lifeboats,” she said as she clung with a vise-like grip to her husband’s arm.

“Did you save any clothing!” someone asked.

“My nightgown and kimono,” she replied.

Then, pointing to a white worsted cap that she wore Mrs. Dick said: “I bought this thing in the barber shop on board the Carpathia.”

But this was hardly the most damaging representation of the Dicks due to the disaster. Specifically, Bert Dick was scrutinized and ostracized for his survival. Like other men who were rescued in lifeboats that night, he was accused of dressing in women's clothing to be permitted to board. His objections that he had been urged into the lifeboat by the First Officer--and that he had been one of twenty or so men in that same lifeboat--did nothing to sway public opinion.

As a result, the society elites of Calgary stopped patronizing Bert's hotel. Eventually, he sold it and turned his attention to real estate.

Yet, Bert seemed unaffected by this loss. He had been set right, he said, by the Titanic disaster. In the Dicks' interview with the aforementioned Calgary Herald just two weeks after the sinking, Bert said. “This is the most trying experience that I have ever gone through, and I will never forget the awful cries and moaning of the drowning, struggling people," He put his arm around Vera. "But it is to this little woman that I owe my life.”

And in an interview with the periodical Maclean Magazine, Bert is quoted as a changed man. "[Before Titanic] I thought of nothing but money... The Titanic cured me of that. Since then I have been happier than I ever was before."

Vera and Dick went on to have a daughter named Gilda, and they were married for the rest of their lives. He died in 1970; she, in 1973.

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4 5
Scroll to top