Dr Henry William Frauenthal was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on 13 March 1863, the son of German immigrants Samuel Frauenthal (a merchant) and Henrietta Lowenstein. He had three brothers Isaac Gerald, Herman and Isidor, and two sisters, Rose and Carrie.
Frauenthal graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in analytical chemistry in 1888. It was while working as a chemist with the Rossie Iron Ore Company of Spragueville, New York that he studied medicine at Bellevue Hospital Medical College. He qualified as a doctor in 1890 and worked as partner to an orthopaedic surgeon for the next eleven years before entering private practice. Among his patients was actress Marie Dressler (Lee 1997)
Dr. Frauenthal's specific medical interest was the treatment of chronic joint diseases. In 1904, he established a clinic to practice new treatments for these ailments. His techniques proved so successful that the clinic expanded and in 1908 and another building was added. Frauenthal's medical prowess brought financial rewards and he was at the height of his career when, on 26 March 1912, he married Clara Heinsheimer in France, just over two weeks later they boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers for their return journey to the United States (Ticket No PC 17611, £133 13s). Henry's brother Isaac joined them at Cherbourg.
New York Herald, 17 April 1912
Dr Frauenthal, his wife and brother were rescued after leaping into lifeboat 5. A large man, he reportedly weighed 250 pounds, Henry landed on top of Annie May Stengel and broke several of her ribs.
After their fortuitous escape Frauenthal returned to his work at the hospital which continued to grow. In 1914 a new building was erected and more than 48,000 treatments were given during its first year of operation.
Having married late in life, Dr. Frauenthal and his wife had no children but they raised a foster-daughter, Natalie. Both Clara and her husband suffered from mental health problems in later years and in the early hours of 11 March 1927 Dr. Frauenthal committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of his hospital building.
He left the bulk of his fortune to the hospital and, in a bizarre footnote to his will, requested that his ashes be scattered from the roof of the hospital on the fiftieth anniversary of its incorporation.
References and Sources
Denver Post, 19 April 1912, Panic Terrible Just Before Vessel Sank
New York Herald, 19 April 1912, Cripples to Greet Titanic Survivor
New York Times, 12 March 1927 Dr. H.W. Frauenthal is Killed by Fall
New York Times, 12 March 1927, Articles
New York Times, 14 March 1927, Throng Mourns Dr. Frauenthal
New York Times, 15 March 1927, Frauenthal Leaves Estate to Hospital
New York Times, 5 October 1955, Ashes Tossed to Winds
State of New York Certificate of Death
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55)
Betty Lee (1997) Marie Dressler, The Unlikeliest Star. University of Kentucky Press
Phillip Gowan, USA
Jeffrey Kern, USA
Hans J. Wollstein, Denmark
Articles and Stories
New York Times (1912)
New York Herald (1912)
Denver Post (1912)
The Daily Banner (1912)