Mr Karl Howell Behr

Karl Howell Behr

Mr Karl Howell Behr, 26, was born 30 May 1885, in Brooklyn, New York; the son of Herman Behr and Grace Howell.

Karl Behr was educated at Lawrenceville School and Yale. He was admitted to the bar in 1910. Behr was also a well known lawn tennis star. Playing on the United States Davis Cup team in 1907. Behr, with Beals C. Wright, was also runner up in the 1907 Wimbledon men's doubles championship.

Behr boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger; he occupied cabin C-148 (111369, £30). He had been pursuing Helen Monypeny Newsom, a friend of his sister. In fact, part of the reason he was on the Titanic was to continue his courtship of Miss Newsom. Mrs Beckwith, Helen's mother had been attempting to discourage the relationship and had taken Miss Newsom on a "Grand Tour" of Europe to separate them for a time. It did not work as Behr invented a business trip to Europe and arranged to book passage on the Titanic for his return to America.

On the night of the wreck, Behr joined the Beckwiths, Helen Newsom, and Edwin and Mrs Kimball on the starboard boat deck. Although Third Officer Herbert Pitman was in charge of loading lifeboat 5 Bruce Ismay was also urging wary passengers into the boat. Mrs Kimball stepped forward and asked if they could all go together, and Ismay replied, "Of course, madam, every one of you." As a result, Karl Behr and his friends were rescued in Boat 5.

Whilst returning to New York on the Carpathia, Behr and some other survivors (Mr Frederic K. Seward - Chairman, Molly Brown, Mauritz Björnström-Steffansson, Frederic Oakley Spedden, Isaac Frauenthal and George Harder) formed a committee to honour the bravery of Captain Rostron and his crew. They would present the Captain with an inscribed silver cup and medals to each of the 320 crew members.

In March, 1913, just short of a year after the catastrophe, Karl and Miss Newsom were married in the Church of the Transfiguration. The couple had 4 children; three sons, Karl H. Behr Jr. (still alive, Florida), Peter Behr (b. May 24, 1915, d. March 10, 1997 in San Rafael, California), and James Behr (b. July 16, 1920, d. June 14, 1976, Napa, California), and a daughter, Sally Behr (later Mrs Samuel Pettit, b. March 8, 1928, d. September 1995, Wilmington, Delaware)

Behr later went into banking; he was vice-president of Dillon, Read & Co., bankers, of 28 Nassau St., NY. He was also on the board of the Fisk Rubber Company, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and the National Cash Register Company. At his death he was a director of he Interchemical Corporation, the Behr-Manning Corporation of Troy, N.Y., and the Witherbee Sherman Corporation. His clubs included the Downtown, University and Yale, and the St. Nicholas Society.

Karl Behr's died on 15 October 1949, he was buried at Evergreen Cemertery, Morristown,New Jersey.

© Michael A. Findlay, USA

His widow later married one of his best friends and tennis partners, Dean Mathey. Helen died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1965

All England Club Records
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
United States Social Security Records

Colleen Collier,USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
Rob Ottmers, USA
Alan Y. Schaevitz, USA (Husband of James Behr's daughter)



Tennis stars Richard Norris Williams II (left) and Karl Behr pose after winning the Davis Cup together
Karl Behr Playing Tennis
Titanic survivor Karl Behr tennis player
Karl Behr playing tennis in 1908

Articles and Stories

Titanic Review (2011) 
New York Times (1965) 
New York Times (1949) 
New York Times (1939) 
New York Times (1915) 
New York Times (1913) 
New York Times (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1912) 
Brooklyn Daily Times (1912) 
Brooklyn Daily Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
Newark Evening News (1912) 
New York Evening Post (1912) 
The Times (1909) 
The Times (1907) 

Link and cite this biography

(2017) Karl Howell Behr Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #23, updated 26th August 2017 14:50:02 PM)

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