Benjamin Laventall Foreman was born in November 1881 in Albany, Albany County, New York, the son of Henry W. Foreman (1855-1925)1 and Rose Laventall (1860-1939).2 His father worked as a wholesale hop dealer.
On 16 February 1892, Benjamin, his parents, and brothers Elliot, Robert, Edwin, and Jules, as well as a servant (Kate Quinn) lived in Albany, New York. His father worked as an agent at that time.3
On 3 May 1900, Benjamin left New York City to live in St. Gallen (also called St. Gall), Switzerland for two years to work as a merchant. He applied for a passport at Berne on 13 February 1901. He was described on the passport as being six-feet-tall, low forehead, brown eyes, medium nose and mouth, pointed chin, dark brown hair, fair complexion, with an oblong face.4 St. Gallen had a population of about 54,000 in 1900 and was 'the largest and most important export area for embroidery' (today it has a textile museum).5
Despite being in Europe, Benjamin was listed on 11 June 1900, as living with his parents and siblings Elliott, Robert, Edwin, Jewell, and Frank, as well as two female servants, at 278 Hamilton Street in Albany, Albany County, New York. He was working as a lace buyer.6
On 17 February 1903, Benjamin applied for a passport. He had left the United States on 10 January 1903 and planned on staying for another two years in St. Gallen, Switzerland.7
Benjamin sailed from Liverpool on 26 December 1908 aboard the Lusitania. He arrived in New York on 2 January 1909. He was listed as a 'merchant' on the passenger list.8
On 19 April 1910, Benjamin lived with his parents and brothers Elliott, Robert, Edwin, Jules, and Francis (and a female servant Ida Slavick) in an apartment building at 306 W. 99th Street in Manhattan, New York. His father continued to work as a hops dealer while Benjamin was now listed as embroideries salesman (as was his brother Edwin).9
Benjamin boarded the Titanic at Cherboug. He was assigned cabin C-111.
The night of April 15th, Edith Rosenbaum stated that she had seen [Foreman] near her in the ship's library about two hours before the ship struck the iceberg. Abraham L. Solomon said that after the collision, he saw Foreman on deck with a life belt and a steamer rug, and asked him to come to an upper deck to enter a lifeboat. Mr. Foreman, remained on the lower deck.
Benjamin's younger brother Edwin filed letters of administration for his estate, valued at $10,000 (although it was later valued at $32,801).10 There apparently was some confusion as to whether Benjamin was actually on board the Titanic, so Edwin had to secure letters from Edith Rosenbaum, Abraham Solomon, and Samuel Goldenberg to prove his presence aboard the ship.11