Michael Ridge

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Dec 15, 2005
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Hello, I'm working on a play about the Titanic and I was wondering if anyone could give me detailed information such as hobbies, why were they traveling, their personal/family history, personality, and personal property of the following people:
Allison family,
Thomas Andrews,
Charlotte Appleton,
the Astors,
Madame Aubert and Benjamin Guggenheim,
Helen and Dickinson Bishop,
Mauritz Bjornstrom-Steffansson,
"Molly" Brown,
Major Archibald Butt,
Helen Candee,
Charlotte and Thomas Cardeza,
the Carters,
the Countess of Rothes and Gladys Cherry,
Paul Chevre,
the Crosbys,
the Duff-Gordons,
Edith Evans,
the Fortunes,
Pauline and Dorothy Gibson,
Colonel Gracie,
the Harris',
Bruce Ismay,
Margaret Hays,
Milton Long,
the Marvins,
Edith Rosenbaum,
the Ryersons,
Lucian and Mary Smith,
the Straus',
the Thayers,
the Taussigs,
the Wideners,
Marie Young,
and the Williams.
I'm very sorry if this is to much to ask.

Mike
 
Sep 26, 1999
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Thats quite a list, I suggest you go into each passengers biography on this website and read each one. I think you can find most of everything you are looking for.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
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Darren's right, Michael - quite a tall order. I would follow his advice and start with their ET bios.

Several of these people had books published on their lives - Lady Duff Gordon and Dorothy Gibson, for example. The Astor, Ismay and Guggenheim families have definitely had books written on them and I wouldn't be surprised if the same were true for the Strauses and others on the list. The life of Ethel Fortune's son, Crawford Gordon, was the subject of a bio called "Arrow Through the Hart". Dan Akroyd portrayed him in a movie.

Major Butt and the Harrises, among others on the list, mixed with many of the movers and shakers of their day and so might appear in bios on some of their contemporaries; check politicos of the day for Major Butt and theatre folk for the Harrises. Rene Harris featured prominently in Moss Hart's autobio "Act One", for example.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
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Mike - on second thought, one way to get a sense of the lives these people led is reading history. To see how the Countess of R might have lived, read some of the many bios on famous Edwardian aristocrats. To get a sense of how the Thayers and Ryersons might have lived and socialized, there are many books on the WASPs of New England (and more particularly Philadelphia's Main Line, according to a recent Gilded Age thread).

To get a sense of the Strauses and Taussigs, many books on Jewish history would discuss the influence and cultural pursuits of the wealthy German Jews of New York of their day.

Edith Evans came from an old Protestant New York family, so read about Edith Wharton's background; it was similar.

Hokan Mauritz Bjornstrom-Steffansson came from a small country (Sweden) and had an uncommon name, so his family might not be hard to research.

Helen and Dickinson Bishop both came from small Michigan towns. Now the small street my mother grew up on in St. Louis has been the subject of a book by what one can assume was a very devoted local historian, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least one Michigan historian has written about Sturgis or Dowagiac. Maybe they discussed who was important there and what significant events might have touched the town. Judging from newspaper accounts of their lives, the Bishops partied a great deal with others among the young idle rich of their region - people whose families would have built the businesses and historic buildings, etc. So read about the rich of Michigan in the industrial era and you'll get some idea of how the Bishops lived, whether or not material mentions them.

Again, for specific interests and hobbies of these people, you will just have to read ET bios and existing books. Many researchers on this board and elsewhere have uncovered vast amounts of previously unknown info on these people, but they're working on writing projects of their own and are sitting on it, which they are, of course, fully entitled to do. They've put the work in and we can't expect them to just hand the fruits of their labor over to those of us who haven't made the effort.
 
May 1, 2004
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Hustak, Alan - Titanic : The Canadian Story may have some information on the Fortunes, the Allisons and Mrs. Margaret (Charles) Hays, as well as other passengers.
Mrs. Mark Fortune and Lt. Col Arthur G. Peuchen are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto. (Lt. Col. Peuchen - Major at the time - was in Boat 6, Mrs. Brown's boat, and dined with the Allisons)
Mike Filey's book - "Mount Pleasant Cemetery" and /or www.findagrave.com have short bios of both, including a picture of each.
I can't find much book material on Charles M. Hays and his family, but you may have luck googling "Grand Trunk Railway" or "Canadian Grand Trunk Railway" as well as his name.
Histories of Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg for background and pictures. (The Fortunes lived in Winnipeg) I don't know where you are, or if you can get them on interloan, but "William James' Toronto views" by William James, and "Toronto to 1918" by J.M.S. Careless are two with the largest number of pictures of Toronto in Major Peuchen's time.
There is a good adult book about Margaret Brown, but I can't remember its name, and it's not in our library catalogue. Amazon.com may have it listed.
Newspapers on microfilm of course. I noticed when looking for another subject that Charles Hays had made a speech just before leaving London that British businessmen should invest more heavily in Canada. The mention was in the Times (London) I believe the text was summarized there too.
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
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I would definitely recommend Hustak's book. The Fortunes are just one family featured in the book who rarely turn up elsewhere.

You've reminded me, Marilyn, that a few months ago, I googled "Harrison Driscoll" (Mabel Fortune's husband) and "Charles Holden Allen" (Alice Fortune's husband) and both searches yielded results. Allen because he was a noted businessman, as mentioned by Hustak, but Driscoll because he is slightly remembered in jazz circles after all. I THINK some venue he played at in Winnipeg is still there and his connection to the Fortunes and the Titanic is mentioned on the website.

A recent study on Crawford Gordon revealed a family tree online. This revealed that Mark Fortune's parents were also Scottish immigrants, as ET says Mary's were. I tend to think of the Fortunes as unpretentious, self-made stock, but this is only speculation.

The Allisons are somewhat more written about, and the general picture is a life devoted not only to business, but to their homes, horses and religion.

Oh, and the Molly Brown book is "Molly Brown: Unravelling the Myth" by Kristen Iversen (sp?).
 

Brian Ahern

Member
Dec 19, 2002
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Darren,
Crawford Gordon's been dead for many decades. He died of alcoholism in New York City after his career and his marriage had tanked. I assume he had children, but your guess is as good as mine as to how to get in touch with them.
Regards,
Brian
 

Ben Holme

Member
Feb 11, 2001
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Dear Darren and Brian,

I enjoyed a brief correspodance with William Gordon some years ago, and I may have retained his email address. William was Crawford and Ethel's grandson.

Best Regards,
Ben
 
May 1, 2004
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Congratulations! Three little ones to keep you busy. I hope you'll have time and energy for your play.
Are your children 3 sons, 3 daughters, 2 sons and a daughter or 2 daughters and a son?
 

Arne Mjåland

Member
Oct 21, 2001
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Hallo Michael
Here is something about Marie C. Young from the obituary about her in Amsterdam Recorder, Amsterdam, N.Y. July 28 1959:
"Some time after she was rescued an account of the catastrophe written by Miss Young was published in the National Magazine."
I guess it might have been in an issue 1912 . 1913 or perhaps 1914. The back numbers for those years may be available in most large American libraries I should think.
Marie Young died at the Mount Loretto Convalescent and Rest home. Her only survivor was a great-niece Mrs. Harold D. Decker, Londonville
 

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