Anna Sjöblom


Antiscamp

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I have found something relating to Anna Sjöblom that I find interesting and would like a few comments on. Her inspection card when boarding the Titanic was saved as she had it with her on the Carpathia, and led to a legal battle in the 90's as it sold for 100,000 dollars at an auction. An image of that inspection card is also reproduced on Anna's Encyclopedia Titanica page.

sjoblom_b-pass.jpg

I find that you can see her cabin number in the image. It is to the lower right of the big right hand side number "2". I interpret what is written there as 04/134. that would mean bed number 04 in cabin number 134, wouldn't it? The Berth number should be to the lower left of the "2", but someone has erased that and changed it. Maybe they gave Anna another cabin at boarding when they noted she spoke Swedish and not Finnish. Gave her a cabin with Swedish passengers instead. Here's another image of Anna's card:

ab0a4958039ee77c10d6751fa4753789.jpg

Now, I was just googling Titanic inspection cards to see if I could find a similar one to compare. And yes. I found another one from cabin 134, but with bed number 02! This one belonged to Velin Öhman from Sweden. Claes-Göran Wetterholm's book on Nordic Titanic passengers has only a few words on Velin Öhman. She was 22 and from Mariestad, Sweden, and on her way to Chicago.

Inspection Card Velin.jpg

It's rather miraculous that two cards of this sort should have survived the Titanic disaster. Anna Sjöblom said that she had her card safe because she had it in a pouch that she had sown inside her jacket as to never lose her paperwork. Maybe the girls in that cabin 134 did that together to pass some time and as a cool thing to do.

I'd like some opinions, because to me it's kinda important to find out what Anna's cabin was and where.
 
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The cabin given to her was changed because she changed the ship. She actually was going with the Adriatic but her sailing was cancelled and she was transferred to Titanic.
Her cabin was at the stern on D Deck, Section O, Cabin 134, Bed No. 4.
 
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Using the Deck Plan from Bruce Beveridge I have marked here her cabin, which was for 6 people. The cabin was close to the 3rd class staircase (and to the only 2 bathtubs for the 3rd class passengers).

Sjlöbloms Cabin.jpg
 

B-rad

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I just visited her grave (respectfully) and have been doing a lot of research of her lately as literally she lived in my neighborhood. I plan on doing an in depth research article and possibly a documentary of her life. I ask anyone who has any relations or info to contact me. I will only do the paper or doc. If its done true and legitimately. I've never visited a grave of a person from titanic and to say that it didn't make me respect my obligation as a researcher would be a lie.
 

Antiscamp

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Hey! I'm not related to Anna Sjöblom, but I'm related to one of her travelling companions, Alfred Bonäs (in my profile pic) and come from Anna's home area. My older relateives around here, in fact, remember Anna Sjöblom very well, because she came home to visit Finland at about 1970 (she died in -75), and made a lasting impression.

There's an interview Anna made with Finnish State Media, YLE, in 1970. It's in Swedish (or Swenglish, actually, because Anna had forgotten much of her Swedish during the time in America) that you can listen to here: Överlevande från Titanic I think I made a translation of it into English; I'll see if I can find it.
 

B-rad

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Thanks, so very much, that is awesome! I appreciate it! Perhaps we can talk more later about Alfred and her home area. Any help will be well mentioned in my report or doc. Got to run for now, but just wanted to say thank!
 

B-rad

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Will need a translation for sure lol. It's amazing to have a recording of her voice. I have so many questions, but I will write you what I have so far in a message and some questions. I really want to do a documentary film so this project will take a while, so please bare with me. I am trying to get a hold of family that still lives here also. Like I said long process! ☺
 

bwarpup

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In the book "On A Sea Of Glass," they have Anna's room being in the bow, not in room 134 in the stern. While they don't mention the inspection card that does indeed give that number, they base the bow decision off of Anna's accounts of the disaster, where she says that her cabin began flooding very quickly, and she was chased out of it by the incoming water. This wouldn't have happened had her room been in the stern, as those rooms never flooded until the breakup. In my opinion, either her inspection card room number was incorrect, or she was telling some fibs to the press. She also claimed she saw an officer shoot himself, and if one did, she was on the complete opposite side of the ship where it supposedly happened, which certainly raises some questions as to the validity of her accounts. Regardless, it is interesting how people have placed her cabin in both the stern and the bow. Perhaps we'll never know where she really was.
 

Arun Vajpey

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In the book "On A Sea Of Glass," they have Anna's room being in the bow, not in room 134 in the stern. While they don't mention the inspection card that does indeed give that number, they base the bow decision off of Anna's accounts of the disaster, where she says that her cabin began flooding very quickly, and she was chased out of it by the incoming water. This wouldn't have happened had her room been in the stern, as those rooms never flooded until the breakup
It does indeed, on pp 147 and 160. But as IG shows through BB's deckplan, Cabin 134 was a 6-people female passenger cabin at the stern. That's what is shown here on her ET bio as well, where a facsmilie of the card is shown. But if she claimed that her room started to flood early and she had to literally flee to the boat deck ahead of the water, it suggests, that could only have been from the bow.

The reference for the account on p160 of On A Sea If Glass (218, Ch4), simply says "account provided by Mike Poirier" with no details. I would like Mr Poirer to provide details about his source. As it says below, there might have been an element of unreliability in Anna Sjoblom's account of her survival.

She also claimed she saw an officer shoot himself, and if one did, she was on the complete opposite side of the ship where it supposedly happened, which certainly raises some questions as to the validity of her accounts.
Yes, and as above. While it is not clear on which particular lifeboat Anna Sjoblom was saved, Peter Engberg-Klarstrom conjectures that it must have been one of the starboard aft lifeboats. She also claimed in an interview with Tacoma Daily News on 30th April 1912 that her lifeboat was overloaded and 'next to last' to be lowered on that section of the ship, which means that it must have been #13 or #15 but I don't know if she said anything about the drama associated with lowering of those two lifeboats. Even if her boat was #11 (and some accounts, especially Eaton & Haas' sources, do say #11 was overloaded; Steward Edward Wheelton is supposed to have collected and led a large group of women into that boat), it was lowered at around 01:32 am, which does not fit in with her account of being 'chased onto the boat deck by the flooding'.

We must remember that Sunday 14th April 1912 was Anna Sjoblom's 18th birthday and she had travelled from Finland on board the SS Polaris with a large group of Finns that included her schoolmate Jakob Wiklund and his brother among others. Might she have been celebrating a bit too enthusiastically that night?

Regardless, it is interesting how people have placed her cabin in both the stern and the bow. Perhaps we'll never know where she really was.
There are reasons for that confusion. Theoretically at least, single Third Class men were berthed near the bow and single women near the stern, which ties in with Anna Sjoblom's cabin being 134 as shown in BB's deck plan. But, was it Eugene Daly (or another Irishman) who claimed that when the Third Class men started swarming towards the stern soon after the collision and following early flooding of their cabins, there were several girls among them? That statement is not without support:

In his book A Night To Remember, Walter Lord says that many young men from Third Class rooms in the bow, alerted by the early flooding, 'hurried aft to join the girls'. Anna Sjoblom and another girl were reportedly awakened by a Danish 'swain', which is a bit different from her being in the bow and chased up by the water etc. Also, in ANTR there is account of bow Anna and another girl climbed a ladder near the First Class A la carte restaurant to reach the boat deck. Of course, as far as I know, the restaurant was well towards the stern on B-deck.

On p80 of Paul Quinn's book Dusk To Dawn, which has several survivor quotes, Anna Sjoblom is supposed to have said that the shock of the collision woke her up. Everyone, presumably in her cabin, became excited; she put on some clothes and went outside.

All these ambiguous accounts must have been ramifications of statements originating from Anna Sjoblom herself. While there might have been a bit of third party embellishment, one cannot exclude the possibility that Anna and perhaps a few others were not where they were actually supposed to be on her 18th birthday night just before the collision.
 

Arun Vajpey

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But, was it Eugene Daly (or another Irishman) who claimed that when the Third Class men started swarming towards the stern soon after the collision and following early flooding of their cabins, there were several girls among them?
Sorry to be quoting myself, but I checked and found clarification in Paul Quinn's Dusk to Dawn. In the third column of p94, it is stated that its was Daniel Buckley (and not Eugene Daly like I thought earlier) who saw several girls coming aft with the young men soon after the collision.
 

bwarpup

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Jan 5, 2021
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It does indeed, on pp 147 and 160. But as IG shows through BB's deckplan, Cabin 134 was a 6-people female passenger cabin at the stern. That's what is shown here on her ET bio as well, where a facsmilie of the card is shown. But if she claimed that her room started to flood early and she had to literally flee to the boat deck ahead of the water, it suggests, that could only have been from the bow.

The reference for the account on p160 of On A Sea If Glass (218, Ch4), simply says "account provided by Mike Poirier" with no details. I would like Mr Poirer to provide details about his source. As it says below, there might have been an element of unreliability in Anna Sjoblom's account of her survival.

Yes, and as above. While it is not clear on which particular lifeboat Anna Sjoblom was saved, Peter Engberg-Klarstrom conjectures that it must have been one of the starboard aft lifeboats. She also claimed in an interview with Tacoma Daily News on 30th April 1912 that her lifeboat was overloaded and 'next to last' to be lowered on that section of the ship, which means that it must have been #13 or #15 but I don't know if she said anything about the drama associated with lowering of those two lifeboats. Even if her boat was #11 (and some accounts, especially Eaton & Haas' sources, do say #11 was overloaded; Steward Edward Wheelton is supposed to have collected and led a large group of women into that boat), it was lowered at around 01:32 am, which does not fit in with her account of being 'chased onto the boat deck by the flooding'.

We must remember that Sunday 14th April 1912 was Anna Sjoblom's 18th birthday and she had travelled from Finland on board the SS Polaris with a large group of Finns that included her schoolmate Jakob Wiklund and his brother among others. Might she have been celebrating a bit too enthusiastically that night?

There are reasons for that confusion. Theoretically at least, single Third Class men were berthed near the bow and single women near the stern, which ties in with Anna Sjoblom's cabin being 134 as shown in BB's deck plan. But, was it Eugene Daly (or another Irishman) who claimed that when the Third Class men started swarming towards the stern soon after the collision and following early flooding of their cabins, there were several girls among them? That statement is not without support:

In his book A Night To Remember, Walter Lord says that many young men from Third Class rooms in the bow, alerted by the early flooding, 'hurried aft to join the girls'. Anna Sjoblom and another girl were reportedly awakened by a Danish 'swain', which is a bit different from her being in the bow and chased up by the water etc. Also, in ANTR there is account of bow Anna and another girl climbed a ladder near the First Class A la carte restaurant to reach the boat deck. Of course, as far as I know, the restaurant was well towards the stern on B-deck.

On p80 of Paul Quinn's book Dusk To Dawn, which has several survivor quotes, Anna Sjoblom is supposed to have said that the shock of the collision woke her up. Everyone, presumably in her cabin, became excited; she put on some clothes and went outside.

All these ambiguous accounts must have been ramifications of statements originating from Anna Sjoblom herself. While there might have been a bit of third party embellishment, one cannot exclude the possibility that Anna and perhaps a few others were not where they were actually supposed to be on her 18th birthday night just before the collision.
All very good insights. I'll add that on page 403 of "On A Sea Of Glass" endnote #23, they give a good explanation for their reasoning for Anna Sjoblom and a few other girls's cabins to be in the bow.

I believe in her account she claims she went to bed early and wasn't feeling well, though again, we don't know how much of this is true.

Also, everything I've seen puts her lifeboat as #16 on the aft port side; I've yet to come across anything for the starboard side. Although as you've said there is definitely some uncertainty as to which lifeboat she was in.

There is definitely evidence supporting both her cabin being in the stern as well as the bow; although the stern evidence is a little more concrete i.e. the inspection card, while the bow evidence is just based off of her account and doesn't have as much strong evidence other than having to take her at her word.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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'll add that on page 403 of "On A Sea Of Glass" endnote #23, they give a good explanation for their reasoning for Anna Sjoblom and a few other girls's cabins to be in the bow.
Thanks; I had missed that. Considering several single girls- Bertha Mulvihill, Emily Badman, Anna Sjoblom etc - reported water in their cabins etc soon after the collision, I agree that some of them might have been berthed at the bow. There might have been some unofficial 'redistribution' of cabins after departure (see below)
I believe in her account she claims she went to bed early and wasn't feeling well, though again, we don't know how much of this is true.
Well, it was her 18th birthday and she had many Finnish acquaintances on board, almost all of them in Third Class like her. I think it is safe to assume that Anna Sjoblom and her friends were celebrating a bit that night. Having said that, they might have actually gone to bed by the time of collision, like she claimed because of Lights Out.
Also, everything I've seen puts her lifeboat as #16 on the aft port side; I've yet to come across anything for the starboard side. Although as you've said there is definitely some uncertainty as to which lifeboat she was in.
Looking at it one way Lifeboat #16 makes sense since her cabin (at least the one allocated to her) was at the stern on the port side. But then, that goes against several of her statements eg, being chased out of her room by the flooding water (which could not have happened at the stern), her lifeboat being the last but one on her side and overloaded (neither of which applies to #16). So, we probably will never know unless all the statements by surviving Finnish passengers are collated; even then one cannot be certain.
There is definitely evidence supporting both her cabin being in the stern as well as the bow; although the stern evidence is a little more concrete i.e. the inspection card, while the bow evidence is just based off of her account and doesn't have as much strong evidence other than having to take her at her word.
As mentioned above, I thought about this. Officially at least, White Star are supposed to have berthed single Third Class single men at the bow and single women at the stern cabins with families somewhere in between but mostly stern rooms. But then, there are too many accounts that suggest that these guidelines might have not been strictly followed and survivor accounts do indicate that there might have been some single women occupying bow cabins.

There are several points to be considered.

1. The Third Class as a whole was not full by any means and even after Queenstown, there were several empty bunks and cabins. Many passengers would have found that out one way or another.

2. Like other classes, Third Class passengers also boarded the Titanic in 3 stages, but in their case, sometimes there were large groups. The Finns and other Scandinavians got on board first in Southampton, other Continental Europeans, Lebanese etc boarded in Cherbourg that same evening while the Irish passengers boarded in Queenstown the following morning.

3. Considering their work load, I wonder how strictly the stewards in Third Class were able to check and/or enforce cabin allotments. Considering the numbers, language barrier etc, it would have been a difficult task and one which they might have been inclined to ignore as along as there were no confrontations between passenger groups and class divisions were not breached. Also, families with many children would probably have taken up far more steward time thus allowing single men and women to largely fend for themselves.

4. Adding to the above problem, how did they define a 'family'? Those with a parent couple and children like the Sages, Goodwins etc were easy enough, but there were siblings, cousins, friends etc travelling together. Finns who came together on the SS Polaris; Lebanese in Cherbourg and Irish in Queenstown. I think checking cabin numbers for each and every one of them and then finding out the 'appropriateness' of who could bunk with who would have been very difficult and time consuming. IMO, the Third Class stewards very likely concentrated on families with children and single women without friends or other acquaintances and left the rest mostly to sort out themselves. Given that situation, some groups might have decided to mutually agree to redistribute themselves so that non-English speakers could help each other etc. That might have involved some breaching of the "bow men - stern women" barrier, and as long as each cabin per se maintained the same gender occupancy. That is why Eugene Daly was able to check on Maggie Daly and Bertha Mulvihill so soon after his won cabin started flooding and also how Emily Badman and Anna Sjoblom saw water coming into their rooms.
 

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