Clothing Divorce and Jewellery


Edmund Turner

Hello everyone I've had a few questions bothering
me recently , so I thought and ask on here and see If anyone can help me .
1)After reading "Women and Children First " I noticed that the coat Marion Wright wore on the Titanic is now in a Museum and I wondered what happened to the Fur coat that Mrs Straus gave to Ellen Bird ? Is that in a museum somewere?? or still in the Bird family ??

2)Did William and Lucile Carter divorce shortly after the Titanic disaster ?? Are they the couple that Walter Lord wrote about in "A Night to Remember" and I quote " A prominant survivor divorced her husband merely because , according to gossip he happened to be saved " If Walter Lord
was not writing about them then who was he writing about ??? the Dickinson Bishops maybe ?

3) And finally I was reading some old 1912 newspapers and in one the newspsper had written that " A prominent first class lady managed to save $750'000 worth of jewellery by wearing it all the time " any ideas who this could be ???
Best Wishes Ed
May 12, 2005

1)Good question re: Mrs. Straus' coat. I would imagine the Straus Historical Society would know. They're in NY.

2) I always thought the couple Lord was referring to were the Carters. But others here might know better. The Bishops did separate too so that could be a possibility. But my bet is on the Carters as they were much better known.

3) This story sounds apocryphal - like a good tabloid special. But it could be true. We know Mrs. Widener had pearls worth a fortune.


Phillip Gowan

Apr 10, 2001
Hi Ed,
The Straus family had minimal or no contact with Ellen Bird in later years and if her coat survived Ellen, it probably went to her brother who lived in Acushnet, Massachusetts. I'm in touch with the brother's son and will ask him if he knows what became of the coat--am embarrassed I haven't thought to do so before now. But--Ellen's husband outlived her by 14 years, dying on September 21, 1963 and he may have retained possession and passed it on to his relatives. Or, of course, it may have just been discarded on the trash-heap during the years.

The Carter divorce was finalized in 1913. I have a copy of the record and the final decree which alleged cruel treatment and does mention the Titanic escapade.

As for the jewelry, I'd venture that Mrs. Widener is the best candidate though Marian Thayer and Martha Stone were known to have significant jewelry caches.

I hope this helps a little.


Edmund Turner

Hi Phillip I was thinking that Ellen Bird could just as well of thrown the coat out years later , or she might of been a nostalgic person and kept it I'm sure it would of been a good quality fur coat and would of lasted well as Mrs Straus would of had only the best quality clothes
Jun 4, 2003
where did these women had their jewelry at the time of the sinking? if not at the pursher's office, then where? and how would one take the jewelry with her at a time of confusion and panic?
George ...
Jun 4, 2003
Once again: Where did the first class women had their jewelry at the time of the sinking? If not at the pursher' s office, then where? and who would one take the jewelry with her at a time of confusion & panic? Thank you ...
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
They probably had some if not all of it in their cabins. Keep in mind that I'm speculating but there aren't a lot of options here. If they don't have it in the Purser's safe or in their cabins, that leaves the baggage stowed sown below as "Not Wanted."

>>and who would one take the jewelry with her at a time of confusion & panic? <<

Why do people do any of the seemingly irrational things that they do in a crisis situation? I don't think you'll ever find a logical answer to that one.
May 27, 2007
I think that maybe the ladies in question might have had a few pieces with them unless they had returned them to the Ship's Purser. They might of gone to the Purser in the early hours of the sinking but maybe not especially if they had other concerns like children to get ready. I think it depended on what they knew about how bad the situation they were in. I mean at first a lot of First Class Women thought they would be getting right back on the ship and that it was only a matter of form for them to go in the boats. I feel sorry for the Stewards and Stewardesses having to round them all up and keep them moving with out causing a panic.

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