Eleanor Ilean Johnson

Jul 1, 2002
i am a personal friend of earl shuman,son to eleanor shuman. we have researched his mothers accounts in many papers and personal accounts. there seems to be a lot of controversy about which boat she and brother and mother were on. if history is correct,she left on the very last boat to leave titanic and that would have been collapsible D. i also think that i have found photographic evidence that alice,eleanor and theodore were on collapsible D,rather than any other lifeboat.

Caroline Chavez

Hi Everyone,

I read on webcenter netscape factmonster com/spot/titanic.html, that a lady named Eleanor Shuman, that was on the actual titanic had to do with something from the acting of Kate Winslet. Was there someone like (Kate Winslet) on the real titanic? I know this might not make sence cause it's hard for me to explain. But try to make it out the best that you can! (lol) THANKS


Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
The statement on the site is unsupported by any documentation. Always mistrust such assertions. Eleanor Shuman was 18 months old at the time of the disaster, so she bore no resemblance to Rose. Eleanor's name at the time was Johnson and her biography is on this site under that name, among the third class passengers.

If there was a rebellious first class girl like Rose on board, which I doubt, she would have had to engage in dalliance within her own class. Any hunks in third class were out of reach. The nearest approach might be Miss Phillips, who was having an affair with her boss, Mr Morley. Their tale is also here on ET. They were in second class.
Jun 4, 2000
Apart from what Dave posted above, Eleanor Shuman (nee Johnson) was travelling in third class.

Maybe it's a misunderstanding of the statement that Eleanor Shuman was the only Titanic survivor that James Cameron met? From the San Diego Union Tribune obituary on this site:

...More recently, Mrs. Shuman had acquired photographs showing
her and James Cameron, director of the current hit movie, Titanic,
at its Chicago premiere in December. As the only Titanic survivor
Cameron met, Mrs. Shuman got royal treatment.
She saw the movie three times, first at a screening with critics
Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, then at the premiere and later at a
theatre in Elgin. She said she cried each time...
(See www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/documents/johnson_ei_sdut.shtml)

Note that Mrs Shuman met Cameron after he'd made the film, not before.

Given her age at the time, that her family were travelling third class it's hard to see any connection between toddler Eleanor Johnson and 17 year old first class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater. Mrs Schuman also acknowledged her Titanic connection throughout her life - unlike 'Rose'.

Eleanor Shuman the inspiration for the character 'Rose'? Whacky stuff indeed...​
Sep 26, 1999
Eleanor Shuman saw the world premier of the Titanic movie in Chicago and met director James Cameron there. She is quoted as saying, "He said I reminded him of Rose, the girl in the movie". Maybe this is where that story came from.

Aron Paxton

Jul 22, 1998
After spotting a thread about Mrs. Shuman, I couldn't keep myself from sharing the following tidbit.

First, I absolutely agree with Darren's explanation of how Eleanor "inspired" Rose.

A while back, I came across a letter that was written by Eleanor Johnson Shuman long after the disaster (the contents are based on what Eleanor's mother told Eleanor when she was growing up). I re-typed the letter and saved it to my computer. What follows is what I typed (copied from a Word document).

Mrs. Shuman's original letter (which I have a crude photocopy of) contained some small, superficial errors that I left when I re-typed the thing. If anyone wants to know if an error in the following is due to a mistake I made or one Mrs. Shuman made, e-mail me and I'll check.

I hope some of you guys will find this interesting:

“I was born in Saint Charles, Illinois on September 23, 1910. My parents were Oscar and Alice Johnson. My father was born in Sweden and my mother in Finland. I have one older brother Harold. One day my mother received a letter from Finland. Her father was very ill and he wanted to see her before he died. Mom packed up Harold and me and went to Finland. In 1911 it was not that easy to travel. She had to take a train to New York and a ship to Europe. Just imagine how difficult it would be for a 25 year old woman, who could barely speak any English, and two small children (Harold was 3 and I was only 9 months old).

“By the time we reached Finland my grandfather had died. We spent the next nine months visiting relatives in Finland and Sweden. I had my first birthday in Finland. While we were in Sweden we met two young women who wanted to come to America. When we arrived in Southampton, England, we found out that there was coal strike and our ship was not going to sail. We were told that we could book passage on the Titanic.

“On the night of April 14 we were in our cabin. Harold was asleep in his bunk. When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harold was thrown to the floor. We did not know what was happening until a dining room steward came to our cabin and told us to put on our life jackets, the ship was sinking. We did not have time to take any of our belongings, mom didn’t even have time to put shoes on me. He lead us up to the boat deck. Mom got into the life boat first, then somebody handed me to my mother. I was crying. Harold was still on deck with Elin Braf, one of the two Swedish girls traveling with us, who was afraid to get into the life boat. They started lowering the life boat, then mom started screaming. A man grabbed Harold from Elin and dropped him into the lifeboat. That was the last time we saw Elin. In the short time that mom had known Elin they had become very good friends. Mom was very upset by Elin’s loss and she never forgot her.

“In the lifeboat it was very cold. There was water in the bottom of the boat and mom’s feet were wet. Somebody gave us a blanket to wrap around us. We were in lifeboat collapsible ‘D’ which was the last lifeboat launched at 2:05 am just before the Titanic sank at 2:20 am.

“We spent five hours in the life boat before we were rescued by the Carpathia. I was hoisted onto the ship in a mail sack. On the Carpathia somebody made me some booties out of a blanket.

“When we reached New York they thought we were immigrants and did not want to let us in. Mother, with her broken English, had a hard time convincing the immigration officials that we were United States citizens. After they finally let us in they took us to a hospital. Mother was suffering from pneumonia.

“While all this was happening, my father was at home in Saint Charles, and he did not know that we were on the Titanic. We were scheduled to sail on another ship. He found out that we were on the Titanic when he received a telegram saying that we were all safe. He rushed to New York to get us and bring us home.

“I have been asked many times if I got anything off the Titanic but the only thing that I got off with was a dirty diaper.”

Kyrila Scully

Apr 15, 2001
South Florida
I had the opportunity to see Douglas Kirkland at a local photography festival in downtown Delray Beach just after the movie's release in '97. He explained that Mrs. Shuman reminded Cameron of the character portrayed by Gloria Stuart, not Kate Winslet. Does that make better sense?

All the best,
Nov 23, 1996
I won't comment about "Rose" and the Cameron Titanic Movie. As for if Cameron thought Eleanor J. Shuman was like the Gloria Stuart (Old Rose) character it would seem more likely.

At the time of the movie if I remember correctly there were only about three survivors still alive living in the United States.

And Eleanor Shuman was the only one from the United States speaking with the press at the time.

However, Eleanor Shuman did return to the "Titanic" like the Gloria Stuart (Old Rose) character on a Titanic Salvage Expedition.

In 1996 Eleanor J. Shuman, Millvina Dean, Edith Haisman and Micheal Nevretil all returned to the Titanic wreck sight durning RMS Titanic Inc's "Titanic Expedition 1996" for the ill-fated raising of the big piece.

Attached is one of a series of photographic images of Eleanor Shuman boarding the 'Royal Majesty" for the "Titanic Expedition Cruise" on August 25, 1996.

I know this is the only photo because myself, Dave Wong and Joseph Carvalho, and a few RMS Titanic, Inc. marketing people were the only people onboard the ship at this time. And I was the only one with a camera. The other passengers and the general public hadn't boarded as of yet.

The White Star Burgee on Eleanor's lap was then raised from the mainmast by the crew of the "Royal Majesty" and flew there during this voyage.

Sep 26, 1999
Melinda Ratchford of North Carolina also took an excellent photograph of Eleanor Shuman on board the ship with the White Star Line flag in the background. It was published in the Charlotte Observer. I will try to get it scanned and posted here. Millvina Dean did not take the cruise to the disaster site. The only survivors that did were Michel Navratil, Eleanor Shuman and Edith Haisley.
Nov 23, 1996
Here is the second image of Eleanor Boarding the 'Royal Majesty' on August 25, 1996.

Darren, you are correct that Mellvina Dean didn't take the cruise to the disaster site. However, she was onboard the 'Royal Majesty' after its return to Boston, MA for the large gathering that originally was to be a celebration for the recovery of the "Big Piece".

We all know the story.


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