Elizabeth Dowdell


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Cornelius Thiessen

Guest
Hello folks, I just discovered this site a week ago and a enjoying it immmensely.I came across a copy of a newspaper article here pertaining to an Elizabeth Dowdell that I believe was a second class passenger on the Titanic.I am having trouble believing what she states in the article and was wondering if anyone can tell me I am wrong or Miss Dowdell was right.
Miss Dowdell states that after the Carpathia rescue she was directed into steerage and fed nothing but hardtack for the first few days.According to other books I've read they make no mention of any passengers being put in steerage nor any mention of being fed hardtack.I always thought the survivors had been treated well,and from what I knew several Carpathia passengers offered to share staterooms with the survivors, while others slept in the dining room or out on the open deck with blankets and pillows that Capt Rostron scrounged up.
She also goes on to state that Capt Rostron was charging the survivors a dollar a word to use the telegraph, something I never heard before either and which I really doubt happened.Had Capt Rostron done this one would think he would be almost as villified as Ismay.Does anyone have any further info on this Elizabeth Dowdell?
Thanks for your time.......
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Hallo, Cornelius. Elizabeth Dowdell was a 3rd Class passenger on the Titanic, and as such she might well have been surprised by the quality of 3rd Class accommodation on the Carpathia. Bear in mind that '3rd Class' on Titanic was relatively luxurious compared to traditional steerage, roughly equivalent to 2nd Class on most other vessels like the Carpathia, and her reaction should be considered in that light. The reference to 'hard tack' is I suspect a bit of embellishment on her part or that of a journalist. In other accounts she mentions good treatment. Her story of paying for telegraph messages has nothing to do with Captain Rostron or his ship, but rather to the situation in New York ("when the tug came alongside to take off any messages, I was charged a dollar a word").

Keep in mind also that newspaper accounts of the time are far from reliable. Miss Dowdell said (or was reported to have said) for instance that three men were shot in the vicinity of lifeboat 13, and that several people were pulled into the boat from the water. There is no evidence from any other source that either of these events occurred, though it's possible that shootings took place elsewhere and certainly people were pulled into other boats. Miss Dowdell's interviews also contain statements of fact that could only be hearsay - eg the popularity of gambling in the 1st and 2nd Class areas of the Titanic, of which she could have had no direct knowledge. The newspaper account in question is most likely, like many others that have appeared in print over the years, a mix of what Miss Dowdell experienced, what she assumed, what she heard about, and a certain amount of the creative interpretation which journalists are prone to apply. Hope that helps to make sense of it.
 
Jul 20, 2000
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Hi Cornelius,

Elizabeth Dowdell was a 3rd Class passenger. If you go to the opening page of this web-site and type her surname in the Find Box you will find lots of informations about her. There is both a Summary and a Biography.

Looking at Chapter 9 of A Night to Remember it is clear that Titanic's 3rd Class passengers were put into 3rd Class on the Carpathia: ".. first aid stations in each dining-saloon ... put the Hungarian doctor in charge of third class ..." and ".. group all the Carpathia's steerage passengers together, use the space saved for the Titanic's steerage".

I understand that survivors were charged for their marconigrams.

I hope that helps.
 

Delia Mahoney

Member
Oct 10, 2003
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Cornelius, if you are interested in Miss Dowdell, click here: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/5047/dowdell.html

All the best,

Delia
happy.gif
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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This is what Lawrence Beesley had to say about sending cables on the Carpathia and in New York:

"One of the first things we did was to crowd round a steward with a bundle of telegraph forms. He was the bearer of the welcome news that passengers might send Marconigrams to their relatives free of charge, and soon he bore away the first sheaf of hastily scribbled messages to the operator; by the time the last boatload was aboard, the pile must have risen high in the Marconi cabin. We learned afterwards that many of these never reached their destination" [Beesley found that quite understandable in view of the heavy demand.]

"After landing in New York and realizing from the lists of the saved which a reporter showed me that my friends had no news since the Titanic sank on Monday morning until that night (Thursday 9pm), I cabled to England at once (as I had but two shillings rescued from the Titanic, the White Star Line paid for the cables), but the messages were not delivered until 8.20am next morning."

Delia: Thanks for the link - interesting details.
 
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Cornelius Thiessen

Guest
Thanks folks for all the info on Miss Dowdell.I learned quite a bit indeed.I am not as well versed in Titanic lore as you others are and I'm sure I'll have more questions down the road.Like my father always told me,"the only dumb question is the one you did'nt ask"........thanks again
 

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