Elmer Zebley and Juliet Taylor

T

Taylor

Member
My Great Uncle, Mr. Elmer Zebley Taylor and his wife Juliet were survivors of the Titantic. I have detailed memoires of my Uncle's life which include the events leading up to and including the sinking of the Titanic. I am very interested in pictures and/or additional information / geneology regarding my Uncle and his wife.

Taylor
Maryland
 
M

Michael Findlay

Member
Hi Mike,

Elmer Taylor's memoirs were privately published back in the 1940's.

In 1986, I was in Smyrna, Delaware, researching Elmer and Juliet Taylor. The local town library had a copy of the book. One year later, I bought the book at a garage sale in perfect condition. The account is very detailed, and most interesting. There are even several photographs of Elmer throughout the text.

Please e-mail me privately.

Mike Findlay
 
chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
Hi Mike,

Elmer Taylor's memoirs were privately published back in the 1940's.

In 1986, I was in Smyrna, Delaware, researching Elmer and Juliet Taylor. The local town library had a copy of the book. One year later, I bought the book at a garage sale in perfect condition. The account is very detailed, and most interesting. There are even several photographs of Elmer throughout the text.

Please e-mail me privately.

Mike Findlay
Hi Michael! I am interested in reading Elmer Taylor's account of the sinking. He does provide some interesting information (at least [supposedly] as recorded aboard Carpathia). He is one of the survivors who claimed to have seen the iceberg. Can you provide the title of his memoirs?
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Moderator
Member
Can you provide the title of his memoirs?
Michael hasn't logged onto the forum in just over a year so I don't know if he'll see your post or not, Chris. But from what I can find after doing a Google search, it appears that Elmer Taylor wrote his experience in a journal. However I did find his account that he provided to a newspaper, right here on the site:

E Z Taylor's account

As well, some excerpts from his journal in articles, during the centenary:

Titanic Survivor's journal salvaged in Aberdeen depicts helplessness

Voyage of the century

One from 1998:

How Did the Titanic Sink

And one from late 2020:

The Accident that Would Have Averted the Titanic Disaster

Tim Maltin quotes Taylor in his book:

101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic...But Didn't!

Last but not least, Dan Parkes also quotes Taylor on his site:

Captain EJ Smith - Ice Warnings and a Dinner Party

I hope this helps.
 
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chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
Thanks, Jason! I'm interested in passenger Elmer Taylor's memoirs about the sinking because of something that was written in a book published shortly after the sinking. In Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: The Ocean's Greatest Disaster (published in 1912), there is a mention of Taylor's eyewitness account (purportedly recorded aboard Carpathia). Here's that short account:

JUMPED INTO THE SEA; PICKED UP

E. Z. Taylor of Philadelphia, one of the survivors, jumped into the sea just three minutes before the boat sank, He told a graphic story as he came from the Carpathia.

"I was eating when the boat struck the iceberg," he said. "There was an awful shock that made the boat tremble from stem to stern. I did not realize for some time what had happened, No one seemed to know the extent of the accident. We were told an Iceberg had been struck by the ship.

"I felt the boat rise and it seemed to me that it was riding over the ice. I ran out on the deck and then I could see ice. It was a veritable sea of ice and the boat was rocking over it. I should say that parts of the iceberg were eighty feet high, but it had been broken into sections, probably by our ship.

"I jumped into the ocean and was picked up by, one of the boats. I never expected to see land again. I remained on board the boat until the lights went out. It seemed to me that the discipline on board was wonderful."

Link to cited reference @ Google Books:

Although not cited by the book, this account apparently was gathered from a Toronto Daily Star article published on April 18th (the day Carpathia arrived to New York City.

I'd like to know if this particular account (published by the Toronto Daily Star and subsequently in the book) is consistent with his later published memoirs. I find it fascinating because of his claim of seeing the iceberg ("parts of the iceberg were eighty feet high, but....broken into sections") and a surrounding "sea of ice."

Taylor was a first-class passenger and an chemical engineer with a remarkable career. His account would have been very helpful if it was consistent. However, there is another newspaper article that claims that Mr. Taylor was allowed into a lifeboat because there was still room and no other women or children were around.

Another article mentions that he was asleep with his wife when the ship struck the iceberg.

It begs the question whether or not the reporter for the Toronto Daily Star confused Taylor's account with that of another survivor. This is why I'd like to see his memoirs. If the inconsistencies are present when reading through all of the accounts, then I suppose that it calls into question the validity of some (or most) of his claims.
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Moderator
Member
You're welcome, Chris.

From what I can find, Taylor's memoirs were only privately published. It would be interesting to read fully but unless his family decides to publish them into a book, we may not get a definite answer.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I confess that I found some of the statements rather, well, unbelievable. Could the Toronto Daily Star have embellished Elmer Taylor's account to that extent?

I was eating when the boat struck the iceberg
Of course, Taylor might have been eating something in his cabin but he makes it sound like it was mealtime- which it could not have been at 11:40 pm.

There was an awful shock that made the boat tremble from stem to stern.
That really sounds like exaggeration by a newspaper reporter. I cannot believe that a survivor would have said so, especially as the Taylors' friend Lambert-Williams did not think that the impact was worth getting up for.

It was a veritable sea of ice and the boat was rocking over it. I should say that parts of the Iceberg were eighty feet high, but it had been broken into sections, probably by our ship.
Well.............I don't know what to make of that.

I remained on board the boat until the lights went out. I jumped into the ocean and was picked up by, one of the boats
Although there is some uncertainty about the actual lifeboat on which Elmer and Juliet Taylor were rescued in, it is thought to be one of the earlier ones, probably #7 or #5. Therefore, the story about him jumping into the sea after the lights went out is therefore very hard to even consider; anyone doing that, if he was very very fortunate, would have been picked up by Lifeboat #4 or Collapsible B. I have not seen any statement that Taylor was on either of those two boats.
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

Staff member
Moderator
Member
I confess that I found some of the statements rather, well, unbelievable. Could the Toronto Daily Star have embellished Elmer Taylor's account to that extent?
I agree, some of them just don't fit. If it is yellow journalism which it more than likely is, then it wouldn't be the first time. Sensationalism rears it's ugly head, yet again.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
If it is yellow journalism which it more than likely is, then it wouldn't be the first time. Sensationalism rears it's ugly head
Steward Thomas Whiteley claimed that he jumped overboard and swam in his life vest for several hours before reaching a lifeboat but instead of pulling him on board, the occupants beat him with their oars. But Whiteley hung on and hoped one of the occupants would die so that he could take the dead person's place. Eventually someone did die and the body was promptly pushed overboard and Whitetley was hauled up.

Unbelievable as that sounds, it probably came from Whiteley himself. But I doubt that even he would have claimed that he had swallowed so much water during those several hours of icy swimming that doctors had to remove his stomach and replace it (not sure with what) as an unspecified newspaper claimed.
 
M

Michael Findlay

Member
Hi Chris,

I just so happened to visit ET tonight and saw your message about the Taylors.

The name of Elmer's memoirs was titled "Jigsaw Puzzle of People Whom I Met or Associated" or something to that effect. Elmer penned his life's journey in a privately printed memoir written in the early 1940s. The Titanic episode was but just a small chapter in the book but Elmer devoted much detail to his experiences.

I am currently searching for Elmer's memoirs for another member of the ET message board but unfortunately they are located in a storage facility a distance from my home. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about Elmer, his wife or the memoirs in general, I'll be glad to try and answer. Many of Elmer's tales remain engraved in my memory so I can try to help until I can get my hands on the book.

Mike Findlay
 
chrismireya

chrismireya

Member
The name of Elmer's memoirs was titled "Jigsaw Puzzle of People Whom I Met or Associated" or something to that effect. Elmer penned his life's journey in a privately printed memoir written in the early 1940s. The Titanic episode was but just a small chapter in the book but Elmer devoted much detail to his experiences.

I am currently searching for Elmer's memoirs for another member of the ET message board but unfortunately they are located in a storage facility a distance from my home. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about Elmer, his wife or the memoirs in general, I'll be glad to try and answer. Many of Elmer's tales remain engraved in my memory so I can try to help until I can get my hands on the book.

Mike Findlay

Thanks, Mike! I looked up the book through the World Catalog and found only one library where it is listed (in Delaware). Unfortunately, I am in Palo Alto, California.


I had hoped that I could find it in one of the local Palo Alto libraries (including one of the Stanford University libraries). I checked on Hoopla for a E-book; however, it's not available there either.

My interest is due to the fact that so many articles, books and other sources (shortly after the disaster) attributed claims to Mr. Elmer Z. Taylor that obviously contradicted one another. This probably wasn't even realized at the time. However, in the age of the internet, such glaring contradictions are problematic when trying to piece together a cohesive and indisputable (as indisputable as possible) eyewitness narrative.

Personally, I'd like to know what he says about Titanic in his own words. It could be that one or more of the published accounts are accurate. It could be that none of them are. However, there was one source that attributes testimony to Mr. Taylor that offers one of the best accounts of the ship breaking apart that I've read. Since he was an engineer, I suspect that his thoughts of the sinking (from the perspective aboard a lifeboat) may have been a bit more analytical than most others.
 
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