George and Eleanor Widener


Edmund Turner

I recently brought a copy of the book "The Titanic, the extraordinary story of the unsinkable ship" by Geoff Tibballs.I was delighted to see several different photos of passengers that I've never seen before like Molly Brown,Lady Duff Gordon,and several others including one of "the Wideners,George and Eleanor" it's a nice photo of them standing infront of a car. But it got me thinking that it does not look particularly Edwardian, Eleanors short dress and bare arms certainly does not reflect pre 1912 fashion it looks more 1920s, is it an authors error???

You are quite right. The photo you speak of is a photo taken of Mr. & Mrs. Josph P. Widener at Palm Beach in the 20s. It is NOT of the George Wideners. The picture is in the collection of Corbis-Bettmann. I've seen it several times on my research forays. They do have a group photo of Mrs. George Widener but she's not indexed under her own name but the name of her companion in the picture and so I just happened on it.

The Lady Duff Gordon picture by the way is also from Corbis and is of her on board the Campania in 1914. The Madeleine Astor and Ben Guggenheim and Molly Brown pics are also from Corbis. They have a nice selection of others, some never before published.

I tell you the picture research I'm doing now on my project is a real adventure. In looking through images of Lucile and her fashions I come across so many incredible images of other famous folks from Titanic - Corbis for instance has a trove of photos of tennis star R. Norris Williams, Jr., including a group shot of him w/ fellow champion and survivor Karl Behr.

I have to say writing is hard. But looking through old pictures? - well, I could do this all day long(and sometimes do!!).

All my best,


PS) Still looking for photos of the elusive Mme. Aubart.
Thanks very much for clarifying that for me Randy, I thought the picture looked a lot later and it certainly didn't look like Eleanor in the picture(fancy having a string of pearls valued at £150,000!!!how much is that in todays money ???) ,I thought the one of Lucile was taken on a ship somewere as she looks like she is standing on a ships deck, as usual she looks very smart, I now what you mean about looking through old photos I think its fascinating,I'm eagerely waiting for your book I've become very intrested in Lucile recently having heard so much about her.
Best Wishes
Eleanor Widener had three children George jnr,Harry and Eleanor. Harry of course died on the Titanic, when did George jnr and Eleanor jnr die ?? also are Eleanors famous pearls still in the family ?? could they be the pearls that she is wearing in the two photographs of her in "Women and Children first ?? also when did Eleanors second husband Dr Alexander Hamilton Rice die ?? I read somewere that he lived of charity from Eleanors eldest son George
Hi Edmund,
George Dunton Widener died December 8, 1971, a widower with no children of his own.

Eleanore Widener Dixon married and had at least two sons--can't put my hand on her dates but they're here somewhere-will hunt them up when I get home from work tonight.

Dr. Alexander Hamilton Rice died July 23, 1956.
Does anyone know the marriage date and place of the Wideners or the Ryersons? Thanks David Huffaker
Dear David,
George and Eleanor Widener were married on November 1st 1883. Arthur and Emily Ryerson married on January 31st 1889.
Eleanor Widener Dixon died January 12, 1966.

You didn't ask, but in case you're interested Eleanor Elkins Widener married Alexander Hamilton Rice on October 6, 1915.
Thank you very much for that very helpful information Phillip I must say I'm suprised at how long Dr Rice outlived Eleanor by ,nearly 20 years.
Are there still Wideners around today, and if so are they in Philadelphia still?

It sounds like there was no Widener issue from George and Eleanor, but did George have brothers?

Are they still prominent?


Dear Nathan,

The only relatives of George and Eleanor Widener are descended from their daughter, Eleanor, who later married Fitz Eugene Dixon. Their son, F. Eugene Dixon, Jr. still resides near Philadelphia and has mild interest in the Titanic. For years, the subject held no interest for him owing to the sadness it brought to his family. I met him several years ago at a Titanic International Society convention in Philadelphia.

George D. Widener Jr. never had any children, and Harry Elkins Widener went down with the Titanic. George Widener Jr. absolutely refused to allow the subject of the Titanic to be mentioned in his presence.

On the subject of Dr. Rice, Eleanor's second husband outlived her by almost twenty years. Dr. Rice lived in New York and Newport, Rhode Island, during his last years. George Widener Jr. pretty much handled Dr. Rice's finances. Dr. Rice continued to live in the Widener mansion in Newport - much to the dismay of George D. Widener Jr.

The Wideners are still held in high regard in Newport where local residents remember the sizeable and charitable gifts Eleanor Widener made to those less fortunate. Unlike the Astors, the Wideners were a close family whose many kindnesses to others won them a host of friends. When Eleanor died in 1937, Newport was dressed in black mourning during the Summer season.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Michael Findlay
Edmund--here's a little extra on the guy. This is taken from the New York Times, July 24, 1956, page25, column 5.


Physician and Author Dies--Made Trips on the
Amazon and Taught Navigation

NEWPORT, R.I., July 23--
Dr. Alexander Hamilton Rice, explorer of the Amazon, author and member of the summer colony here for forty years, died here today at his estate, Miramar. He was 80 years old. He had been ill for the last month.

Born in Boston, he was the son of John Hamilton and Cora Clark Rice. He graduated from Harvard College in 1898 and the Harvard Medical School in 1902. He also studied at the Royal Geographic Society in London for three years and between then and 1928 made a number of trips on the Amazon.

During World War I, as a member of the American Ambulance Service, he directed a base hospital in France. Upon the entry of the United States into the war, he was commissioned in the United States Navy and taught navigation at Harvard, where he later became Professor Emeritus of Geographic Exploration. Again, during World War II he taught navigation at Harvard.

In 1915 he married Mrs. Eleanor Elkins Widener, widow of George D. Widener. Upon her death, Mr. Rice inherited a life interest in Miramar, which now reverts to the children of the first Mrs. Rice by her first marriage.

In 1949, Mr. Rice married Mrs. Dorothy Farrington Upham, widow of John P. Upham of New York, in Paris. She is his only survivor.


Dr. Rice was as much at home in the elegant swirl of Newport society as in the steaming jungles of Brazil. He was often in the company of such titled notables as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, but he repeatedly gave up the life for rugged explorations, in one of which he fought a running four-day battle against cannibals.

Between the two World Wars he organized and led seven expeditions into the jungles of South America. He surveyed and mapped half a million square miles of unexplored territory, established hospitals for Indians of Brazil and conducted research in tropical diseases. His scientific work won him honors from Italy, England, France and Spain.

Dr. Rice also conducted expeditions in Alaska and Hudson Bay.
Thanks Michael,

That was very helpful, but I was wondering who were the Joseph P. Wideners. They are mentioned above and obviously they are some relations.

Wonder if you can help with this?

Thanks again

Dr. Rice sounds like a remarkable person -- well worth a biography in his own right. At the risk of being completely off topic, does anyone know whether one has been done?

Thank you again Phillip for typing up that very intresting article on Dr Rice, for any one that dosen't now there is a good photograph of him with Eleanor in the book "Women and Children First" by the way just out of intrest is it known what happened to Eleanors famous pearls , are they still in the family ????
best Wishes Edmund