Harry Widener


leon clemmer

The Harry Widener story is a little bit different from the one I just heard. "Harry went back to his cabin to get the book and then it was too late his mother had left in his lifeboat". The scene of father and son saying good by to mother as the life boat is lowered is according to this story is wrong.

Wich is correct
Hello Leon,

Harry Widener has interested me for awhile now, as I too am a devoted book collector, amongst other hobbies.

The book you refer to in that message was supposedly the newest addition for his collection. I can't remember any details about the literary work, but I do know that it was supposed to be VERY expensive and VERY rare.

However, I have heard that the book story is only a rumor. I have also heard that Harry never intended to get into a lifeboat. The account of a first class gentleman (will have to get back to you on the name) who saw Harry very late in the sinking stated that the young man thought it safer to stick with the ship than one of those tiny boats, although the situation must've looked precarious at that point.

Which is correct? I could not say, and we will likely never know.



leon clemmer

Harry ELKINS Widener was my mother's next door neighbor in 1912. His grandfather was PAB Widener, part owner of the Titanic, and he was the son of George and Eleanor Elkins Widener. George perished Eleanor survived with her maid. The Widener Library at Harvard is his donation to Harvard. The Library houses his book collection and its construction was supervised by his mother Eleanor.
What are you going to tell me of Harry/
Brandon and all,

The book he was carrying was by someone named Bacon, and I believe it was called "Essays." It was written either in 1499 or 1599, but I don't have my sources with me so realize that that info is from memory (very scary).

"For Harry Widener...the trip to Europe had been a success. In March, he had spent a good many hours with his friend and counsellor, Bernard Quaritch, at Sotheby's. He had been fortunate enough to obtain a number of pamphlets containing caricatures by George Cruikshanks...and in addition, at the Huth sale, the very rare second edition of Bacon's Essaies (1598), which he had thereupon slipped into his pocket, observing to Quaritch, who stood by, 'I think I'll take that little Bacon with me in my pocket, and if I am shipwrecked it will go down with me.'"


"Some time earlier Widener's son Harry had taken leave of his mother with the words: 'Mother,I have placed the volume in my pocket-the little "Bacon" goes with me!'"

Both of these come from Geoffrey Marcus's "The Maiden Voyage".

And "Bacon" is Sir Francis Bacon, the English essayist, philosopher, and statesman, and a darkhorse candidate in the "Who Really Wrote Shakespeare's Works?" debate.

I hope this is of some help.

Kritina: I'm a little confused (as usual!
). In that first paragraph you quoted, where it talks about him "slipping it into his pocket" at the Hath sale, does this mean he stole the volume? I'm probably lost on this one! LOL



I'm 100% certain that it meant Harry put the book in his pocket AFTER he bought it at the Huth sale!There's no evidence to state that Harry Widener was a kleptomaniac!!!


Arun Vajpey

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but has there been any new information about how Harry Widener met his end? The most common story is that he saw his mother Eleanor into Lifeboat #4 and then declined Bill Carter's advice to find another lifeboat place for himself, preferring to remain on the 'big ship'. But Eleanor apparently claimed that her son had almost got into a lifeboat (of so, which one? Could not have been Lightoller's Lifeboat #4) but then went back to his cabin to pick-up his $260 worth Francis Bacon's essays and as a result, missed being rescued.
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