Henry Blank

Feb 14, 2011
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There was a very good article some years ago in TI's journal "Voyage" about 1st class survivor Mr Henry Blank.
Seems Mr Blank saw the squash court filling with water at one point..He strikes me as a 'forgotten' survivor, as his name is seldom if ever mentioned in Titanic circles.
I wonder why...


regards


Tarn Stephanos
 
Apr 16, 2001
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Hi Tarn,

Thank you for the kind words about the article in Voyage.

As to "forgotten survivor", I don't know. I believe there are other survivors who would better fit the title more so than Blank - in Titanic circles that is. His biography here on the ET is one of the most comprehensive of all.

Henry Blank was never featured in many of the books because he seldom spoke about his experience. He suffered the stigma of having survived the disaster, and some locals still believe he dressed in women's clothing to escape. He preferred to keep a low profile, and was actually one of the very few survivors who DIDN'T file a claim against the White Star Line. He traveled on the Olympic after his experience a number of times.

Blank wasn't as mysterious as some of the others. Thanks to his children and grandchildren, I hope I was able to shed more light on him as a person. Born into a poor family, he went on to achieve much success and attained a position that even Horatio Alger would have envied. A true rags-to-riches story.

His elegant home is still standing, and the current owners are very kind to those who inquire about the "Titanic man" who once lived there.

Best,

Mike
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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A 19 April 1912 article from the Newark Evening News in which Mr. Blank recounts his experiences on the night of the sinking.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
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Dec 29, 2000
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Newark Evening News, 19 April 1912

HENRY BLANK DECLARES CURIOSITY SAVED HIM
----------

It was the desire of Henry Blank, a jeweler of this city, who lives in Glen
Ridge, to find out what caused the shock to the Titanic when she struck the
iceberg Sunday night that gave him a chance in one of the boats that saved his
life.

Mr. Blank was enjoying a cigar in the smoking-room in the stern on the main
deck when there came a jar. The shock was very slight so far aft and no one
paid much attention to the incident. He said he had felt worse jars to the
ship when her propeller had jumped out of the water.

“I stepped out of the smoking-room to the main deck, a distance of but a few
feet,” said Mr. Blank. “Only a few people were there, but a few others came up
later. I started down to see what had happened and when I got to the third
deck, two decks below, I discovered that water was rushing in. It was then up
to my ankles on the third deck.

“I hurried to my stateroom on the deck above, and got a few of my valuables,
but not much. When I got to the main deck again they were beginning to lower
the boats. Every woman and child in sight was ordered into the boats. But
there were not enough there to fill the boats and in that way some of the men
got a chance for their lives.

“Two sailors were placed in charge of each boat and then eight oarsmen were
picked out from the passengers. I was given a place in one of the boats. Ours
must have been one of the first boats over. But the water was inky black as we
went over the side in the night and we could not tell whether other boats had
preceded us or not.”

“Did you pull an oar?” was a question put to Mr. Blank.

“Now don’t make me a hero,” he said.

“The minute the boat struck the water we began to pull away,” continued Mr.
Blank. “We were afraid that it the ship went down she might draw us under with
her. We had gone about a mile and a half when we saw her plunge forward and
then down out of sight. Before she sank we heard the explosion of her boilers.

“There was no confusion whatever on the Titanic up to the time our boat was
lowered. Everything was quiet and orderly. Many of the passengers had not yet
left their rooms.

"I saw Colonel John Jacob Astor on the deck, but I did not notice Mrs. Astor.
It is my belief that she had not left her room up to that point. I did not see
Major Butt.

“The boats were filled to their capacity. After leaving the ship we
scattered. No one had jumped overboard up to the time I left the Titanic, so
far as I know. After we were some distance from the ship I heard revolver
shots on board, but I don’t know what part of the ship they came from.

“I am not much of a sailor and don’t know much about the water, but the sea
seemed comparatively calm to us in the boats. There was floating ice
everywhere and the water was very cold. The women in our boat began to get
chilled and the men took off their coats and wrapped them about them. Even the
men began to suffer from exposure, except those who were at the oars.

“For five or six hours we were in suspense, and then we saw the Carpathia. It
was an hour after we sighted her before we were taken on board. As we
approached she threw open her ports and lowered rope ladders. In this way she
took in the occupants of two or three boats at a time.

“On the Carpathia we were treated with the utmost kindness. The women got
places in the staterooms, but we men bunked in the smoking-room and on the
decks. I didn’t have my clothes off from Sunday night until I got home last
night.

“It was the general belief on the Carpathia that we were the only survivors.
We knew that other boats were in the vicinity, but we were pretty well
convinced that they could have made no rescues.”

Mr. Blank was met at the pier last night by Mr. Davidson, a Glen Ridge
neighbor, who conducted him to the Hotel Seville, where Mrs. Blank was
waiting. Although fatigued, Mr. Blank was at his business today.

-30-
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Thanks for the article! Mr Blank was an interesting fellow....I wish more Titanic books would make mention of his story...

Tarn Stephanos
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Mike, I hope someday you would concider writing a book about Mr Blank..After reading your article about him in Voyage, I was left wanting more...

A pity Walter Lord did not speak with him...As Blank was one of the men in the Smoking room playing cards, who later went below decks to see water in the Squash court, he had an interesting story.
Mr Blank gets my vote for 'the most overlooked' survivor...


Tarn Stephanos
 

Alan Bird

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May 14, 2008
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Visiting a Titanic exhibition in orlando in 2001, each visitor is presented with a ticket on which a passenger name is printed, with the intention that you find out what happened 'your' passenger at the end.
Mine was none other than......Henry Blank.

Thanks for the article, it really sheds some light on the name which has intriqued me for those three years!!
 

liz

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Jan 2, 2011
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Re: Henry Blank
I have had locket for the past 15 years ...I have found out that it was made by Mr. Blank...it is stunning and a little lady I used to take care of gave it to me....her husband bought it in Newport Bch Califorina back in the 20s. I have always wondered about the piece and would like to find the value on it and if I should have it insured. I also would like to find a little bit more history on it...such as ..Was it on the Titanic? My name is Liz and if someone would like to entertain my questions I would appreciate it.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hello Liz
You may want to contact the Titanic International Society for a copy of the lengthy bio about Blank.
Mike