Madeliene AstorMrs Ryerson

Sally Sorour

Oct 13, 2001
What were the activites, hobbies, and interests of Madeleine Astor and Mrs. Ryerson before sailing the titanic? I am interested in their lives before titanic. The ET bios don't provide enough information

Inger Sheil

Feb 9, 1999
As your two posts deal with similar subject matter, Sally, I've amalgamated them into the one thread.

I imagine Madeleine Astor's activities in Egypt were much the same as they were for any other woman of her class and era. Tourism in the style of that age - cruising on the Nile, visiting such archaelogical sites as had been excavated or were in the process of excavation, picking up a few souveniers (didn't Margaret Brown nab a few Shabti figures, or something similar?). Don't know if there's much specific data out there on what they were doing, but perhaps someone here is more versed in what material is extant. I do have a vague recollection there there's an anecdote or two connected with their visit.
Mar 20, 2000
In a press story that I recall reading (and which I posted here on an old thread about the Astors), J.J. and Madeleine were "barging down the Nile" when the Colonel's Airedale "Kitty" got lost. At some station along the way, they all had disembarked and Kitty ended up on the wrong boat. J.J. was much attached to the dog and suspended their trip until Kitty was found. I think the pup ended up yelping from a passing boat and so they were able to get Kitty back.
Mar 20, 2000
Hi Sally,

I can't say for sure about Madeleine's interests before she was married but, as she was a debutante, she would have been "schooled" in the niceties and trappings of the world she aspired to be a part of. Charity work, whether in the form of bazaars or amateur theatricals such as tableau vivants, would naturally have been a part of the life of any young lady in society. Riding was generally a social necessity and dancing would have been unavoidable.

But I have no specific facts to tell you about her involvement in these activities before 1911. My research on Madeleine has been incidental and what little I've found has been concentrated almost entirely in the years post -Titanic.

I know that she rode in Central Park, as was fashionable; there are many press photos of her out riding in the days before her second marriage to William Dick in 1916.

In 1914 she was a member of a committee of founders of an exclusive New York City nightspot, where fund-raising dances and other performances were held, called Club de Vingt. The same year she was one of the benefactresses of a charity style show arranged by "Vogue" magazine at the Ritz-Carlton, called "The Fashion Fete."

I have come across her name in conjunction with various other charities in these years, particularly ones with a musical theme. She was part of a Red Cross-sponsored pageant at some point during WWI but I can't recall now the details of it.

Beyond these scattered remnants of her social life, I don't know that much about Madeleine Astor. Primarily she's of interest to me because of her distinctive fashion sense. Madeleine had a predilection for black and white effects in dress, whether in stripes, dots or other contrasting accents and this signature style remained with her at least into her second marriage.

My best,
Mar 20, 2000

Madeleine in a familiar news image taken shortly after her marriage to J.J. in 1911. The black and white stripes seen on her hat were a trademark sartorial statement. Her trousseau for her 1916 wedding included a black and white striped yachting jacket, a black and white checked sports skirt, an evening dress in white trimmed in black and numerous other articles - blouses, belts, hats - in a black and white motif.

Kyrila Scully

Apr 15, 2001
South Florida
I seem to recall something about JJ seeing Madeleine while she and her sister were playing tennis, and that's where he became interested in her. I could be wrong - and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I am. Anyway, I can't remember where I read that, so no need to ask - LOL!

Mar 10, 1998
She was born Madeleine Talmage Force. Somewhere on the message board there is a long-ago thread that has obituaries for her parents transcribed--a search for "William Force" should turn it up for you.


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