Millvina Dean's Real Name

Holly Peterson

Former Member
I know that 'Millvina' was just a nickname, but what is her real name? I've seen on this site and on some others that it's Elizabeth Gladys, but unless I'm very confused, other sites and books have said that her name is Millicent Vera. I would very much like to know.

Thanks in advance!
American expert, Phil Gowan, has seen her birth certificate. It gives ELIZA GLADYS MILVINA DEAN.

Somehow Milvina has turned to Millvina over the years. However you spell it, it's her real name.

I hope she's OK. The last I heard, she had chest problems, which are always a danger at her age.
Hello Dave,
Millvina is very well at the moment and seems to have shaken off the latest Virus she had.
She has been very bright and cheerful lately and was taken out for a Pub Lunch which she enjoyed muchly.
To try to stem the avalanche of 'Material' sent to her for her signature she has been advised, and is now charging GBP10 per item - lets hope it stems the tide.
Best regards

I cannot believe that people send Millvina things to sign, especially multiple items. Brian, thanks for the update on Millvina. I am so glad that she is able to get out of the nursing home some times. That really can make a difference. Millvina likes unusual stationary so I sent her a card that was handmade from a lady in the North Carolina mountains. A very neat card with a drawing of a pot bellied stove.
>>I cannot believe that people send Millvina things to sign, especially multiple items.<<

I believe it. There's really nothing so low so underhanded and downright unsavoury that somebody won't do it. It's a shame that people don't stop to consider that she has a perfect right to be left in peace.
I recently saw in a magazine that my mother gets called"Acorn" about several Titanic pictures that were autographed by Millvina Dean. What really got my attention was the one of Titanic's propeller's with a piece of coal that RMS Titanic Inc supposedly recovered from the bottom of the ocean that was included with the picture. Even though it has a certificate of authenticity with it, how do you know it actually came from the Titanic wreck??? I would rather buy something from THS or another Titanic organization where I know my money will actually go to preserving the history of Titanic,not an organization that is profiting from the dead!!! Anyway, I also have seen other places where her signature is on these items!!! I also think it's a shame that people have her sign multiple items. My mother has a friend that is around Millvina's age, and has a terrible time signing things.I would too if I was 96 years old!!!
Hi everyone,

Millvina is still sharp, and can certainly handle her affairs with the assistance of well-meaning friends who do not wish to see her "exploited."

One must remember that almost all of Millvina's friends today were once strangers to her before they introduced themselves as Titanic researchers. They approached her years ago with the same intention that many Titanic researchers do today. It seems somewhat hypocritical when I hear a few of them speak for Millvina and how she should refuse various requests for autographs etc. How quickly they forget that they were once like the people who are attempting to contact Millvina now, and only because they got to know Millvina before her advanced age set in, they proclaim to be her "self-appointed spokesperson(s)." These folks should assist Millvina to the best of their ability and help her avoid exploitive individuals and situations (such as those who send multiple items - clearly these are commercial marketing people). However, schoolchildren eager to write to Millvina should not be immediately written off, or a serious researcher with good intentions. Let Millvina decide what she would like to do. I suspect a part of Millvina enjoys receiving fan mail - most older people wish to be thought of which is sadly not the case for most of the elderly in this world. If Millvina wasn't on the Titanic, I often wonder if anyone would even care to the extent they do.

Yes, it does seem a bit intrusive to have a frail 96-year-old signing countless autographs! I can't help but think back and remember the days when survivors like Edwina MacKenzie (aged 100) and Marjorie Robb (aged 101) would be standing in corridors and lobbies of hotels at Titanic conventions signing books, posters etc. for hours. One couldn't help but admire their stamina for doing this, but they seemed genuinely touched to be thought of. Marjorie Robb was only too happy to sign autographs for Titanic researchers for she frequently commented, "What else does someone my age have to look forward to!"

Best wishes to Millvina, truly a remarkable woman. Like Melville's Ishmael, Millvina, being the youngest of all the 712 survivors, was destined to be the last of all to tell the tale of the great ship.
Michael, I agree with what you posted completely. I remember back in the early 90's when I started writing to the remaining survivors (there were 9 then when I started) and then I would read in here how the survivors were off limits. My thought was if the survivor didn't want to read or respond to my letter then they could simply throw my letter away and that was the end. My remarks about people sending things to Millvina to sign only referred to people sending her items to sign simply for profit. And those are the ones who abuse Millvina's generousity.
Hi Darren,

Absolutely. I well remember how you were and still are a serious researcher. There are many people out there in the world who have become interested in the Titanic since the Cameron film came out. Like many of us back in the 1980s and 90s, we desired to learn more about this historical tragedy and how fortunate we were to be able to speak and correspond with some of those who went through that terrible night.

My post was not directed at you, but a few others who always seem to react so quick to stomp on well meaning individuals who seek information about Millvina. It reminds me of a few Titanic researchers who formed a ring around Ruth Blanchard back in the 1980s. Ruth loved to correspond with people, but some of her self appointed protectors, researchers who had managed to contact her before she became well known in Titanic groups, were always quick to intercept her mail and discourage others from trying to meet with her. It just struck me as being selfish when these researchers contacted Ruth just as others tried but quickly detoured others away from their "personal survivor".

I know that Millvina is frail, but that she still has her faculties and is capable to making decisions on her own. If she feels overwhelmed or bothered by all the mail she receives, I am sure she would alert the officials at the rest home where she resides to assist her with correspondence. Other Titanic researchers who visit her regularly should also offer to lend a hand. I know from speaking to Millvina that she enjoys the attention and likes to receive mail from all over the world - this is why I know she is quite capable of handling her affairs.

There are people out there who are only interested in exploiting Millvina, and those individuals and that particular correspondence should be handled and dealt with carefully. It is good that Millvina is charging those individuals money for her signature, after all, they are profiting from her autograph. But to those schoolkids and honest folk who are thrilled to writing to the last person left alive who survived the world's most famous shipwreck, I think it a shame that some researchers take the attitude they do.

In closing, Darren, I just wanted to let you know that I wasn't responding or directing my concerns to you. I know the type of person you are having corresponded with you over the years. You have kindly shared the information you acquired from families of survivors (such as the Greenfields and the Potters) on ET, and I was so glad to see this new material. We, as Titanic researchers, are grateful when we all learn from each other's work. No one person is the know all on every aspect of the Titanic's story - although some feel that they are.

Having been a member of ET since its inception, I have seen many researchers "come and go" and the behaviour and comments they exhibited and continue to do is sometimes shocking. Most of the bad apples are gone, for the Titanic sometimes brings out the worst in people. It is true of all things in life. Some were great contributors but they had an evil or sadistic side that unfortunately caused their demise. Some couldn't couldn't play fair or had hidden agendas. I can only thank Phil Hind for having to endure the personalities of some on this site. I think Phil Hind deserves a monument to his having to deal with some of the people who have brough disharmony to the message board.

I was wondering if you have been in touch with the Crolius family recently, Darren. I haven't been in contact with them for years and was wondering how Tom and Pat were doing.

Best regards,

Mike Findlay
Michael, No, I have not been in touch with anyone from the Crolius family lately. I am still writing letters to families of Titanic survivors but not as many as I once did. The last two people I have written to is someone I think you know very well, a very nice lady, Carol Binotto, Jean Hippach's granddaughter. She has given me some really nice photo's of her grandmother. Also, last month I was in correspondence with Eleanor Shumans step sister in Vermont.
>>One couldn't help but admire their stamina for doing this,<<

I'm in absolute awe of their stamina for doing this. I hope I have that sort of energy when I hit 60, never mind 101.

>>My remarks about people sending things to Millvina to sign only referred to people sending her items to sign simply for profit. And those are the ones who abuse Millvina's generousity.<<

And it's the abusers whom I have issues with.
Hi Darren,

So glad to hear that you have been in touch with Carol Binotto, Jean Hippach's granddaughter. I remember her well - so friendly and the perfect hostess. She and her young family were a pleasure to meet with. I'm sure she told you "some" of the stories involving Grandma Jean - truly a force to be reckoned with!

I never knew Eleanor's step sister lived in Vermont but was glad to hear you have been in touch with her. I just realized that Eleanor has been gone for ten years - hard to believe. She was such a sweet lady.

Kind regards,

I was really happy to speak to Caroll over the phone. She was like someone I have known all along or at least that is how she came across. I loved hearing some of the stories she had to tell of Jean and especially the home Jean lived in in Massachusetts. It really was a different way of life for the first class passengers. I wish I had known that Jeans brother had lived in NC years before he passed away. It is my understanding that Caroll's brother lives in the house now and is also open to speaking about the Titanic. I guess I was so glad to finally get in touch with someone in Jeans family after trying to get in touch with Jeans two daughters who never wanted to have anything to do with the topic of the Titanic. I always repected their wishes and anyone else who didn't wish to talk about it but to me, in a way it is sad because that familys story is lost forever.
Hi Darren,

So glad to hear that you had a pleasant chat with Carol. She is such a friendly person, and very kindly answers questions about her grandmother because she is just as interested. Jean's two daughters apparently followed their mother's wish never to discuss the disaster, but oddly, Jean herself, on occasion, did speak of the event to friends, family and the media. I guess it just depended on her mood that particular day.

Jean's son as you know was interested in the Titanic, and Carol has continued to preserve her family history. Thanks to Carol, Titanic researchers have learned so more about Jean Hippach and her mother. Jean could be difficult at times, but she had a soft spot for her pets and children. Although Jean survived the Titanic, she lost her three brothers very young in very tragic situations and her marriage was an extremely unhappy one. One wonders if these events shaped Jean's attitude toward life and behaviour in general in her later years where she was reported to have been extremely difficult. I do remember one chap here on ET awhile back who remembered knowing Jean Scharin when she lived on Cape Cod. Although just a boy, she befriended him and gave him a first-hand account of the Titanic. I guess his young age softened Jean's personality.

The Hippachs were an interesting family to be sure, and we're fortunate to have some of their descendants kindly sharing their memories of them.

Kind regards,

I can relate to that story about the small boy befriending an elderly Jean Hippach. In fact, that story touched me greatly when I first read it in Judith Gellars book. As a small child, I also had an elderly neighbor in her 70's who I used to visit on occasion. She seemed from my recollection as a harsh person but I think my visits kind of "softened" her. I remember her bringing me roses when I came home from the hospital. I was 5 years old. Being 5, I didn't realize how life experiences could shape a person. This lady, Pearl Alexander Spray, born in 1898, lost her son when he was only his thirties, and had lost her husband in 1960. I would visit her in her home and she seemed more like a grandmother more than anything. I knew older women from the neighborhood but she was different. I miss her. She passed away in 1976 when I was 11 years old.