Is there a certainty as to how Miss Isham perished in the disaster? I recall from a source that she had a dog with her aboard the ship, possibly a St Bernard or Great Dane. According to an old 1912 newspaper article from the London Daily Sketch, there was a woman on the Titanic who was found floating a few feet away from her dog when a lifeboat came back to see whom they could pick up from the icy sea.
As for Miss Edith Evans, how did she die? Where was she and what was she doing when Colonel Archibald Gracie approached her near the end and found her to be ‘perfectly calm’?
If anyone has an answer to these questions that have long flummoxed me, I thank you dearly.
Miss Evans had been in Paris visting her cousins.
Her aunt by marriage Mrs Clifford Cornell(Malvina) and Malvina's two sisters Mrs JM Brown(Caroline) and Mrs Appleton (Charlotte) were on the ship. Col. Gracie had taken responsibility for the ladies. Edith and Caroline were separted from the other 2 ladies. They found themselves at boat D. The boat was almost full so Edith said to Caroline "go first you have children waiting for you at home." She helped Mrs Brown over the rail and then someone shouted "lower away"
Edith had given up her seat for Caroline in the boat. She was very calm and simply stood on deck looking out at sea.
"She was very calm and simply stood on deck looking out at sea."
That was all that I needed to know. Did you learn this information from Judith B. Geller's book, Titanic: Women and Children First? And, of course, the Encyclopaedia Titanica's general information on Miss Evans. I thank you again for your help.
The fate of this mysterious lady has intrigued everybody. What happened to her? A member of a prominent family, 50-year-old Ann Isham, nicknamed "Lizzie," probably knew others in first class aboard Titanic but no one - at least no one who survived - remembered meeting or seeing her. Even old Col. Gracie (bless his snoopy heart) whose cabin was next to hers, never noticed her coming and going from her room.
According to Col. Gracie, Ann "Lizzie" Isham:
"...is the only one of whom no survivor, so far as I can learn, is able to give any information whatsoever as to where she was or what she did on that fateful Sunday night..."
Don Lynch, in contact with her family some years ago, reported that no correspondence connected with Lizzie's death had been preserved by her loved ones. Very odd, in my opinion.
With such a dearth of information, one's imagination is permitted to run riot. Did she really board the Titanic at Cherbourg? Her ticket was used but do we know if it was really Lizzie who used it?
Did she come to some harm early in the voyage - perhaps dying in her cabin - but was never discovered by her steward/stewardess?
Did she really survive but chose to remain anonymous a la Rose "Dawson"? (Cameron detractors will hate me for that one!)
Or was Lizzie Isham just a shy person who didn't socialize much and so was never noticed by anyone, even on the night of April 14-15? Still, where WAS she while the lifeboats were going away? Was she just lost in the crowd on deck, one face among many, or did she remain in her room asleep till it was too late?
What do you all think?
PS) Her photographs (reproduced in the THS journal, Spring '91), reveal a who seems quiet, even bashful. I might also say, from examining the picture of her with her family (circa 1905), that she looks to be significantly overweight. This surely would have posed health problems if in the next 6 or 7 years she gained still more weight.
According to Gracie in his book, Lizzy Isham's relatives contacted him after discovering - I assume through the White Star Line - that his cabin was near her's. Her family was hoping for closure by learning something about Lizzy's last days and thought Gracie may have met her.
He said it hurt him to have to reply to them that he had never met his neighbor but felt sure that she had not been locked in her cabin, as they had feared. They sent a picture of Lizzie to Gracie but he said he never saw her at any time.
It is a sad and odd tale. What happened to that poor lady, I guess will never be known. For myself, I can't help but wonder that something weird happened to her.
This is a newspaper story I found in the book "Titanic Extra". No names are given, but it concerns a steward who went to one of the first cabin passengers - a woman - and told her to dress and put on her life preserver. She laughed "if that little bump is all that has happened, I'll stay right here" "Madam, replied the steward, "My orders are to tell you to dress and put on a life preserver". "My orders to myself are to get back into bed and go to sleep again" said the woman and she did. She paid for it with her life.
As with a lot of the newspaper stories of that time, it's hard to know whether or not to believe this, but it may be a clue. If you are interested, I can look up the exact source for you.
That's interesting information. Ann Isham's bedroom steward would have been Cullen, same as Col. Gracie's, next door. As Cullen was one of the relativley few 1st class bedroom stewards who survived, it seems possible that the steward in question was Cullen, and that the lady to whom he was referring was indeed Miss Isham.
However, if this was merely a passing steward, rather than her actual bedroom steward, the story seems less plausible.
If Cullen ever wrote an account, I would be surprised if he didn't mention Miss Isham.
This story appeared in the New York Herald of April 19, 1912 on page 2. It was part of an article by May Birkhead, a Carpathia passenger who interviewed survivors. She said that the story was told to her by a steward, but did not mention any names. The quote I gave you before was all that was said.
The words that caught my eye were that she was a first class passenger and that she paid with her life. The steward seemed to be talking about a woman who was alone. Mrs. Allison and Mrs. Straus were with their husbands, and Edith Evans was with her friends and Archibald Gracie, so she is the only one left.
Another thing - she knew Emily Ryerson, and even though Mrs. Ryerson rarely left her room, I wonder if she ever saw or spoke with Miss Isham.
Let's remember that the New York Herald story is quite possibly not true. Most stories during those first weeks were unsubstantiated rumors that were usually made up by the press. Early 20th century journalism reeked with the stench of sensationalism. Even if it was true, how did they know that the woman died if they didn't know her name? She could have been any single 1st Class lady who was a bit slower to the boats. There's no reason to believe she died.
Caution is wise of course when reading any early Titanic tales but as to the article Carole mentions, it is not stated that the woman's name was unknown, it is simply that it was not mentioned. If indeed the unidentified first class steward made such a remark he PROBABLY did know the lady passenger's name or else he would not have stated that she had died. He was only being discreet in not mentioning her name. There of course would need to be, in a story of this type, some further verification which someday may - or may not - come.
One thing to speculate on - indeed that is all we can do at this point - is that if Gracie was right that his cabin and other cabins were locked when he returned at one point and if we then ASSUME Cullen (or whomever the steward was) was referring to Isham in the story related regarding her early refusal to leave her room, then the case could be made that she MIGHT HAVE eventually been locked in her room.
I'm not sure if that means, if this was the case, that she was then unable to let herself out but it could be that if locked from the outside, the door could not be opened from the inside. This COULD happen. I've seen old hotel doors with outside locks (though they no longer worked).
PS) I vaguely recall a story of a lady passenger who returned to her room to get some valuables during the sinking and heard a key turning in the door-lock. She had rightly guessed that it was a steward securing the cabin. She screamed, the steward let her out, and she rushed on deck empty-handed. Does anyone else recall this story? Was the lady or the steward identified?
I believe you are both referring to Victorine Chaudanson, the Ryerson Maid. The steward has never been identified, although my guess is Walter Bishop, Arthur and Emily's bedroom steward.
Another passenger (never identified) WAS actaully locked in his cabin. Norris Williams had to break the door down to free him. A passing steward, opposed to Williams' use of force, reprimanded him for doing so.