Richard Norris Williams II


Matt Smith

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Sep 23, 2002
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I'm just doing a lot of research on him and I was wondering if any of you guys had any info on him, like did he have any kids or do you know any good stories. Keep in mind that I know the basics like the stuff in the Bio. Thanks

Matt
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Hello Mr. Williams,so good to see you in here. I have a question. Who has all of your grandfathers trophies? Have they ever gone on display anywhere?
 
Oct 20, 2009
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In the mid to late 1980s, my grandmother gave a few things to the Tennis Hall of Fame. One, as I remember, is The Church Cup from the old Seabright Tournament. Last time I saw it, it was on display in the late 1990s. It was in one of the display cases as one ascended the stairs from the Gift Shop.

The other trophies were distributed to various family members after my grandmother died in 2001. I have his 1924 or 1925, US Doubles trophy with Vinnie Richards and his 1924 Wimbledon Doubles runner up trophy with Watty Washburn as well. I also have his 1920 singles trophy for a now defunct club and tournament called Norwood which was played prior to Wimbledon.
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Thanks for that great information. It has to be quite an honor to have some of those trophies. Your grandfather was such a well know passenger of the Titanic and I am sure you have so many wonderful stories regarding your grandfathers great tennis career. Did your grandfather ever write about his story of being a survivor of the Titanic?
 
Oct 20, 2009
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I am sorry to say there are no great tennis stories in regards to my grandfather's tennis career, with the exception of certain match details one can find in tennis books. One being that he took a set from Bill Tilden in about 5 minutes, and Tilden admitted he was in championship form that day. Tilden said to his dying day that that was the finest single set ever played. See Al Laney's book on tennis. Tilden has written that my grandfather, when his game was ON was virtually unbeatable. Unfortunately, he could never summon his ON game very often. But that was due to his love of playing the game and winning was not paramount. Different times. It has been said that after a match one could never tell if my grandfather won or lost a match. My grandfather was a very modest man and did not like to talk about himself. He did write down a few amusing tennis stories of other players of the time. Yes my grandfather did write a very stoic account titled "C.Q. D." in regards to the Titanic. It was never published and written only for the family and a few select friends. However, it is copyrighted. But most details of his memoir can be found in his bio on this site and on the web by Googling his full name.
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Great story Mr. Williams. Its always so great to read posts from family members of Titanic passengers. I couldn't imagine myself being related to someone who had been aboard the Titanic. I bet you have been connected so many times concerning your grand fathers connection to the Titanic. How do you feel about that? Has it ever become a bother or more an honor? I hope you don't mind the questions. One more, did your grandfather ever stay in touch with other survivors over the years?
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Mr. Williams, this may have already been said to you several times over already, but my condolences regarding your great grandfather. I realize that you never knew him, but it still is family. I am curious as to how you felt when you first learned of his demise. I'm sorry, if you'd rather not talk about it, I understand. I don't mean to dig up old pain. My apologies. Just curious.

Take care
 
Oct 20, 2009
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Darren:

I must admit it is a pain at times when people, mostly the media, learn that my grandfather was a survivor. Especially so at the time the movie Titanic was at its height of popularity. My family was bombarded by interview requests. My grandmother was alive then and she along with me, agreed to do several interviews for a number of the major Networks. I am sorry to say but most of these were not pleasant to do and some of the people who came to interview us were not pleasant do deal with as well. To sum it up we felt a bit used. On top of it some didnt get their facts right in regards to my grandfather. However I must say I think the best one was done by Frank Deford which was aired during the Wimbledon tournament in 1998. It was not overly melodramatic and he presented who my grandfather was as a person.

The only other survivors I know my grandfather kept in touch with or were friends were Karl Behr and Jack Thayer. I do not believe he was good friends with Behr but probably saw each other off and on due at tennis tournaments. However, he was friends with Jack Thayer before the Titanic and I believe kept up the friendship since they both lived on the Main Line, belonged to the same club(s), had mutual friends... I have in my possession, safely stashed away, a copy of Jack Thayer's account which he signed and inscribed to my grandfather, a fellow survivor. Other than that I dont of anyone else as my grandfather rarely talked about the Titanic.
 
Oct 20, 2009
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Mark, no need to apologize. It is not a paintful subject. I dont remember what I felt when I first learned how my great grandfather died. I have known the family story for as long as I can remember. Naturally, I never knew my great grandfather, so my only feelings are for my grandfather and how he must have felt.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>To sum it up we felt a bit used.<<

Can't say as I'm surprised at that. There are a number of media types who have this strange notion that people with ties to famous or notorious events of any kind somehow become public property. The seem to forget that the celebrity, however brief, is as intrusive as it is unwelcome. Especially when the person suddenly thrust into the limelight has little if any knowladge of the events and as often as not, could care less.

The media also has an incedible talant for missing the fact that what's a "thrilling" story to them and which is gauranteed to sell copy is, to those who lived through it, a real life horror they would much rather forget.
 
Oct 20, 2009
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Michael

I agree with you in regards to the media and their insensitivity. Interesting saw a movie last night that covers this subject; tabloid journalism. Movie is 15 Minutes with Deniro.

But also mind sets are different today. Today, people are encouraged to talk about their woes (look at all these awful reality programs on dysfunctional families, talk shows...) while in those days it was not. People were more private back then. Much more of a stiff upper lip mentality. Deal with it, put it behind you and move on with your life. Which I admire but also not. If that makes any sense.
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Mr. Williams, I think it also had to do with the fact that people had more class back then. Personally, I don't like the reality shows. I think most of them are trashy. I just wonder what people of your grandfathers time would think of todays television. I think they would be horrified. As a society, we have lost the good common sense to know what is decent and what is not. Some of these television commercials for pharmaceutical companies is just plain uncouth.

Its unfortunate that anyone in the media would make you feel that way. They should be more appreciative because you and your family took valuable time out of your lives to be interviewed. I know if I had been in the situation where I had interviewed you, it would be in a very respectful manner. Some families have chosen not to speak about their family members being on the Titanic and you have to give those people their respect, but for those that have chosen to share stories, I would think they should get the most respect because there are so many people fascinated by these stories. I apppreciate you taking the time to answer everyones questions and responding to all the comments.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>But also mind sets are different today. <<

Are they? Really? ( I wonder about that sometimes.)

Well, maybe they are, but unfortunately, this tends to bypass a few problems, not the least of which is that the reletives of those who survived as often as not were surprised to find out that they had any connection to the event at all. It's not unknown for families a generation or two removed to not have any idea at all that their loved ones were even aboard that ship. The reactions vary among those who do know, with some being completely disinterested if only because they have nothing to talk about. They weren't on the ship when it sank so they don't have any woes to be concerned with.

Others may very well have some issues but wish the media would just get up and go away. They don't mind talking about their issues with people they know and trust, but don't see anything useful in being put on public display.

Can't say as I blame them.
 

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