Richard Norris Williams

Did Richard Norris Williams ever leave behind an account of his voyage on the Titanic? Is it true his father was on the Arizona that struck an iceberg?
Hi Mike,

Richard Norris Williams 2nd did leave a very detailed account of his experiences on the Titanic. His memoirs are still in the possession of his family who kindly allowed me to read them several years ago. Richard's grandson Quincy has the book now, as well as the silver flask that was in his grandfather's pocket when the Titanic sank. Richard's lovely wife, Frances Sue Williams is still alive (she and I did an interview together recently), but she desires that her husband's memoirs not be published. She has kindly let other historians read the pages of the book and many writers, such as Jack Eaton, Charlie Haas, and Don Lynch have used bits and pieces of the account. The most well known comes from Lynch - who used the part about Williams seeing Robert Daniel's French bulldog swimming near him in the water.

Interestingly, Williams did not remember what cabin he was in. He described his stateroom as "L-shaped" and we have detemined that he was either on C or D deck. I believe he was on D-deck, and that the cabin door he smashed was occupied either by Mr. William A. Walker or Mr. Frederick Sutton.

It is true that Richard's father was aboard the Arizona when she collided with an iceberg.

Glad to see you here, Mike. Looking forward to seeing you again one day soon.


Mike Findlay
Dear Michael,
Is the private account written by Williams and his typescript of the disaster one in the same? I was also wondering if anyone knows whether the Williams account in Paul Quinn's 'From Dusk To Dawn' comes from this same source.
Best regards,
Tad Fitch
Hi Tad,

I've not yet had the opportunity to read Quinn's book (though I have flipped through it). Until I do, I cannot say for sure if the material Quinn wrote came directly from Williams' memoirs. Williams gave interviews over the years so it is impossible to say for sure at the moment.

Mrs. R. Norris Williams II is still living. She and I did an interview last year for Sports Illustrated Video. I had been writing to her for years but only when I met her did she tell me that her husband never liked to discuss the Titanic. He only wrote his memoirs out of his love and respect for history. He was quite a scholar. Mrs. Williams told me that "Dick loved history but not his own." He was a very private man, and did not like to take part in the publicity later built up over his Titanic experience as well as his successful tennis career.

I will read Quinn's book and let you know what his source was.

Best regards,

Mike Findlay
Well the only unoccupied L shaped cabins on D deck near William Walker were D 14 and D 18. And in Martha Stephanson's account ( keeping in mind she was specific in naming people she encountered ) she said her sister saw a gentleman opposite her cabin in the passageway pull his shoes in. If it were Willimas as she knew them she probably would have refered to him as Mr. Williams. So it could be they were in the cabin next hers which was D 18. Which does open speculation to who the other gentleman in the passage was.

Daniel Rosenshine (Danielr)

Keep in mind that Mrs Stephenson did not specifically say D14, the man in the cabin could have been from D16, this keeps D14 an option.