Slice of Life Anecdotes?


Laurel

Member
Hello everyone! This is my first thread I've posted (minus replies to others), and I was wondering if anyone knew any slice of life type anecdotes for the Titanic or it's passengers. I've always been very interested in minimal details and trivial facts in the lives of historical figures, and I'm sure some other people might find it interesting as well. I didn't see a thread on this topic in my searches, but if there is already an existing thread I apologize for the duplicate.

Anyways, I already know about Colonel Gracie lending a book to Isidor Straus, and the story of Thomas Andrews having a loaf of soda bread to remind him of home (although I'm not sure of the truth in this one so please correct me if I'm wrong).

I thought it might be nice to have a kind of gathering place for little anecdotes and stories like that, if this isn't already a thing and I overlooked it. I've always thought that little slice of life remembrances make history more personal, and that once you attach everyday emotions or experiences to a historical figure they become more alive, or at least they seem to in the eyes of a lot of people. I feel like we all become too easily removed from history and it comes to be seen as some kind of weird, twisted fairytale that happened long ago in "far away land" and can't ever repeat or be related to because of how "sophosticated" and "modern" we are when in reality it wasn't long ago at all. Or maybe that's just my generation, who knows.
 
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Aly Jones

Member
Hi laurel, what a great thread topic.

I'm fascinated by the Edwardian era. I can not relate to our world and how modern we had become. We are so distant from our past that nothing is in relations to our grandparents era. I think how people lived in the Edwardian days and what titanics passengers / crew were like as people such mannerism, and the whole men care for women etc... Yes you are correct those days were not to long ago - the Edwardian days / titanic herself and her madian voyage were only 69 years before I was born and other people even less than that.

I Also agree with emotional attachment to these history figures can make them feel that they are alive in our world. I've attached myself to the officers meaning I think of them everyday and sometimes I forget that they died over 100 years ago.

People on titanic wrote letters constantly to their love ones as to keep in touch with them. It's all they had really, something we take for granted today. Edith brown was given a toy musical pig by her mother, she brought it with her for two reasons- remind her of her mother and it was her lucky pig. Im trying to think of others but nothing comes to my head atm. Maybe others will come to my mind later.
 
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Laurel

Member
Oh yes I've heard about Edith's lucky pig. I had forgotten about it until now. I think she used it to calm down children in the lifeboats, which is very sweet of her.

And I agree! I love the victorian era and the 1940s wartime era (something about the hair and the changing fashions due to wartime restrictions just fascinates me to no end). I like the edwardian era as well but I have some bad associations with it due to some personal things, but loving the Titanic is helping me get over all of that. The Titanic's maiden voyage was 90 years before me, so we have a bit of an age difference:D.

I tend to try to attach emotions to all of my favorite (and even non favorite) historical figures. Some of my favorite figures of mine that are unrelated to the Titanic are Louise Elisabeth d'Orleans, the Queen of Spain in 1724 (her story is extremely sad but I sympathize with her a lot so I love to study her life), as well as Anne Boleyn and a few more obscure figures. I love to learn small details and really get into their heads where I can. It's quite interesting!

Also, thank you! I felt a bit awkward posting a thread but it makes me happy to see that at least one person approves of the topic!
 

Kate Powell

Member
Hello everyone! This is my first thread I've posted (minus replies to others), and I was wondering if anyone knew any slice of life type anecdotes for the Titanic or it's passengers. I've always been very interested in minimal details and trivial facts in the lives of historical figures, and I'm sure some other people might find it interesting as well. I didn't see a thread on this topic in my searches, but if there is already an existing thread I apologize for the duplicate.

Anyways, I already know about Colonel Gracie lending a book to Isidor Straus, and the story of Thomas Andrews having a loaf of soda bread to remind him of home (although I'm not sure of the truth in this one so please correct me if I'm wrong).

I thought it might be nice to have a kind of gathering place for little anecdotes and stories like that, if this isn't already a thing and I overlooked it. I've always thought that little slice of life remembrances make history more personal, and that once you attach everyday emotions or experiences to a historical figure they become more alive, or at least they seem to in the eyes of a lot of people. I feel like we all become too easily removed from history and it comes to be seen as some kind of weird, twisted fairytale that happened long ago in "far away land" and can't ever repeat or be related to because of how "sophosticated" and "modern" we are when in reality it wasn't long ago at all. Or maybe that's just my generation, who knows.

Hello Laurel,

I know what you mean, finding interesting passenger stories is a favourite pastime of mine.
I didn't know about Colonel Gracie lending a book to Isidor Straus so thanks for that. I too have heard that chief baker Charles Joughin baked Thomas Andrews a loaf of Irish soda bread to comfort him when he was feeling homesick.

One passenger story I read recently about Miss Carla Christine Nielsine Andersen-Jensen was fascinating firstly for her account of the sinking and secondly for her eye witness account of the behaviour of some of the women survivors taken aboard the Carpathia. Her tale has an emotional ending as when she died she requested to be buried in the nightdress she had worn on the night Titanic sank.

Another story I came across was from fireman George Kemish who reported seeing British newspaper editor William T. Stead calmly reading in the First Class Smoking room during the sinking. Would really like to know if this is true and if anyone has more information.
Looking forward to reading more passenger stories and you're quite right, these tales really give us unique glimpses into life onboard Titanic.
 
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Aly Jones

Member
Hi laurel,

I have two friends on FB that will probably hit it off with you. Any chance you are on FB? They love titanic and also one is into spiritual things (trying to connect with officers) through spiritual ways and one loves Victorian and Edwardian era (custom period clothes). I'm more into the titanic officers more than anything else, which includes the Edwardian era.

May I ask? What happened to make you some what dislike Edwardian days? I wonder if Edwardian people loved their era or hated it and envy the generation before them.
 

Aly Jones

Member
Hi kate.

One passenger story I read recently about Miss Carla Christine Nielsine Andersen-Jensen was fascinating firstly for her account of the sinking and secondly for her eye witness account of the behaviour of some of the women survivors taken aboard the Carpathia


What behaviours did the women have onboard, may I ask?
 

Kate Powell

Member
Hi Aly,

Miss Nielsine Andersen-Jensen describes in detail some very sad scenes aboard the Carpathia.
She tells how women survivors were sitting around in shock or crying and how others were wandering around calling out for their husbands. Here's the link to her story.

 
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Hello Laurel,

I know what you mean, finding interesting passenger stories is a favourite pastime of mine.
I didn't know about Colonel Gracie lending a book to Isidor Straus so thanks for that. I too have heard that chief baker Charles Joughin baked Thomas Andrews a loaf of Irish soda bread to comfort him when he was feeling homesick.

One passenger story I read recently about Miss Carla Christine Nielsine Andersen-Jensen was fascinating firstly for her account of the sinking and secondly for her eye witness account of the behaviour of some of the women survivors taken aboard the Carpathia. Her tale has an emotional ending as when she died she requested to be buried in the nightdress she had worn on the night Titanic sank.

Another story I came across was from fireman George Kemish who reported seeing British newspaper editor William T. Stead calmly reading in the First Class Smoking room during the sinking. Would really like to know if this is true and if anyone has more information.
Looking forward to reading more passenger stories and you're quite right, these tales really give us unique glimpses into life onboard Titanic.
There is a scene in "A Night To Remember" showing William T. Stead as mentioned in your post.

Also there are stories from some other persons
of Margaret Brown, who had traveled all over Europe and was fluent in several languages and was helpful in conversing and aiding survivors on the Carpathia during the voyage to New York.

This isn't exactly a Titanic "Slice of Life Anecdote", but just a "Slice of Life Anecdote" from my (admittedly short time) service in the USN.
On the ship on which I served there was a Warrant Officer named Beauchemin.
He was from Louisiana.
He was often referred to to as "Bo's'n Beauchemin, the ragin' Cajun". :)
 
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Aly Jones

Member
Just spotted a photo on FB with Carpathian Captain and Margaret Brown. He is holding a cup which was presenting to him for coming to their rescue, that's a personal artifact. Also, marked on original photo was her name J.J Brown. Mrs Margaret Brown's nic name was J.J. Brown and NOT Molly Brown. Molly Brown was never used until our era.
 

Aly Jones

Member
Hi Aly,

Miss Nielsine Andersen-Jensen describes in detail some very sad scenes aboard the Carpathia.
She tells how women survivors were sitting around in shock or crying and how others were wandering around calling out for their husbands. Here's the link to her story.

A very telling story and She gives a really good account, even how the ship sank in two. Must had gotten to her since she never travelled outside of Denmark ever again, even when both ways broke out. She was born a year after my grandfather and died one year before I was born.
 
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Bo Bowman

Member
Thanks for the great topic! Most of us are fascinated with this story because it reveals so much humanity. I am presently working on a manuscript which places my characters aboard Titanic, and I'm weaving several real persons into the story. I'll share two that are favorites, plus a comment or two about Margaret Brown.

Archibald Butt was a young American military attaché who perished in the sinking. In researching his story I learned that he was engages to be married. That simply heightens the tragedy of his death, and in my fictional story my main character's last image of Butt is him staring wistfully at a photo of his sweetheart.

Another fellow who impressed me is John Harper, a Scots pastor who was on his way to a new assignment in America. He was emphatically concerned for the salvation of anyone he met, and after the sinking he would swim from one to another, praying with them. It is said he even gave his life jacket to one of them (although I'm not sure how they'd know!).

Maggie Brown of one of my favorites, as in real life she was a character. Jim J. Brown was her husband, so she was known by the protocols of that day as "Mrs. J.J. Brown." She was never called "Molly," which was a coarse term in that day - such as "broad." A reporter concocted that name after the sinking I believe, unless it came from the Broadway play. I'm not certain is she was called Maggie by her friends, but it is likely. Her home in Denver is now a museum.

Best wishes to all!
 
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There is also a story that John "Jack" Phillips, the Senior Marconi Operator on the Titanic had been engaged to a 17 year old girl named Kitty just before he left for duty on the Titanic . He was 24 years old. The story was that Kitty wore the engagement ring for years later until finally being persuaded to take it off.

And also on the name of "Kitty".... The Astor's pet dog was named "Kitty".
 
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Laurel

Member
Hi laurel,

I have two friends on FB that will probably hit it off with you. Any chance you are on FB? They love titanic and also one is into spiritual things (trying to connect with officers) through spiritual ways and one loves Victorian and Edwardian era (custom period clothes). I'm more into the titanic officers more than anything else, which includes the Edwardian era.

May I ask? What happened to make you some what dislike Edwardian days? I wonder if Edwardian people loved their era or hated it and envy the generation before them.
Hi Aly,

To make a very long story short, I used to believe in reincarnation and I claimed to have been a relative of the British Royal Family during the Edwardian era. I was extremely dedicated to the idea and met others who claimed to be other members of the family, and I wasted a few years of my life obsessing over it. I had "memories" come to me and sometimes correctly guessed details but generally it was very vague things. Personally I think it was some sort of evil influence causing it (whatever evil force you chose to believe in, whether it be the devil, or demons, or "bad energy", etc). I know I sound insane, but up until that point a few years ago I had never believed in reincarnation, and then suddenly a switch flipped and I was in head long. I think a part of it was a silly make believe game for me (I was 14 at the time), but it really quickly became something a lot darker. I think something evil (whatever that may be) took ahold of me and influenced me, because it got to the point where I had a lot of anxiety, existential crisis', disassociation, and just a generally feeling that something wasn't while I believed in it. The online community surrounding reincarnation can also be very toxic at times too. I've never suffered any mental health problems or disorders, which would be the only logical explanation for all of it. As soon as I stopped believing in it all of my problems went away, and I've been trying to avoid areas of history that I used to associate all of that with. I finally decided that I need to make myself a new, healthy association with each era I had a bad feeling for, hence my new interest in the Titianic (as well as the ship just being extremely fascinating in general). I also tend to be a very rational person which is why I don't think my belief in it was entirely my own doing. I've been getting a lot more into religion and things like that to try to help myself heal from those years. If it wasn't for religion I'd still be deep into my old beliefs, but about two and a half years into it I realized that something wasn't right after I started to not be able to remember a time when I wasn't anxious and just generally feeling "out of it."


Also please don't think I'm too insane. I know I sound absolutely crazy.

And on a much lighter topic, I do have Facebook
 
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Laurel

Member
And getting off the "Laurel sounds like a loon" topic, John Harper sounds like a very nice man! I would like to have met him, if somehow I could travel back to the Titanic
 
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Bo Bowman

Member
Laurel, you are not a "loon." Rather, you are on a spiritual journey. Glad to hear you are easing away from New Age stuff and looking for answers elsewhere. The dark side is real, and you want the light.

Commercial is over (I pastor a very small church in NW Wyoming; very non-traditional). Now, back to the topic.

John Harper was a widower, traveling on Titanic with his very young daughter. His wife's teenaged cousin (I think) was along to help with the daughter. He made certain both girls were on a lifeboat, then he stayed behind.
 
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