The Elderly Couple Photo On Aft A Deck

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'Couple'? 'Elderly'? IMHO, I think not. The lady is not 40 and the gentleman is not 60. It is evident to me that they know each other, and are amused at being photographed by Browne. With wry wit he has captioned his photograph of his companions simply 'First Class'.
Good point, Don. I too have been wondering why this sprightly pair are so often referred to as 'elderly'. From studying the full-size pic I'd say the lady is 40 plus, but neither is older than me and I manage to get about without a bath chair (on a good day)! But that's our tragedy, Don. To these youngsters, even folks in their prime like thee and me are ancient.
Yeah, your'e right Michael... But to answer Mike:
In 1912 was a 1st Class passenger like mr. Stead too well mannered to stand near to (?another?) woman on a picture, while he was married. And I think sleeping around was not an option for 1912. I think it is his wife...

>>And I think sleeping around was not an option for 1912.<<

Oh, sleeping around certainly was an option, but then as now, one had to be mindful of the 11th Commandment and keep it wholly: "Don't get caught." A number of wealthy men had their "pieces of fluff" on the side and at least one such...Ben Guggenhiem if I recall correctly...was traveling with his mistress.

For all that Edwardian Society was very different in some respects from ours, in a lot of others, it was also very similar.
My understanding is that in the Brit aristocracy (dunno about the US) the requirement was "an heir and a spare" and after that cuckoos in the nest were tolerated. I think Bertie (Edward VII) had a fair bit to do with this, reputedly being a great begetter of cuckoos. And they did have access to birth control, which of course does assist the 11th Commandment. Mr. Stead doesn't sound this sort of person at all, though.
>>Mr. Stead doesn't sound this sort of person at all, though.<<

I don't think he was either, though if we're wrong, I suppose he kept the 11th Commandment very well. In any event, after comparing the photo here with the one in the bio taken justbefor he sailed on Titanic, I don't think the gent with that lady is him anyway.

Ben Holme

Paul wrote: "In 1912 was a 1st Class passenger like mr. Stead too well mannered to stand near to (?another?) woman on a picture, while he was married."

Not at all. Indeed it was considered an act of chivalry for a first class gentleman to offer his services as an escort to any unaccompanied woman, regardless of whether or not he (or she) was married. Helen Candee, for example, would not have read anything sinister into the intentions behind Col. Gracie's offer to accompany her for the duration of the voyage.

For what it's worth, I'm almost certain that the couple in question were not the Steads. Photographs of Stead in and around 1912 reveal a much heavier-built gentleman with a bushier beard. There are now very few first class passengers whose photographs I have not seen, and it is my belief that the gentleman, in particular, is one of these.

Hence, if anyone has any photographs of Richard William Smith, W.A. Walker, John Smart or Emil Taussig, for example, they would make for an interesting comparison with the "unidentified couple" pic. That being said, it is equally likely that the couple in question were cross-channel passengers.
Is the timing of when the photographs were taken confirmed? Could this particular photograph have been taken prior to the departure from Southampton and therefore one or the other or both may actually have been visitors who left the ship before she sailed? Does anyone know if Mrs Stead saw her husband off?


If the man was Mr. Stead, a famous spiritualist editor and publisher, the lady may be a fan of his, a fellow spiritualist, or perhaps a secretary. Or she could be a relative (niece, daughter)

The lady is not standing in close intimacy with the gentleman, but walking a little behind him. That may not be important. She may be his wife or daughter and trying to catch up to him. They look like they are having a friendly conversation.

Marilyn P.
There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that here we see Frank and Anna Warren of Portland, Oregon. Having studied the photographs supplied on their ET biography pages, I've concluded that the physical similarities are too striking to be coincidental. Furthermore, this pair are obviously in their late fifties or early sixties, just as the Warrens were at the time the 'Titanic' sailed. As they boarded at Cherbourg on the evening of 10th April, and as Father Browne took this photograph en route to Queenstown early the next day, the evidence seems to me to be overwhelming and conclusive.

I find it amusing that some board-members have speculated that the couple are interlopers from second-class - an argument that seems to be based on Mrs Warren's rather unexciting choice of costume! Yet, as I've pointed out on another thread, no Edwardian lady (no matter how wealthy or fashionable) would have sported Parisian couture for an exposed and windy walk on deck! The ensemble we see in this photograph - thick overcoat, scarf and hat - was in fact eminently practical for the time and place.
I won't be as emphatic as you, Martin, but it would be quite a coincidence for the strollers to both bear striking resemblances to a married couple on the ship. The man's face doesn't have the sternness of the photo on Mr W's ET page but that's just a matter of expression. If it is Mr. Warren, he'd trimmed his beard since the bio page photo, which was also an improvement. The woman has a warm face, very similar to Mrs. Warren's. One thing that leaves a question mark for me is that the woman appears to have very dark hair, whereas Mrs. Warren was gray-haired.

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
I love a puzzle. I think the woman could be Mrs Warren, but on the bio page it looks like she has a dimpled chin that is not in the ship photo. Mr warren looks a bit different to me, as his eye sockets are quite angled. Are there other pictures of them somewhere?
Yes but...I've seen countless casual photographs of even my closest friends looking nothing LIKE themselves! The fleeting expressions people wear when 'papped' (as the Warrens were by Father Browne) bear little or no resemblance to those assumed for formal portraits (such as those featured on the ET biography pages).

Beards can be closely trimmed or allowed to go wild. William T. Stead - who has also been named as a candidate for the gentleman in this picture - experimented with both styles. A portrait of him with a flowing, Karl Marx-like configuration of facial hair has little similarity to a portrait of him with a natty goatee. As for the question of variation in colour...personally, I'm more than happy to attribute this to the natural light and the fact that the photograph is obviously in black-and-white. Or maybe Anna Warren was in fact DYEING her hair in the spring of 1912?

Say what you like - the 'mystery couple' are mysterious no longer. Say hello to Mr and Mrs Warren!
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