The Rothschilds


Arun Vajpey

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I find it surprising that there is so little mention of Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild in any Titanic literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6.

Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic (her) union that both groups ignored them or something? Who did they share dining tables with or socilaise? Does anyone know?
 

Kas01

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I'd strongly doubt it was due to anti-Semitism. Ben Guggenheim and the Strauses were both Jewish, and there's no shortage of literature, mythologizing or otherwise, about either Guggenheim or the Strauses. It may simply have been due to class differences between the two (Elizabeth Rothschild being from a working-class Irish family and marrying her employer).

As for who they may have socialized with, I believe people from either the Rochester or Binghamton area would have been likely candidates, considering Martin was buried in Watkins Glen. Further south may have been a stretch but Scranton or Wilkes-Barre, PA were along the same stretches of railroad, so Dr. Frauenthal might have also been in that circle.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I'd strongly doubt it was due to anti-Semitism. Ben Guggenheim and the Strauses were both Jewish, and there's no shortage of literature, mythologizing or otherwise, about either Guggenheim or the Strauses. It may simply have been due to class differences between the two (Elizabeth Rothschild being from a working-class Irish family and marrying her employer).

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I was also thinking on the same lines. Majority of the really rich people on the Titanic were Americans and in those times there was a strong Jewish representation among them, as you say the Stausses, Guggenheim etc. I was not thinking about anti-semetism but any objections over a Jewish-Catholic union given the time; and yes, the perceived class differences
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Wasn't there a Second Class couple in a similar situation? I think it was Mathilde and Leopold Weisz; not sure if Mathilde was Catholic, but she certainly attended the hymn singing session on Sunday night while her Jewish husband was strolling on the deck.
 

Kas01

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Pretty sure Mrs. Weisz was Catholic. I don't know when Notre Dame des Neiges opened for non-Catholic burials but I'm assuming it was some time before her death in October of '53. There wasn't as much of an age or social difference though outside of the interfaith marriage.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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The Rothschilds travelled a lot and their steward Frederick Dent Ray reportedly knew them from the Olympic. Ray, who survived, reportedly met Martin Rothschild near the latter's cabin after he had safely seen his wife off in Lifeboat #6. Ray and Rothschild went up to the boat deck, the steward going to help with starboard lifeboats #9 and #11 and in the process presumably getting separated form Rothschild. I don't think any survivor recalled seeing Martin Rothschild on deck during the last 50 minutes of sinking.
 

Arun Vajpey

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As for who they may have socialized with, I believe people from either the Rochester or Binghamton area would have been likely candidates, considering Martin was buried in Watkins Glen. Further south may have been a stretch but Scranton or Wilkes-Barre, PA were along the same stretches of railroad, so Dr. Frauenthal might have also been in that circle.
Now that is interesting, especially (unless I am mistaken) the Frauenthals were also Jewish. Dr Henry Frauenthal and his wife - possibly also the brother Isaac Frauenthal - had travelled on the Olympic before just like the Rothschilds but might not have been the same voyage. Even so, I expect that they might have known or become acquainted with the Rothschilds on board the Titanic and - like you presume - might have socialised on board.

If that was the case, their fate after the Titanic struck the iceberg was quite different. All three Frauenthals got away on an early lifeboat, the #5. Steward Ray was involved in helping with the starboard lifeboats even before he met Martin Rothschild and so he might have been there when the Frauenthals escaped. But Martin Rothschild saw his wife onto Lifeboat #6, which was lowered at around 1:10 am by Lightoller and then went back to his cabin where he met Ray soon afterwards.
 
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I find it surprising that there is so little mention of Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild in any Titanic literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6.

Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic (her) union that both groups ignored them or something? Who did they share dining tables with or socilaise? Does anyone know?
At that level of society I don't think it was anything about religion. It's more about what board room's you belong to than what church you attend. I don't think anybody was going to ignore the Rothchilds. It could have been as simple as the were just enjoying being with each other more and were just chilling out so to speak.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Could be. Perhaps they were too self-conscious themselves of Elizabeth Rothschild's working class background and avoided the Astors, Thayers, Carters etc in case someone passed a derogatory remark? Mind you, I'd rather socilaise with Elizabeth Rothschild any day rather than Madeline Astor.

BTW, I doubt if Martin Rothschild attended any church. ;)
 
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I have no way of knowing of course but I get the feeling Elizabeth Rothschilds would probably have had no problem hanging out with Molly Brown. Both coming up thru the ranks so to speak. But when Titanic sunk she had been married to Martin R. for 17 years so maybe she fully integrated into that part of society and was comfortable with it. I don't know.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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I get the feeling Elizabeth Rothschilds would probably have had no problem hanging out with Molly Brown. Both coming up thru the ranks so to speak. But when Titanic sunk she had been married to Martin R. for 17 years so maybe she fully integrated into that part of society and was comfortable with it.
You could be right. Mind you, there were plenty of unconventional alliances on the Titanic: JJ Astor with a wife younger than one of his sons, Guggenheim's mistress and of course, the Rothschilds. By 1912 Elizabeth Rothschild was probably more at home in that sort of society than some of the younger ones born into it.
 

Kas01

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JJ Astor with a wife younger than one of his sons,

Last I checked, only Vincent counted unless COL Astor had a patent for an ultrasound machine that we don't know about.

As far as New York City is concerned, though, and yes, I know it's impolitic, you really can't get anywhere worthwhile in NYC if you're an anti-Semite, or at the very least quite damn good at hiding it. That's true now, and it was no less true in mid-April of 1912.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Is there any reliable record of how much the Rothschilds were worth at the time of the Titanic disaster?

Also, how did they rank in terms of social status with the Astors, Wideners, Thayers, Ryersons, Carters etc?
 

Brian Ahern

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Is there any reliable record of how much the Rothschilds were worth at the time of the Titanic disaster?

Also, how did they rank in terms of social status with the Astors, Wideners, Thayers, Ryersons, Carters etc?
I've never seen any numbers provided regarding their worth.

They ranked far below the other families you mentioned, I think largely for the reasons you put forward earlier in this thread. The others you mention were all more or less born into 'Society'; the Rothschilds were not. I've never seen them listed in any social directory, and though they clearly enjoyed living well, my sense is they didn't have great social ambition. The Social Register of New York, which has many editions online from the earlier part of the 20th century, has many Catholic listees and quite a few Jewish ones, and shows that select clubs were not closed to people of either religion. But the Rothschilds' choices of residence throughout their lives (the Upper West Side, Watkins Glen, East Orange) indicate they didn't opt for the most fashionable addresses they might have. Whether because they weren't interested or they assumed they couldn't, the Rothschilds don't seem to have pursued social status.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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The others you mention were all more or less born into 'Society'; the Rothschilds were not. I've never seen them listed in any social directory, and though they clearly enjoyed living well, my sense is they didn't have great social ambition.
Thanks. But as the 20th century progressed, the name Rothschild became one of those associated with great wealth. Certainly by the 1960s it was so.
 

Brian Ahern

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Thanks. But as the 20th century progressed, the name Rothschild became one of those associated with great wealth. Certainly by the 1960s it was so.
It already was by 1912. Rothschild branches in multiple European countries had received noble titles. But Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild were no relation to that family. A biography of Dorothy Parker that discusses the couple mentions that they enjoyed being mistaken for two of those Rothschilds. I don't know if this is true (some other details of them were got wrong in the bio), but if it is true, I assume it was more that they enjoyed thinking that people were making the assumption rather than perpetrated an active ruse.
 
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It already was by 1912. Rothschild branches in multiple European countries had received noble titles. But Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild were no relation to that family. A biography of Dorothy Parker that discusses the couple mentions that they enjoyed being mistaken for two of those Rothschilds. I don't know if this is true (some other details of them were got wrong in the bio), but if it is true, I assume it was more that they enjoyed thinking that people were making the assumption rather than perpetrated an active ruse.
Yes. I think there has been lots of confusion about which families were which. If the american clan that Martin belonged to was related to the european clan earlier I'm not sure about that. But the american Rothschild's made there fortune independent of the european branch. Martin R. made his own fortune. The Rothschild empire (european branch) today is valued around 400 billion according to Forbes. But I suspect its more than that. It's not so much what you own but what you control. Either way the Titanic's Rothschild's weren't suffering from lack of taco money. They did quite well.
 
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Brian Ahern

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Yes. I think there has been lots of confusion about which families were which. If the american clan that Martin belonged to was related to the european clan earlier I'm not sure about that. But the american Rothschild's made there fortune independent of the european branch. Martin R. made his own fortune. The Rothschild empire (european branch) today is valued around 400 billion according to Forbes. But I suspect its more than that. It's not so much what you own but what you control. Either way the Titanic's Rothschild's weren't suffering from lack of taco money. They did quite well.
Because of the Dorothy Parker connection, Martin's family background has had quite a bit written about it. Every source I've seen says they were not related. I have read that Martin's parents encouraged their chldren to marry outside the Jewish faith, for the sake of lessening the prejudice they might encounter. Martin's brother Jacob married a Protestant. One wonders if Martin marrying a working class Irish Catholic was what his parents would have advised.
 
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Because of the Dorothy Parker connection, Martin's family background has had quite a bit written about it. Every source I've seen says they were not related. I have read that Martin's parents encouraged their chldren to marry outside the Jewish faith, for the sake of lessening the prejudice they might encounter. Martin's brother Jacob married a Protestant. One wonders if Martin marrying a working class Irish Catholic was what his parents would have advised.
That's interesting. Martin's father was an immigrant and probably believed in the idea of america being a melting pot and that was the best way to be part of it and become successful. The european Rothschild's took the opposite track. They were worried about losing their fortunes and married within the family after awhile. I'm not really up on the american family other than I know he had brothers. Whether they were all as successful as Martin I don't know. As for his wife what little I've read it seems they genuinely liked each other. So probably more of boy loves girl than following his fathers advice. I know I didn't take my dads advice on marriage...LOL. Cheers.
 
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