Victor Robbins

Kevin Barrett

Member
Aug 14, 2006
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Hi,

I just joined this site (just posted in "Introduce Yourself" a few minutes ago) and I thought I'd get my research going right off the bat! I'm interested in learning more about Victor Robbins, who was John Jacob Astor's manservant. There's TONS of info about Astor, but I've found next to nothing about Robbins.

The reason I'm asking is that I'm fascinated by the idea of what might have transpired between these two men after the lifeboats had left. They both watched their wives sail away. Did they maintain there master/servant relationship? I just saw a quote from a newspaper that says that Robbins brought Kitty, Astor's aerdayle (sp) to him. Other accounts I have read said that Astor was the one who freed the pets, but perhaps it was Robbins? Also, Astor was carrying cash and papers on him that indicate (at least to me) that he expected to survive. So they just might have continued their former roles.

I realize that what happened after the lifeboats left would be almost entirely speculation, but if I can learn enough about those involved, maybe I can put together some decent speculation. :) Was Astor a good boss or a bad one? What I've learned of Astor so far leads me to believe he probably didn't inherit the first JJ Astor's mean streak, but how does that bear on a relationship with a servant? And what was Robbins like as a manservant? He was apparently with Astor for at least five years.

Anyway, this might turn into a play, or a portion of one. Or something else entirely, you never know!

Thanks for any help you can provide!
 
J

João Carlos Pereira Martins

Guest
Hi again Kevin!

I'm very interested in the servants too, not particulary in the Astor's, but I tried to find info in Google about the manservants and valets aboard Titanic, with few results.

Regarding your questions and doubts, I think there was no much to do besides wait after all the boats were gone. Colonel Astor and Robbins were perfectly conscious about the danger of the situation and they knew the ship was going under. I never saw any records of valets atemping to escape in boats and apparently the majority of them maintained the dignity until the very end.

I read some statements (I can't indicate you were I found them) which proved that Astor was looking for his Airedale after putting Madeleine safe, and there are rumours that was he who opened the kneel. Or perhaps was Robbin, we will never know. I'm sure he stand at least all the time with his boss, so as many of them.

Your last question is quite pertinent: I must say he hardly had a familiar relationship with Astor. He was just a valet, not a secretary serving the family for decades, and his job consisted in serving Astor and satisfying his desires. The society were very rigid at this time and a servant should know the proper position and the rule number one was not to interfere in the family's intimacy. They had just to stand, quite and calm, and obey the orders. Robbins had to be a good servant, they were all, if not he would be fired at once.

About Astor as a boss:well, he appears to be a decent man, and I remember you he was one of the few male passengers who helped filling the boats and he stayed back as a gentlemen did, promising to take care of Master Carter's dog when they got separated (Lightoller would not accept a pet so late in the sinking). As far I'm concerned, this opens a window which represents his personality.

Sorry not to be of greater help to you.

Regards, João

P.S: I only have to correct one thing you posted. Although Robbins was married in fact, his wive was not on board.
 

Kevin Barrett

Member
Aug 14, 2006
4
0
71
Hi João!

Thanks for your thoughts and insight. And you're absolutely right about Robbins' wife not being on board; I don't know what I was thinking. :)

I had read previously that Astor freed the pets, but I was beginning to wonder if that was apocryphal, like the reports that his body was found crushed and covered with soot. I recently read three eyewitness accounts that clearly dispute that.

Having read the newspaper account that Robbins brought Kitty to Astor, it occurred to me that he might have been the one who free the pets.

Anyway, I'm trying not to draw any conclusions yet, just learn as much as I can and try to sort out the truth from the myth for now!

Thanks again!