Why did Edith Evans stay on the ship?


Mar 20, 1997
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Even though this may have been discussed at length already, I am still interested in any theories people on this forum regarding Edith Evans and her decision not to board Collapsible D. One of the prevailing theories put in many publications, that she saw only one seat remaining and allowed Mrs. Brown to take it, doesn't seem to hold up as it becomes clear the boat was nowhere near filled. Mr. Steffanson, Woolner and Hoyt had no trouble finding seats once they made their unorthodox entrances by jumping and swimming.

The other reasons given have been her misinterpretation of a fortune teller's warning to stay away from the water, or simple intimidation of having to climb over the bulwark railing. One other avenue I'm curious about is alluded to by Col. Gracie in that when he began ushering Ms. Evans and Mrs. Brown over from the starboard side, there were three other women who followed them. Could they possibly be the three Irish passengers, listed as being aboard D on the web site? I can easily imagine them wandering the decks, not finding a boat but then seeing two First Class women and thinking that if they stayed close by, they would all be guided to safety. Could Edith Evans have delayed getting on the boat, so they would have a chance at getting seats? Most of these questions could probably not be answered conclusively, but I imagine people have some interesting ideas.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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I'm inclined to agree with Gracie. He thought Edith simply lost her nerve for a moment and would have got in the boat if a man had helped her over the rail. (Gracie had been stopped from seeing her to the boat himself) To make matters worse, somebody told her that another boat would be put down for her, meaning one of tthe collapsibles on the deckhouse.
 
Dec 13, 1998
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Dear Arthur and Dave, there is another little 'mystery' regarding Mrs Brown and Miss Evans. Mrs Brown would later mention a few incidents re her escape from the ship, and she describes what happened in and near boat No 4 only (I have only seen one interview, this has to be admitted), which would imply that Miss Evans didn't go in boat No 4 rather than boat D. Boat 4 had several empty seats as did indeed boat D (Lightoller still didn't fill his boats to anywhere near capacity at this late stage). I can't vouch for the accuracy of Mrs Brown's account, however; but her interview adds another problem here....

Best regards,

Peter
 
E

eturner

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I was wondering are their any photographs of Edith Evans in existance ???? it's such a pity that with all the lifeboats that left the ship that night she never entered any , she would of had plenty of chances , also one more question I
have read in several books that 4 first class ladies perished that night Mrs Allison , Mrs Straus , Miss Isham and Miss Evans this seems to stand to reason but , in other books I have read that 11 first class ladies perished which is correct ??
Ed
here in Great Britain
 

Mike Herbold

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Dec 13, 1999
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If you're talking strictly females travelling first class who perished, you would have to count Mrs. Allison AND her two year old daughter, Helen Lorraine Allison. So that would make a total of five. Otherwise, you've listed them all, so eleven would definitely not be correct.
 
Mar 20, 1997
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I have an idea of where 11 female passengers perishing in 1st Class were originally listed. The source of this inaccuracy is from the original list released in 1912 which was published in the back of Walter Lord's "A Night to Remember"

In addition to Mrs. Strauss and Allison and Loraine Allison and Ms. Evans and Isham, five of the maids (who were all listed with their employers as "and maid") were also not listed in italics, which signified survivors.

The five involved in this erroneous listing were the maids working for: Mrs. Carter, (Augusta Serraplan), Mrs. Hays, Mrs. Penasco (Fermina Olivia), Mrs. Douglas (Berthe LeRoy) and finally Mrs. Cardeza. In the latter case, not only was Anna Ward incorrectly listed as lost but so was the Cardeza's manservant, Gustave Lesneur. In almost all these instances, the maids not only survived but went on to live long lives.

These inaccuracies could have happened in the chaos of the immediate aftermath on the Carpathia. The employers of three of the five maids had lost their husbands and by the time the Carpathia's purser came to take down their names, they may have already sent their maids off to seek out their husbands and in their shock and grief neglected to note their servants' names for placement on the survivor list.

It is understandable that with suddenly having to note down the names of hundreds of survivors that mistakes were bound to happen. In Second Class there were also erroneous listings for several of the women. While Edith Brown is listed as surviving, her mother is listed as having perished with her husband, as was Mrs. Del Carlo, while Mrs. Anna Lahtinen who in fact perished was listed as a survivor.

There were more numerous errors in the original Third Class lists, such as victims Brahim Youseff and Nourelain Boulos being listed as survivors while the two children of Mrs. Katherine Peter were listed as victims. In the latter case, Mrs. Peter may still have been frantically searching for her son so the purser may have been unable to verify his survival as well as that of her daughter.
 
Mar 20, 1997
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An addendum:
The 11th "female" 1st Class victim listed would certainly have been George Goldschmidt, whom in the original list was noted as Mrs. George Goldschmidt.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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As mentioned in my post under the Straus heading I think it's possible that Miss Evans was "unable" to board the lifeboat, maybe because of cumbersome clothing. One would think that a crewmember or male passsenger standing by would have taken notice of this but in all the confusion no one may have. I think she very likely panicked a bit at the height she saw she was at above the water or by the width of the gap between the deck & the gunwale of the lifeboat. Added to these factors, if Miss Evans, like other first class ladies (including Miss Rosenbaum & Mrs. Harder) was wearing a "hobble" skirted outfit, which was the prevailing fashion, such a costume would doubtless have hindered any attempt at mounting a railing unassisted.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Mike,

No - I don't think Mrs. Harder had anything published. I was only mentioning her in reference to her wearing a hobble skirt - she is clearly wearing one in the Carpathia deck photo w/ her husband and Mrs. Clarke/Mrs. Beckwith (I believe there's some discrepancy as to who the other lady is)

Randy
 
D

Dennis Foley

Guest
Arthur: I met Frank Goldsmith at the '73 Convention and remember asking him about Edith Evans (there have been previous discussions about him and his mother having escaped in Collapsible C instead of Colllapsible D. Not to "muddy the waters" here, but it was clear to me and those other THS members who were close-by and listening to Frank answer my question that he and his mother escaped in "D", not "C". He clearly pointed out the port side of the ship and showed us the path that the boat rowed away from Titanic!!) Anyway, Frank said that he remembered a woman left standing on the deck (Evans) and stated that for some reason, she "couldn't" (I distinctly remember his usage of that word) get in the boat. I have always taken that to mean that there was some kind of PHYSICAL encumbrance at that moment, and not a "decision" by her to remain behind. For what it's worth!! Regards, Dennis
 
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James Philip Scribner

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Although it may very well be that Edith Evans had some anxiety about boarding the lifeboat unassisted and perhaps hoped for another boat to become available, it remains difficult to believe that she could not have overcome this anxiety and ensured her own survival on the sinking ship had she chosen to do so. If she had any suspicion that there might not be enough lifeboats for everyone, I can easily imagine her using such things as boarding difficulties and hopes for another boat simply in order to give herself the "Christian fortitude" to go through with a decision to sacrifice herself in order to ensure that if anyone was unable to be seated, it would not be due to her taking a seat from them.

Given the capacity of human beings to commit suicide even over relatively petty and mundane matters, the ability of this human being to sacrifice her life for genuinely heroic purposes should really not be that difficult for us to understand and accept. I don't need my Psychology degree to tell me that.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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I personally feel there's no evidence to suggest Edith Evans stayed behind with the purpose of dying. It's a possibility but I tend to believe it was a mishap of some sort.

Her words to Mrs. Brown have been romanticized a bit. When she said "You go first; you have children," I suspect she did not mean she was not going to follow her.

I feel she intended doing so but was thwarted by the height of the rail or the gap between the deck and the lifeboat or some something that frightened her or impeded her. There must have been a great deal of confusion as this last boat was putting off and from the accounts of those who were there at that point, there was quite a crowd men pressing in close.

It has been suggested in past posts that the fact of so many people being nearby ought to have ensured her assistance in boarding had she chose but for some reason known but to her she did not want to and left.

I am not convinced of this theory. My own hunch is that the density of the crowd blocked out what dim light there was left on deck at this late stage and that it was this which prevented a clear view for many who might have come to Edith's aid, had they seen she was having difficulty. As it was, I contend, she was not noticed in the shadows, being one form among many, and so as the sailors lowered away she lost her nerve and fled.

There seems no proof that she wanted to drown and so deliberately stayed behind. Of course mine is only one opinion.

Like so many who are intrigued by this mysterious woman who disappeared into the crowd that night, I feel for her and wish I could know what happened to her.

I think, perhaps unconsciously, we all wish we could have helped her. But we have the benefit of hindsight and know what she could not have known when she gave up her chance to board boat D. We know she was walking into death.

We all want to turn her around and place her safely with her friend but it was not to be. God had his own plan - which was that she be one of the many he called home that night.

We will probably never know why Edith Evans missed her opportunity to be saved and so we just keep wondering. But I bet she'd be touched if she could have known that strangers so many years in the future would be thinking of her.

Randy
 

Arun Vajpey

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I apologize for rejuvenating a 20-year-old post but I have started to try and research into the reasons why Edith Evans did not survive that night. To my mind, her death is even more mysterious than that of Ann Isham; unlike Mrs Isham, Edith Evans was on a A-deck cabin and was seen with the three sisters from Cabin C-101 later during the sinking and for some reason never made it into any lifeboat.

Also, I have checked every one of the Titanic books and articles that I have and there is very little mentioned about Edith Evans during the voyage before the accident. About the only mention is that she was one of the 4 women - the other three being sisters Charlotte Appleton, Caroline Brown and Malvina Cornell - to whom Gracie had offered his 'services'.

One of the things I found surprising is that being on Cabin A-29, Evans would have realized that something was seriously wrong fairly early. She was travelling alone and so one would have expected her to turn up near one of the earlier lifeboats but no one appears to have seen her till later.

I would appreciate any new information about Edith Evans on the Titanic that is not mentioned in the books.
 
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Thomas Krom

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1626686731681.png

Although this doesn't relate to the mystery serounding her death, in 2001 James Cameron send one of his ROV's down to the forward staterooms on A-deck. Sadly all the wooden walls have been eaten away but all the white painted, Cot brass bed (which were supplied by Hoskins and Sewell) of the outboard staterooms (which were bolted on the floor) are still in their same place as they were in 1912. This is a screenshot of A-29 her brass bed, which was Miss Evans her stateroom. The in-board staterooms had oak Cot beds and are sadly eaten away.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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There are about 4 pages of useless 'information' about Edith Evans in Judith Geller's book Titanic: Women and Children First. Like with most other subjects covered in it, there is a lot of author's fantasy with little fact that cannot be found in other sources. Geller speculates how Evans must have found the ship's magnificence, how warm and snug she must have been when the accident happened, how she watched the ship's lights disappear one by one and the floor giving way beneath her etc. All very well if Geller was writing a fictional poem about Edith Evans but worthless if one is after hard facts.....or at least 'soft' facts as told by survivors.
 
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Cam Houseman

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There are about 4 pages of useless 'information' about Edith Evans in Judith Geller's book Titanic: Women and Children First. Like with most other subjects covered in it, there is a lot of author's fantasy with little fact that cannot be found in other sources. Geller speculates how Evans must have found the ship's magnificence, how warm and snug she must have been when the accident happened, how she watched the ship's lights disappear one by one and the floor giving way beneath her etc. All very well if Geller was writing a fictional poem about Edith Evans but worthless if one is after hard facts.....or at least 'soft' facts as told by survivors.
Something I've always wondered, was what stopped her from getting in? In Gracie's book (could be ANTR, its been a while since I've read it.) its described as an unseen obstacle. What do you think prevented her from getting into Collapsible D, Arun?
View attachment 77359
Although this doesn't relate to the mystery serounding her death, in 2001 James Cameron send one of his ROV's down to the forward staterooms on A-deck. Sadly all the wooden walls have been eaten away but all the white painted, Cot brass bed (which were supplied by Hoskins and Sewell) of the outboard staterooms (which were bolted on the floor) are still in their same place as they were in 1912. This is a screenshot of A-29 her brass bed, which was Miss Evans her stateroom. The in-board staterooms had oak Cot beds and are sadly eaten away.
They were bolted? Neat. Somehow A-25's Brass Bed has considerably slid aft, to be touching where the wooden wall would be.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Something I've always wondered, was what stopped her from getting in? In Gracie's book (could be ANTR, its been a while since I've read it.) its described as an unseen obstacle. What do you think prevented her from getting into Collapsible D, Arun?

Why Edith Evans did not get into any lifeboat is a real mystery. Being in an A-deck cabin, she would have realized fairly early that there was trouble and I have read that by 12:25 she and the 3 sisters were aware that the ship was badly damaged and was likely to sink. But none of them got on board an earlier lifeboat despite being an all female group and it was not until 01:45 that Charlotte Appleton and Malvina Cornell left on Lifeboat #2. Caroline Brown stayed behind briefly with Edith Evans but left on Lifeboat #4 (I now believe that Mrs Brown was saved on Lifeboat #4 like she claimed and not on Collapsible D like Gracie thought).

IMO, the above suggests that the delay might have been due to Edith Evans' reluctance to get into a lifeboat and her companions might have spent time trying to persuade her to change her mind. I cannot comment on the truth about the "beware of the water" story but the fact that her family had lost relatives in the 1854 wreck of the Arctic and her own survival of the 1888 blizzard in which over 400 people died might have had something to do with it. My guess is that Charlotte Appleton and Malvina Cornell eventually gave up trying to persuade Edith and left on Lifeboat #2 while Caroline Brown stayed a few minutes longer before departing on #4. That parting seems to have been a deliberate act by Edith Evans (her telling Mrs Brown to go ahead as she had children etc) which suggests that the latter was rescued on Lifeboat #4. On the other hand, AB William Lucas' statement about the 2 women near Collapsible D almost 15 minutes later and whom he was unable to help points to one of them being Edith Evans.
 
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