I Survived the Titanic

Edith Rosenbaum's Detailed Account of the Titanic Disaster

Titanica!

I Survived the Titanic

Published a year after the Titanic went down, survivor Edith Rosenbaum Russell’s first extensive account of her experiences in the disaster is seldom read today. With an introduction by Randy Bigham, Encyclopedia Titanica makes Edith’s detailed and emotional story available online for the first time.

Foreword by Randy Bryan Bigham

Famous for surviving the Titanic with a pig-shaped music box in hand, Cincinnati-born Edith Louise Rosenbaum (1879-1975) was a noted fashion journalist, importer and stylist. Today, she is better known as Edith Russell, having changed her last name due to anti-German feeling in the French clothing industry after World War I

Headquartered in Paris with a branch in New York, Edith flitted between her offices, undertaking shopping tours for corporate and private clients while keeping an eye on the latest trends for her own fashion column.

Outspoken and tough-willed throughout her career, Edith was as astute in business as she was as a creative power in the international garment industry between 1908 and 1934. 

Edith’s forcefulness was balanced by a colorful personality that set her apart in the male-dominated dressmaking trade, especially in New York where she went toe-to-toe with executives and fellow reporters, striking deals with the movers-and-shakers in her field while often outsmarting “the boys,” her newspaper rivals. 

Of Hebrew descent, although Christian by faith, Edith found her route to commercial success aided by leading Jewish-American merchants, some of whom already had professional and social connections to her father, Harry Rosenbaum, a wealthy Manhattan cloak and suit wholesaler and real-estate developer.

Edith Rosenbaum Article Cover
The opening page of Edith’s article for Cassell’s magazine

For all her brusqueness, Edith was sensitive to details and thorough in her observations, qualities that served her well in her business relations as well as in her writing. No style nuance escaped her notice in the front-page articles she penned for Women’s Wear Daily, nor did specifics lack in the story of the Titanic disaster that she gave to Cassell’s, a British magazine of popular literature. The story was Edith’s first extensive recounting of the subject.

While she had been interviewed following her rescue by a number of papers, including the New York Times, the first article penned by her about the sinking was the Cassell’s piece, commissioned by editor Sir Newman Flower. It was completed and submitted by the first anniversary of the disaster and appeared in the magazine’s June 1913 issue. Called “The Wreck of the Titanic,” the story was 11 pages and included photos of herself, her lucky pig, the ship and the lifeboat in which Edith found safety.

Although written in a long-winded, stream-of-consciousness style, it’s more emotional than almost anything Edith ever published, and the sense of anxiety and grief that permeates her words at times gives an immediacy that’s palpable even now. In the article that follows, there are misstatements of fact and some exaggerations that have been addressed in endnotes. Nevertheless, Edith recounts the sinking with more accuracy than in some of her later, more widely-known accounts. Also, her experiences in the lifeboat that night and her time aboard the rescue ship Carpathia are more detailed than in any of her other articles.

Since that time, the Cassell’s story has seldom been seen in its entirety, although its contents were used for the many articles Edith authorized in later years when, after the 1955 release of Walter Lord’s best-selling A Night to Remember, she was in demand for newspaper, magazine, TV and radio interviews, becoming one of the most outspoken Titanic survivors in the international media. 

Edith Rosenbaum Dress Pig
Edith Rosenbaum Russell, the dress she had worn on the Titanic and the toy pig she carried into the lifeboat

Even earlier, in 1953, Edith attended a special screening of the 20th Century-Fox film Titanic. There she spoke to the press, including Life magazine, posing with the toy pig she had always kept as well as the dress she had worn the night the Titanic sank. The dress disappeared when her luggage went missing during her journey home from the screening, but the pig resides today, fragile but intact, at London’s National Maritime Museum. 

When Lord’s book became a movie in 1958, Edith was one of the survivors enlisted by producer William MacQuitty to serve as a historical consultant. She also attended the London premiere of A Night Remember as Lord and MacQuitty’s guest.

Although she had led a successful career in fashion, had traveled the world, and was interested in many other fields, it was for being aboard the Titanic that Edith would remain best remembered. 

“I survived the Titanic,” she once said, “but I never really escaped it.”

*          *          *

Were I of a superstitious nature or given to following my instincts, which are very strong, I should never have taken my trip on the Titanic, leaving Cherbourg for New York on April 10, 1912.

In the month of January, when I was in Biskra, Africa, an old Arab fortune-teller, predicting my fortune in the sand dunes, tossing up the grains of sand in the air, held up his hands in amazement, saying, ”Madam will be in a very grave accident!” I naturally discredited this. But for months had felt an impending sense of calamity hanging over me that I put down, more or less, to nervous strain through overwork. Returning to Paris, I booked on the George Washington, which was to leave on the 7th of April. When I found that this wonderful new boat, the Titanic, leaving on the 10th of April, giving me the opportunity of spending Easter Sunday in Paris, would arrive in New York the same day, I therefore cancelled my passage on the George Washington, and decided to sail on the largest and most wonderful boat in the world.

Edith Rosenbaum in 1913
Edith Rosenbaum in 1913

The trip going down to Cherbourg was marked out distinctly by the acquaintanceship started with several very nice ladies in my (train) compartment, one a Swedish lady, two others Americans, who had been cabled to return to America and were overjoyed that they were sailing on this wonderful boat, and a Mexican gentleman, who informed me that he was a member of Parliament in Mexico. We were a merry little party; the fact that all were going on this exceptional ship seemed to draw us together, as everybody was looking forward to seeing the monster boat.1

Arriving at Cherbourg, my premonition of ill was so strong that I was tempted not to take the trip, and even telegraphed to my secretary expressing my fears. We sat aboard the tender for about three hours. I was next to Colonel Astor, with whom I had made the crossing in the spring of the year.2

It was cold and had been raining. Finally a murmur went over the tender, “Titanic sighted!” and the huge tender, which had been specially built for the Titanic and Olympic, as the draught of these boats was so strong that special tenders had to be constructed, sighted what appeared to me like a six-story house. As we drew closer, a most unusual thing occurred. Although the sea was perfectly calm, our tender began rocking in the most violent manner conceivable, throwing the passengers completely off their feet. I turned to a gentleman, whom I afterwards found to be a Mr. Philipp E. Mock, a miniature painter, and said: “Well, a boat that will produce this unusual upheaval in this sea strikes me as dangerous, and I wish to goodness I was not going on her.” 

The Titanic at Cherbourg
The Titanic at Cherbourg

I have often wondered if the peculiar draught of the Titanic, the effect of creating such an upheaval in a calm sea, as witnessed in Southampton and Cherbourg, did not have some effect on the iceberg, attracting same with a sort of magnetic force under water.3

A Presentiment if Ill

We drew alongside the Titanic, the tender pounding against her sides with such violence that I thought she would break in half. The gangplank was held down by ten men on either side, as it jerked and swayed and pulled in every direction. I was the last one to leave the tender; I hated the idea of crossing that gangplank, and no sooner had I got on board than I went downstairs to find out if there was a possibility of locating my luggage, as I wished to go back. I was told that I could go back if I wished, but that my luggage would have to go on to New York. I laughingly answered the baggage master: “My luggage is worth more to me than I am, so I had better remain with it.”4 

I then stood to one side and watched quantities of cooks and bakers carrying huge wooden boxes from the tender onto the Titanic. I asked a steward what it all meant, and he said that they were tinned vegetables of all sorts, and good things for our trip over and the return. He added: “We have a pretty good crowd on board, but this is nothing to what we shall have coming back.” This procession of carrying of food supplies lasted one hour. I never saw so many boxes in my life. 

First Class Dining Saloon
First Class Dining Saloon

 

A Luxury that Appalled

I mounted to A Deck, where my room was located, and found that I had a very large cabin, and that a vacant cabin immediately opposite was assigned for my luggage.5 After the usual bustle and excitement, we drew anchor at, possibly, 8:30 p.m. I went down to the dining-room, where I stood aghast at the size of this boat. Who can describe it? Words are not adequate. The newspaper descriptions which have been given, or anything that has been said, cannot be understood unless actually witnessed. It was almost as if it was too beautiful. The size in itself was so appalling that in looking down the staircase, seeing distinctly five or six different landings, one was seized with an attack of vertigo. It was not a ship; a floating city would be a more apt description. 

The luxury of the boat has so often been described that it would be foolish to go again into detail. My own idea and the effect it had on me can be seen from a letter I wrote to my secretary in Paris, Mr. H. J. Shaw, as follows: -

My dear Mr. Shaw, -

This is the most wonderful boat you can think of; it is a house of about eleven stories, and as long as from corner Rue de la Paix to about Rue de Rivoli. Everything imaginable – swimming pool. Turkish bath, gymnasium, squash court, cafés, tea gardens, smoking rooms, a long room bigger than the Grand Hotel lounge, huge drawing rooms, bedrooms larger than any Paris hotel room; and, altogether, it is a monster.

I can’t say I like it, as I feel as if I were in a big hotel instead of on a cozy ship. Everything stiff and formal, hundreds of help – bell-boys, stewards, stewardesses, ‘lifts’ – but that it is wonderful is unquestionable, but not the cozy shipboard feeling of former years.

“We are now off Queenstown. I just hate to leave Paris, and will be jolly glad to get back again. I am going to rest on this trip, as I am tired, I can tell you. But I cannot get over my feeling of depression and premonition of trouble; I wish it were over.”6

The original of this letter, written on the Titanic notepaper, is in the possession of Mr. Shaw.

The Titanic at Queenstown
The Titanic at Queenstown

The first few days of the trip were uneventful, marked by the usual acquaintances, the promenades on the deck, taking tea in the winter gardens, etc.7 In fact, it was only by looking out to sea that one realized that one was on the ocean.

On Sunday, April 14, the weather was brilliantly fine, but icily cold. I remarked upon the cold to my steward, and said that it was so cold that I decided to stay in bed, as that seemed to be about the only warm place, which I actually did, until four o’clock in the afternoon. The steward explained the cold was due to the proximity to icefields. Getting up and going out on deck, I noticed a large crowd of men gazing at the water which was being thrown from the side of the propeller. It seemed to form a sort of high waterfall, and the strangeness of it all was that the rays of a glorious sun, shining upon the waterfall, reflected blood-red. I might mention that none of this little group was saved.

Most of us were looking forward to getting to New York on Tuesday, as we were told that the boat was making a record trip, and as the sea was calm, scarcely a wave, there seemed to be no reason why we should not make headway, particularly in view of the splendid weather.8

Sunday night, the night of the wreck, there was a gala dinner, the ladies mostly dressed in evening wear, gentlemen almost entirely so. The lounge (reception room) presented a very beautiful spectacle, people sitting about in their evening clothes, the orchestra playing sacred as well as other music. I seem to recall the sight of all this gaily dressed crowd, and contrast this scene with the pathos of the following night on board the S.S. Carpathia.

First Class Lounge
First Class Lounge (Olympic)

About 9:30 p.m. I went upstairs to the beautiful green drawing room (lounge), and started to write letters, and chatted with a little lady from Los Angeles, who told her husband to go to the smoking-room and play bridge, but, above all things, cautioned him under no circumstances to wake her up when he came down for the night. I mention this, though it is only one of the various incidents; needless to say, he did not wake her up, for he was drowned.9

The Ominous Slant

At 11:30, I handed a number of letters to the library steward, telling him I would pay him for the postage stamps the next morning, and took two books from the library to read. The steward called out, “Lights out; it is 11:30;” and we all filed out of the drawing-room. I walked to the end of the boat, and entered my room, which was on the same deck, and about ten minutes after was the first shock of the accident. I was just turning on my electric light when I felt a very slight jar, the second one, which was a little stronger, and a third one a sort of a bang, which was violent enough for me to cling to the bedpost. I remember that I had a sort of feeling that my heart was sinking, and I noticed a very peculiar thing, that the floor of my room had listed almost immediately. It was on a decided slant, and the boat came to a full stop! 

I thrust my head out of my stateroom window, which, as I have said before, was on the upper deck, and noticed a large white mass drifting by. I then put on my fur coat, and ran round to a friend’s room, and said, “Come along, let us go out and see what has happened.” There were only five people on the huge deck when I got out, thus making it seven in all with my friend. We were quickly joined by several others, in various stages of undress. We all looked at this big white mass, and someone said it was an iceberg. I will say that I was overjoyed, because I had always wanted to see an iceberg from the time of my geographical school days. I remember one man saying that icebergs were supposed to be two-thirds more under the water than above, and said, “Great Scott, that must be a corker under water!” 

Titanic Collision Iceberg
The Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 p.m.

We all regarded it as a great joke that we had hit an iceberg, and ran to the forward part of the boat, picking up bits of ice which were scattered about the deck, someone suggesting a snowball fight. Looking down toward the second class, we noticed a number of stokers who were walking across the lower deck to go down below. And we heard in their walking that there was a crunching sound. Someone said, “Why, they are walking on a ground of ice.” Nobody had any fear or thought of danger. The perfectly calm sea and the brilliantly starry sky completely reassured us. The only disagreeable feature was the intense cold, which I can only describe to you by saying that if you were to hold your hand over a solid block of ice you would get an idea of the temperature.

The cold cramped one’s face and hands. An icy coldness! We walked about the deck, and I went up to several officers and asked them what it was all about, and they said, “We have struck an iceberg, but there is no need to worry, and the best thing to do is to go back to bed.” So, after three-quarters of an hour, I decided to go back to bed.

“Lifebelts!”

I started to undress, and was nearly in bed when a young man I knew came to my door and said, “There’s a man saying that there’s an order given out that we are to put on lifebelts.” I said, “What for?” “Well,” he said, “that is the order.” So I slipped on a wrapper, and went out to interview this man, who was trembling and crying and very much unnerved, and said, “We have to put on lifebelts.” I do not remember ever seeing him afterward, and I learnt that he was lost.10 I went to my room, quickly slipped on a dress, just seizing anything that came to hand, and put on a long fur coat, and rushed out into the lounge.11 But before doing so, I did a most unusual thing when I regard it in calmer moments at this late date – that is, I took everything that I had in the room in the way of dresses and threw them into my trunks, shutting up the trunks, and locking them, closing my stateroom windows and shutters. 

I shall always remember the last view of my stateroom – the rosy, soft light of the table lamp, the red reflection of the radiator. Everything so cozy and still: I little thought it was my last look.

Edith's Cabin A-11
A first-class stateroom on A-Deck (Olympic) that corresponds to the layout of A-11.
(Courtesy of Daniel Kilstorner)

In going to the lounge, I passed the open door of the friend’s room who had told me to put on a lifebelt. He said, “Do you think we shall have to leave the boat?” I said, “Certainly not!”

This friend had just purchased a beautiful bulldog in France, and it was whining and moaning. I remember taking it and tucking it under the bedcovers, and patting its head, and then we went to the lounge on A Deck, where I was met by my room steward, Wareham, who was fully dressed in his overcoat and Derby hat.12 He said, “Well, Miss, I am very glad to see you are up.” I replied, “Wareham, do you think that there is any danger, or is this just ‘English rules’ that one has to put on lifebelts?” 

He answered, “It is a rule of the Board of Trade that in time of danger lifebelts must be put on by passengers. Now, I do not think this boat can sink; it is an unsinkable boat. But if it does sink, she can certainly hold out about forty-eight hours.” I said, “What about all my beautiful dresses, knickknacks, etc? Do you think they will transfer luggage?” He answered me, “Now, if I were you, I think I would go back to your room and kiss them good-bye!” I said, “In that case, do you think this boat is going to sink?” and he answered, “No one thinks anything; we hope.”

I had been given a toy pig, a musical pig, as a mascot by my mother – the pig is a symbol of luck in France – as I had just escaped from a fatal motor accident.13 I said, “Well, don’t you think it would be a good thing for me to keep my mascot with me?” He said, “Yes, it would be rather a good thing,” and ran down the corridor, which seemed to be on a slant, for, as I said before, my room was way up to the front of the boat, and I afterward found out that it was immediately under my room that the boat had been pierced.14 He brought me back my pig, and the people around me more or less smiled. I only tell you this because no one felt any sense of danger.

Edith's Luck Pig Mascot

After Wareham gave me my mascot pig, I never saw him again, but I remember his wistful remark, “I hope we get out of this alright. I have a wife and five little kiddies at home.”15 The stewards – in fact, all the employees of the Titanic – were a fine lot of men and women, all glad that they were transferred from the Olympic, where nearly all of them had served.16

An order was then given out, “All women will kindly go to the boat deck – women only.” I went up to the boat deck, and remember seeing men standing about. An order was then issued, “Women will please return to A Deck.”  Again, I stood around, wondering what it all meant. The order was then given, “Women, go back again to the boat deck.”17 Frankly, I did not know what it meant, so I went into the lounge and sat in an armchair. There were four or five gentlemen seated around, and one of them said to me that he heard they had launched five lifeboats. 

“Surely there is no danger,” I said, and he answered, “No, but the English are a great people for rules and regulations. They are the greatest sticklers for this sort of thing.” I replied, “If it is only a question of rules and regulations, I do not propose to go out on that deck and freeze to death.” Just then, I spied an officer, and said to him, “Tell me, Mr. Officer. Shall I leave in a lifeboat? Is there any danger?” to which he answered, “I do not think there is any immediate danger, but this boat is damaged, and she certainly cannot proceed to New York. She may be towed into the nearest harbor. We expect the Olympic along in the next two or three hours. She will take the passengers off and proceed with them, but there is no immediate danger, as she is an unsinkable boat, and, madam, you can use your own judgement in the matter.”18

An Incongruous Contrast

“All women must go back to the boat deck,” came the order. And as I did so, I noticed what seemed to me about one hundred white-clad bakers come up the steps with loaves of bread as big as a man. I remember laughingly remarking that this looked like a carnival at Nice.

Portrait of Eleanor Widener
Eleanor (Mrs. George D.) Widener

I remember seeing a lady weeping in a corridor, holding a hand of a man beside her. I said, “Don’t cry; there isn’t the slightest danger. These are but rules and regulations of the Board of Trade” – as this was my firm conviction. She answered, “You are a brave woman. I wish I had your faith.” I saw her aboard the Carpathia. The lady’s name was Mrs. George Widener, who lost both son and husband.

A young man threw a lifebelt over my shoulders, untied, just hanging loosely. I had searched my room for one, but was too unnerved to find it. Had I had to put it to a practical use it would have been of no avail, as it was simply flung on, not even tied. I then went out on the boat deck and stood in a direct line of sight with Mr. Bruce Ismay, who had on a white night shirt, open at the neck, no hat, and a pair of trousers. He was standing in the doorway. A number of men were on either side, and banked up in a solid wall along the side of the ship on the top deck.19

The Terror of the Boats

Mr. Ismay called out, “What are you doing on the boat? I thought all women had left the boat. What are you doing here? If there are any more women on the boat, come over to this staircase here.” I walked over to Mr. Ismay who pushed me swiftly down a narrow iron staircase, which led between the boat deck and A Deck. 

J. Bruce Ismay
J. Bruce Ismay

When I got to A Deck, there was a narrow, cleared passageway made by the sailors, through which I passed, and two burly sailors caught hold of me, attempting to throw me head foremost into the lifeboat. 

But when I noticed how far the lifeboat was swinging from the side of the deck, I may say that I was very much frightened - in fact, to such an extent, that my feet seemed to be rigid and my slippers dropped off, and I screamed to these men, “Do not push me in. You frighten me!” And they replied, “Well, if you do not go, if you do not want to go, you had better stay.” I looked about the deck, found my slippers, seeking a buckle which had dropped off, put them on again, and stood looking over the side at the lifeboat, which, it seemed to me, was completely filled up. 

Just then, at my left, a rather quiet voice spoke and said, “Madam, if you will just put your foot on my knee, and put your arm around my neck, I will lift you to the rail, and from there you can jump into the boat with less danger, and you will be less frightened.” I turned to this young man and said, “Would you go, really, if you were me?” He answered, “Yes, without a doubt.”

The queer part of this coincidence is that the man who helped me into the lifeboat was the gentleman to whom I had addressed the remark on the tender, “I am afraid of this ship,” etc.

Lowering the lifeboats
Edith’s lifeboat was No. 11

I jumped into the lifeboat, holding my mascot pig in my arms, and this gentleman, Philipp E. Mock, leapt in afterwards, and the order was given to lower away. In jumping, I had fallen into the bottom of the boat, and struggled into an upright position, and our boat swung slowly down to the water’s edge in dead silence with the exception of the hoarse screams of the few men we had in our boat, who cried out, “Shove her off! We shall be sucked in!” etc., etc., and for a few seconds we did not know whether we should be drawn under by the suction of the boat, or whether we would clear safely.20

We then struck out and, looking up from the water’s edge, the Titanic seemed the biggest thing in the world.

All seemed calm and still, the reflection of the lights on the water, passengers leaning over the rails, strains of music filling the air, nothing to indicate the horror of the next hours. A great deal has been said about the screams in the water, but I personally heard none.21

After striking out, our first thought was to look for a lantern, as we feared another lifeboat might collide with ours. We had one mate, three cabin stewards, young fellows, in our boat, which consisted chiefly of third-class women passengers, and seven babies, fatherless and motherless, the Turkish bath stewardess22, my room stewardess, and six first-class passengers. I remember some of them seemed very seasick, and the babies were perpetually crying. As the boat was filled up on one side, it was impossible to swing the oars on both sides, so three single oars were in use on one side. Only the stewards paddled, as it were. I was seated on the gunwale between two oarsmen, and I caught the stroke of the oar either on the chest or the back, alternating with each stroke. The search for the lantern continued through the greater part of the night, also a compass was in demand, or matches, or food.

Titanic Sinking
An unknown artist’s rendering of the Titanic sinking

Our boat was No. 11; some claimed it was the ninth, others claimed the sixteenth, to be launched.23 I remember as we were steering and looking at the bow light of the Titanic, which shone bright green on the starboard side, it appeared to me to be getting nearer and nearer the water. We had left the steamer at about 1:45.24 About 2 o’clock, one of the stewards rowing in the boat made the remark, “She won’t hold out much longer.” I did not quite realize what he meant, but heard him say to the other stewards, “Try and get a good stroke on the boat, and get away from the Titanic, or she will suck us in.”

Gradually, the green starboard light dropped closer to the water’s edge, and it seemed to me that the stern of the boat stood on end. About 2:10 o’clock, green rockets were fired from the upper deck of the Titanic, this its last call for help and mercy.25

At 2:20, I saw the green light disappear into the water. It seemed as though the stern of the boat, fully lighted up, stood up in the sky, suggesting one of our skyscrapers, so high did the outline mark the skyline. It then seemed to shoot or dive into the sea. There was a heavy explosion underwater, then a second, then a third, and we were surprised to note, instead of suction, the effect was contrary; it pushed us outward.

Perfect silence. Preceding the sinking of the boat, there was a large cry as if emanating from one throat. The men in our boat asked the women to cheer, saying, “Those cheers that you hear over on the big boat are because they have all got into the lifeboats and are saved!” And, do you know, that we actually cheered, believing that this great shout that went up from the Titanic was one of thanksgiving. Somehow or other, the tragedy and the reality did not seem to sift into our brains.

No Loss of Life Suspected

A woman crying in the lifeboat provoked my replying, “Madam, there is no loss of life on the Titanic, so don’t cry.” Of this I was firmly convinced. The next day I had no one to mourn, having only casual acquaintances on board, but suffered extreme financial loss. But having no loss of friends, one could not be insensible to the suffering of others.

Titanic Lifeboats
Georges Scott’s painting of the Titanic’s lifeboats

The only sense of danger that we actually felt was the fact that during the searching for the lantern one of the cabin boys crept over our feet in the overcrowded boat, lighting matches, and throwing them, half burnt, amongst the few blankets that had been tossed into the bottom of the boat. We women begged him not to do this, as we feared fire, but he did not seem to have any fear of fire, although he was terrorizing most of us. I also remember urging two of the rowers to please not smoke cigarettes, as we would perhaps need the matches later on - and also, if the bits of burned tobacco flew amongst the flammable clothing of the women and children, it would be dangerous.

The Danger in the Darkness

The man answered me, “This is the third wreck I have been in in my life. If I get out of this one, I intend to be a milkman back in the old country; no more sea for me, and as for giving up smoking this cigarette, we might as well have a little pleasure before we die. We have no water, no light, no bread, no compass, and here we are in mid-ocean likely to be struck by some floating berg. We certainly have little chance.” This was not very reassuring news to half-hysterical women and children at 3 a.m. in mid-ocean.

I was keeping an accurate account of time, as I had a bracelet watch on my wrist. At the stern of our boat, the mate, who was in semi-command, had found a bit of rope.26 This he would light for a few minutes, and then dip over into the water to extinguish it. His idea was that by flashing this light, it would perhaps attract the attention of some other boat from the Titanic, and let them know that we were near, and at the same time keep other boats from running us down. As he only had a small bit of rope, he had to be economical, as although the night was starry, it was absolutely black, and one could not see any distance at all.

We noticed a light on the horizon toward which we were rowing; this light seemed stationary, and the more we rowed, the further it seemed. Finally, the intense cold which precedes dawn settled upon the waters. Only those who have had night watches of any kind can realize the peculiarly penetrating chilliness of this half-hour which divides night from morning. We were absolutely freezing. One poor steward, who had nothing on but a nightshirt and a pair of trousers, was nearly frozen. We reached into the bottom of the boat and wrapped a flannel blanket around him, and in doing so found a stowaway, a stoker who had thrown himself into the bottom of the boat.

Carpathia Arrives
Colin Campbell Cooper’s picture of the Carpathia rescuing Titanic survivors

At dawn, I observed a bright light on the horizon, and told the young lad who was rowing in front of me. He said, “Madam, do not get imaginative. There is no light, and there won’t be any light. It’s no use looking for good things when none are coming.” I again assured him, and several of the passengers sitting around directed their eyes toward the horizon, as I was positive that I saw a yellow and red light, one above the other. As my eyesight has always been faulty, that is being too far-sighted, I had the superiority of this defective eyesight by being the first in our boat to see the lights of the Carpathia.

As she loomed up over the horizon, brilliantly lit up, she seemed huge, and we imagined it was the Olympic, and we were very much frightened, recalling the suction of the Titanic at Cherbourg. We thought the Olympic, were it she, would suck us under.

In the darkness, we struck out with our poor equipment of three oars for the skyline. At sunrise, which was beautiful and clear, so beautiful that one did not realize that anything could be wrong, we discovered that huge pieces of ice were drifting near us, and we had the horror of picturing that these pieces of ice would bear down and crush us before we could arrive where rescue seemed probable.

I may say that the hours from dawn until 8 o’clock, when we got alongside the Carpathia, appeared more like a dream. No one talked, in fact no one paid attention to anybody, all eyes were focused on the Carpathia. We did not know what the name of the steamer was until we got very close to her, as when you are low down in the water it is very hard to distinguish these details. As we drew closer to the Carpathia, we noticed from various directions other lifeboats making for her, and as we got alongside we saw five lifeboats drifting about her which had already been emptied. Therefore, we were the sixth to arrive.27

Lifeboat 11 Unloading
Lifeboat 11 alongside the Carpathia unloading occupants
(Courtesy of Günter Bäbler)

They threw ropes to us, to steady our boat, and just then the collapsible boat in which sat Mr. Ismay came up, colliding with our boat, and for a moment or two, it looked as if both boats would be swamped. We gradually managed, however, to push ourselves away, and the collapsible waited its turn alongside. The sea was beginning to spring up, as up to now the uncanny stillness of the water was supernatural, but as we were about to be rescued our boat began to roll and toss alongside the Carpathia. The first person to leave our boat was a little baby. All the babies struggled and fought, and as for the little boy he certainly did not want to leave the lifeboat.28 The women were told to sit on a small wooden bench, a rope tied in the seat and knotted above the head. We were told to close our eyes and put one hand above the other, on the rope, above our heads, and hold on tightly. This we did, and were pulled up with tremendous rapidity into the open side of the Carpathia, scraping the sides of her body with our knees. It was quite an undertaking. Loving hands were held forth to receive us, and officers quickly cut the lifebelts which up to now most of us had been wearing.

Wireless

The first thing I did after boarding the Carpathia was to make my way to the wireless station, where my message was refused by the operator, as messages had to be deposited in the purser’s office. But this trip to the wireless station afforded me an opportunity of meeting the operator who could not get over his joy at having been able to locate the distress call of the Titanic. By his account he was overtired, and preparing for bed, when he heard this call, thinking it a practical joke of some operator. Finally, when it got insistent, he answered, with the result that all know. As I had no money, I borrowed some from a gentleman, and late in the afternoon my Marconigram was sent out.29 A roll call was called soon after to ascertain names of survivors as nearly as possible.

Telegram
Edith’s telegram to her mother

On approaching the Carpathia, I had noticed the flag at half-mast, thus giving me my first indication of loss of life.

Aboard the Carpathia, we stood about the deck waiting for the various lifeboats to come alongside. After sixteen came, about 9 o’clock in the morning, we drew up anchor and steamed.30 The agony of the survivors awaiting their loved ones was indescribable.

The Californian stood alongside and we signaled to her to stay about the scene of the wreck and pick up whatever passengers, etc., she could. We were all under the impression that the Californian had as many aboard her as the Carpathia, none of us dreaming the full extent of the disaster. There was nothing to indicate the horror of the night before, except a slight discoloration of the water, as if it were a brown stream. Bits of straw, wood, etc., were floating about, banks of ice extended as far as the eye could reach, and made one think one was off land, so thick and so vast were the ice banks. The huge peaks sticking up out of the water made me think of the mountain peaks ones sees pointing out of the Italian lakes, with the exception that these were snowy white. The day was brilliantly sunny, and intensely cold, but ordinarily would have been enjoyable. 

Lifeboats Approach Carpathia
Lifeboat 14, towing collapsible D, approaching the Carpathia.

After we had been under headway for about three quarters of an hour, the ship slowed down, and a Catholic priest who was aboard the Carpathia murmured a prayer while six bodies of sailors who had been taken on board and had died from exposure were buried at sea.31

We then continued our journey. It was pathetic to witness the little groups of motherless, widowed, fatherless – in fact, the most abject misery on all sides, although everyone was buoyed up with the hope that perhaps the men got off on rafts, or were in some way saved, as none of us would, or could, believe that all these gallant men were at the mercy of that cold sea.

The few rooms which were to be had were given over to the Titanic passengers, and the dining room tables were brought into requisition, on which blankets were placed, and a great many of us made these our beds for the three nights we spent on board.

Terror upon Terror

One of the incidents that has not yet been brought forth, but which was startling in its peculiarity, was that at eleven o’clock on Monday night, April 15, two of the brightest flashes of lightning that I have ever seen in my life ripped the sky, and two thunderclaps shook the boat. We Titanic survivors rushed on deck, thinking that we had escaped one death for perhaps one worse. We found, however, that it was the beginning of a storm, and we were fog-bound until we reached New York Harbor on Thursday night.

Carpathia Deck Scene
Titanic survivors aboard the Carpathia

We crept slowly along, and the days seemed weeks. I would like, for a few minutes, to tell you of our life on the Carpathia, and of the things we did.

To while the days away, resolutions were drawn up of thanks, etc., funds were got up for the poor of the steerage, and various anecdotes were told. One, which was extraordinary, was the fact that two gentlemen had bought a newspaper on the morning of our arrival in Queenstown, April 11, and this paper had predicted that the Titanic would not make a safe journey, dwelling upon the fact of her accident at Southampton. One of these surviving gentlemen happened to have this very article in his pocket, and gave it to us to read. Needless to say, a great many of us, had we read this article, would have left the boat at Queenstown – I, for one, certainly.

Another strange incident was that of a Mr. Speddon [sic], who told me that after the Titanic had drawn the S.S. New York from her moorings in Southampton, he went downstairs and studied what the lifesaving equipment of the ship was, finding that although she was able to carry 3,600 passengers, she was equipped with twenty lifeboats. He said that he made the remark to his wife, “If any accident should occur to this boat, let us all stand together; there are five of us, and let us get out of it in a lifeboat, as there are insufficient boats provided.” He little knew how soon he would be called upon to do as he thought, but Mr. Speddon saved his entire party by his forethought.32

The Death of a Heroine

One man told us he had kissed his brother-in-law good-bye and jumped into the sea, as his brother-in-law could not swim. He swam in the icy water for about an hour before being taken up by a collapsible boat.33 These collapsible boats had been launched without the corks in the bottom, so they rapidly filled up with water, and his pathetic story of how he and others had to stand up all night, balancing the boat from side to side, as there was water in it and they could not sit down, was heartrending. 

Edith Evans c.1909
Edith Evans
(Courtesy of Kalman Tanito)

A young woman stood in front of him - by some thought to be Miss Evans, of Boston, the young woman who so nobly gave up her seat so that Mrs. Brown, the mother of children, could be saved.34 She stood in the icy water as long as she could. Finally, she said to this man (Mr. Rheims, of Paris),35 “I cannot stand up any longer. I must sit down.” He said, “We must stand up and sway our bodies so as to keep this boat from sinking. I cannot assist you, but if you sit down you will be drowned.” The poor girl stood it as long as she could; finally, her head dropped closer and closer to the water until she was submerged. Mr. Rheims told me she lay a dead weight on his feet for over an hour. Finally, the wash of the waters carried her out of the boat. The poor young woman had died.

Numbed by the Disaster

The assistant wireless operator was saved in this collapsible boat. Both he and Mr. Rheims were brought on the Carpathia with their legs frozen to the hips.36

Also, the crow’s nest man Frederick Fleet, who insisted on the fact that he had signaled the bridge three times, “Ice ahead!” added to the general misery, as everyone said, “Why hadn’t care been taken?”37

Frederick Fleet
Frederick Fleet

The thrilling tales of unconscious heroism were too numerous to relate. Sons who kissed their mothers good-bye, husbands who bade their wives wait for them at breakfast, the scenes of the men and women rushing to the morgue and hospital on board the Carpathia, and the various incidents, as I recall them, are infinitely pathetic, even to relate.

At the time, it did not seem to me so dreadful, but, somehow or other, after a great tragedy one’s sensibilities seem to be numb, and it is only now, after twelve months, that the full pathos and heroism sifts into my mind. One incident of a little lady who had broken her arm on the steamer, handing her husband a jewel-box containing over ₤10,000 worth of jewels for him to keep in his pocket as she went off in a lifeboat, fearing she might lose the jewels owing to her broken arm, proves how very little realization of the true danger we women had, or the men for that matter.38 Another went back to lock away her pearl necklace.

Fortunate, perhaps, for all that we had no true idea of the danger, as it would have added to the horror.  As it was, the women leaving the boat thought they were simply carrying out the rules and regulations of the Board of Trade, not knowing they were carrying out the higher dictation of a mightier hand. Everyone believed the boat “unsinkable.”

The late Col. Gracie came up to me on board the Carpathia and told me that Mr. J. Clinch Smith had jumped with him from the top deck, and that he had been carried up by the explosion, but that he does not remember seeing Mr. Smith after striking the water. At that time, he told me, what a tremendous shock it had been to him that, a year before, his little daughter had been crushed in an elevator in Paris. He then said, “And now my manuscript, the fruit of my labor for years, has perished on the Titanic. I am too stunned to get over this.” Within six months, Col. Gracie was no more.39

Jacques Futrelle
Jacques Futrelle

Mr. Jacques Futrelle, the novelist, was one of the most pathetic cases. In her own words, Mrs. Futrelle, his wife, said, “Jack and I were sweethearts in our childhood. We married when he was twenty and I was eighteen. We have had eighteen years of complete happiness. My forte is writing love stories. How can I go on writing romances when the only romance I ever had in my life now lies at the bottom of the sea?”40

I do not care to go on describing the pathetic side of this awful calamity, as many of my readers are familiar with this side, although the far-reaching effect can never be reckoned. It is one of those dreadful lessons that one wonders why mankind has been dealt such a blow.

A Short Shrift for “Scoop” Hunters

To return to our journey on the Carpathia: on Thursday, toward the latter part of the afternoon, as we were nearing New York, the newspaper boats clustered around us, shooting their dynamite explosives to take flashlight photographs of our boat, unnerving us even more than we already were. Capt. Rostron proved what a fine man he was by crying out through his megaphone that he would shoot any man who tried to get off on the newspaper boat, or any man from the newspaper boat who tried to board our boat. These newspaper boats came so close to us that they nearly damaged the Carpathia. They would cry out, “Anybody on board got a photograph to sell? Anybody on board any MSS (manuscripts), etc., etc.?”

Just an hour before landing in New York, an evening paper was brought aboard; the Evening Express, I think it was. I was greatly startled to read my name amongst the missing, knowing that this would be a great shock to my parents and friends, if they were under this impression.

The Greeting at New York

Gradually, going up New York Harbor, with its brilliantly lighted-up buildings, the solemn tolling of the bells, the booming of the cannons, most of us had our first realization that we had passed through a great crisis, a dreadful disaster.

We had not given up hope, but hearing this solemn reception, we felt that it was a greeting of sorrow, not of joy.

I may say that the four days I spent aboard the Carpathia were acutely uncomfortable. The sight of food choked me, and lemonade and tea formed my principal diet. To realize the luxury of a toothbrush, and brush and comb, one must do without them for four days, and having no bed is a hardship for one unaccustomed to that. To while away the time, the women made clothing out of the available blankets, and even towels were cut up for infants’ clothes.

The Carpathia docked in New York
The Carpathia docked in New York

As we drew up alongside the Cunard dock, leaving the gangplank we were told to stand in the partitions under the initial of our last name. I will never forget the sight of that dock; it seemed as if thousands of people were there, but there was an intense stillness, the stillness of death. I immediately went to the letter “R,” where I was assigned, laboring under great excitement, as having read my death notice, I did not know whether any of my family were ill from shock, whether I would be met or not. I stayed in “R” for some ten minutes, piteously crying and asking someone to telephone my family. Finally, not being able to stand the suspense any longer, I ran forward up toward the gangplank, and there found my family, who had assembled there, thinking they would see me sooner. It seems as if there had been conflicting reports; in some papers I had been reported dead, in others saved.

In all this intense excitement, one would occasionally hear shrieks or sobbing. Only the actors in this tragedy will realize what it meant. Outside, it was drizzling and raining, and one could hear the tolling of the bells and booming of the cannons. As we emerged from the dock to the street, vivid flashes of light and loud explosions showed that the flashlight man was near.

What followed all the reading public know. This is simply a chronicle of one survivor who looks back. The horror of the accident, the lasting impression, and the lesson which it gave to each of us will never be forgotten.

This ends my chronicle of events, but the Titanic memory is a thing which assumes gigantic proportions as time goes on – instead of lessening, it grows more vivid and more terrifying.

If one could feel that this sacrifice of life were not in vain, that steamship companies, rather than make their record trips, were to give to each passenger his or her right to a place in a lifeboat, if one could feel that this would lead toward a lasting benefit, one would say “Amen” to this tragedy of the high seas, but it is to be doubted.

Great credit should be given to the engineers of the Titanic, as they were, to me, the true heroes of that night, for they stuck to the ship, keeping the lights going to the last. The chivalry of these officers was exquisite, as they, and they alone, realized the danger. I will never concede that the greater part of the male passengers knew of the danger, but thought that the Olympic or some other boat would be arriving shortly to take us off. But now that they have died, let them be at rest, and at least have their share of the “Heroes’ Halo,” as God knows there were many heroes aboard.

It seems to me the lesson of the Titanic is a lesson to mankind in general. That the biggest boat in the world should be sailing on a perfectly calm sea, hitting an iceberg and sinking into the depths after two hours, seems scarcely credible – and sunk where no man’s hand will ever reach her again.

Edith Clothes Pig 1912
Edith Rosenbaum in the clothes she wore when she escaped the Titanic

Another thing that will always stand out to me is the fact that these little lifeboats, equipped with no oar, some of them manned by women with very feeble strength, were able to survive the night, and this alone being due to the fact that the sea was perfectly calm. It seemed to me that the All Powerful Hand of God struck out toward mankind, reproving us for trying to be greater than nature, and then for some unknown reason protected the 710 survivors of over 2,600 passengers who boarded the ship.41

It was a never to be forgotten night!

Notes

  1. The Swedish woman Edith met on the train was almost certainly 55-year-old Sigrid Lindström (Mrs. Carl Johan Lindström) who was on her way from Stockholm to visit friends and family in New York.  The two American women in the compartment with Edith were probably actress Dorothy Gibson, 22, and her mother, Pauline, 45. Edith’s late reservation coincides with the last minute booking of the Gibsons who were cutting short an Italian vacation to return to America following an April 8 telegram from Dorothy’s producer boyfriend Jules Brulatour. He had told her she was needed at their studio (Éclair Films) to complete a series of new movies. (Randy Bryan Bigham, Finding Dorothy (2012), p. 51) Manuel Uruchurtu Ramirez, 39, was the Mexican politician with whom Edith spoke on the train. All in the group survived except Uruchurtu.
  2. Edith may have been recalling an earlier trip in which she sailed with John Jacob Astor because when the couple left America on their honeymoon it was in the winter of 1912. (Washington Post, Jan. 25, 1912) Edith was still abroad at that time, as she even mentioned earlier in this article. Edith’s front page fashion column in Women’s Wear Daily (Feb. 8, 1912) was also datelined Tunis, Algiers, Jan. 27. 
  3. In mentioning Southampton, Edith is referencing the near collision of the Titanic with the SS New York which happened as the Titanic left Southampton Harbour. (L’Illustration, April 20, 1912, p. 316)
  4. Edith also spoke of her apprehensions to White Star Line agent Nicholas Martin who had made the trip with passengers on the Cherbourg tender. (Untitled manuscript, dated April 11, 1934, p. 1, Lord-MacQuitty Collection, National Maritime Museum; Ladies’ Home Companion, May 1964, p. 91)
  5. Edith’s stateroom was No. 11 on the forward starboard side of A Deck. A-11 was an ordinary first-class cabin, perhaps larger than on other ships but was certainly not “very large.” (Untitled manuscript, dated April 11, 1934, p. 4, Lord-MacQuitty Collection, National Maritime Museum)
  6. In later accounts, Edith mentioned Shaw’s first name was “Horace.” (Untitled manuscript, dated April 11, 1934, p. 2, Lord-MacQuitty Collection, National Maritime Museum; Moustique, Oct. 12, 1958, p. 9)
  7. The “winter gardens” Edith mentioned are most likely the Verandah Café and Palm Court on A Deck. (L’Illustration, April 20, 1912, p. 317)
  8. Although many passengers said they heard rumors of a record-breaking run, their assumption that the Titanic was hoping to win the Blue Riband was incorrect, according to historians George Behe and Don Lynch. Behe said while no major transatlantic record was being attempted, the Titanic may have been “trying to better the maiden voyage crossing time of her sister, the Olympic.” Lynch added that to have beaten the Mauretania for the Riband, the Titanic would have had to arrive two days ahead of schedule “and she certainly wasn’t capable of that.” (Randy Bryan Bigham, Finding Dorothy (2012), p. 55)
  9. The woman with whom Edith spoke was Virginia Clark whom she later remembered by name. (Moustique, October 26, 1958, p. 14)
  10. The man did survive. His name was Robert W. Daniel. Edith recalled his name when she was interviewed shortly after the sinking. (New York Times, April 23, 1912)
  11. Edith wore a brown dress, two fox stoles, a long broadtail fur coat and a wool cap. (Unpublished transcript of interview with John Maxtone-Graham, dated Aug. 1970, p. 10, Titanic Historical Society archives)
  12. Robert Arthur Wareham, called “Bob,” was 37 at the time of the disaster.
  13. Edith’s car accident occurred in France on Aug. 22, 1911, killing one man and injuring three others, including Edith. (Women’s Wear Daily, Aug. 22, 1911; Le Figaro, Aug. 22, 1911)
  14. This is untrue. Edith’s cabin was located on the top deck for passengers’ cabins. The damage sustained from the collision with the iceberg was below the waterline. (Don Lynch, Titanic: An Illustrated History (1992), pp. 92-93)
  15. Edith corresponded with members of the Wareham family after the disaster, including one of Robert’s sons, Cyril Wareham, with whom she was in touch until the end of her life. (Letter to Edith Russell from Cyril Wareham, April 29, 1974, Titanic Historical Society archive; letter to Cyril Wareham from Edith Russell, May 15, 1974, Titanic Historical Society archive)
  16. Some of the crew had served on the Olympic but not all or most of them. For example, Walter T. Brice, a seaman who would escape in the same lifeboat with Edith, had served on the White Star Line ships Majestic and Oceanic. (US Senate Inquiry: Day 7, April 26, 1912) 
  17. Edith was recalling the confusing orders given by Second Officer Herbert Lightoller on the forward port side of the Titanic’s boat deck at around 12:30 a.m, April 15. Women were ordered to A Deck to board lifeboat 4 but it was soon discovered the promenade windows were closed at that location. Soon afterwards, the ladies were ordered back to the boat deck, then ordered down again to A Deck where boat 4 was eventually loaded and launched. (Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955), pp. 84-85)
  18. The identity of this officer, if the crewmember with whom Edith spoke was an officer, is unknown. Many passengers claimed to have spoken to officers. Undoubtedly, some of these exchanges were with other members of the crew, possibly stewards.
  19. When Edith finally went up on the boat deck, taking the grand staircase, she came out on the forward starboard side, which was largely vacant by that time (about 1:25 a.m.), most of the forward lifeboats having been launched. Edith walked aft, passing an open gate separating first and second class deck space, at which point she was spotted by J. Bruce Ismay who was standing near an enclosure that housed an iron stairway leading to A Deck. These were the steps down which Ismay directed Edith. My thanks to Céleste Laframboise for pointing out to me on the Titanic’s deck plans where this fateful encounter occurred.
  20. Edith may have been describing the concern expressed by crewmembers who were trying to keep away from the ship’s condenser from which water was gushing out near lifeboat 11 when it touched down in the sea. They managed to row clear of the discharge, but the wash from this shaft of water later caused boat 13 to drift underneath the next boat that was lowering, boat 15, which almost came down on top of it. (Seaman Walter Brice testimony, US Senate Inquiry: Day 7. April 26, 1912; Steward Donald McKay testimony, British Board of Trade Inquiry: Day 9, May 16, 1912; Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 219)
  21. It is unclear what Edith meant when she said she didn’t hear screams in the water. It seems she was saying there weren’t people in the water prior to the ship sinking which is largely true. The cries of people aboard the Titanic in its last minutes and in the sea after it sank are too well documented to dispute. (Don Lynch, Titanic: An Illustrated History (1992), p. 142)
  22. The Turkish bath stewardess was Maude Slocombe, 30, who recalled a woman setting off what she thought was an alarm clock in boat 11. (Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955), pp. 125-126) This was almost certainly Edith’s toy pig which played a little tinkling tune when its tail was wound, a song called “The Maxixe.” In her Cassell’s article, she doesn’t mention playing the song but she did in later accounts. Edith said she twisted the pig’s tail to play the tune in order to quieten the crying children in the boat. (Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955), p. 123; Moustique, Oct. 26, 1958, p. 14; Ladies’ Home Companion, May 1964, p. 96)
  23. Of the 18 lifeboats lowered that night, boat 11 was the 11th boat launched and of the four boats on the aft starboard side, it was the second lowered. When boat 11 left the ship, there were only three lifeboats left on the aft boat deck and eight left in all, two of which were never properly launched. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 196)
  24. Boat 11 was lowered at approximately 1:35 a.m., 45 minutes before the Titanic sank. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 196)
  25. No green rockets were fired, only white rockets that exploded into various colors. And the last distress rocket was fired before 1:45 a.m. which is when boat 2 was lowered, carrying Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, who had been firing the rockets. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), pp. 196, 220) Green flares were, however, fired from lifeboat 2 later that morning. (Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955), p. 131; Don Lynch, Titanic: An Illustrated History (1992), p. 110)
  26. Quartermaster Sidney Humphreys was nominally in charge of lifeboat 11 but the actions Edith described were those of Seaman Brice who took an active role in the boat and later testified at the American Titanic Inquiry. (Seaman Walter Brice testimony, US Senate Inquiry: Day 7. April 26, 1912)
  27. Lifeboat 11 is believed to have arrived at the Carpathia at about 7 a.m., April 15, so the lifeboat with which it collided, if this occurred, was not the boat carrying Ismay as his boat (collapsible C) was picked up at around 5:45 a.m. Boats 14 and 16 arrived just before and after boat 11. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 252)
  28. The little boy lifted first out of boat 11 may have been Trevor Allison, then almost a year old. (Don Lynch, Titanic: An Illustrated History (1992), p. 161) 
  29. Edith’s initial cable announcing she was aboard the Carpathia was reported on the front page of Women’s Wear Daily on the morning after the disaster. (Women’s Wear Daily, April 16, 1912). A second wire was received two days later. (Women’s Wear Daily, April 18, 1912). The original document of a third wire, sent the same day, survives today in a private collection; it reveals the words “Lost all” were crossed out and the following sent instead: “Safe Carpathia. Notify mother.”
  30. There were 20 lifeboats in total on the Titanic, but only 18 made it to the Carpathia. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 196) 
  31. There were four bodies of Titanic passengers and crew that were buried at sea by the crew of the Carpathia on the afternoon of April 15. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 256)
  32. This was Frederic Oakley Spedden, 45, traveling with his wife, son and two employees.  Edith also recalled the Spedden family in the series of articles she wrote for the French press. (Moustique, October 26, 1958, p. 14)
  33. This was George Alexander Rheims, 33, and his brother-in-law Joseph Holland Loring, 30.
  34. Edith Evans, 36, was traveling with family and friends, including Caroline Brown, 59, with whom she approached one of the last lifeboats launched, believed either to have been boat 4 or collapsible D. Evans told Brown to get in first. In trying to follow her, she was unable to climb over the bulwark and headed for the next boat. (New York Herald, May 25, 1912) Thanks to Don Lynch for sharing this reference.
  35. George Rheims.
  36. The Titanic’s second wireless operator, Harold Bride, did survive on one of the collapsible boats but it was not swamped collapsible A, in which Rheims survived, but upturned collapsible B. (Walter Lord, A Night to Remember (1955), p. 117)
  37. Lookout Frederick Fleet, 24, escaped in lifeboat 6 of which he had been placed by Second Officer Lightoller to assist Quartermaster Robert Hichens. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), p. 208)
  38. The woman who fractured her arm was Renée Harris, 35, wife of the Broadway producer Henry B. Harris, 45, who died in the sinking. Renée was actually very concerned about the situation and only forgot about her jewelry due to the anxiety of leaving her husband and the pain in her arm which she had broken earlier in the day of April 14. Renée left in the last lifeboat launched, encouraged by her husband and Captain Edward J. Smith, 62. (Liberty, April 23, 1932, pp. 26-27, 29) 
  39. The manuscript that Gracie, 53, lost was for his recently published book The Truth About Chickamauga (1911), concerning an American Civil War battle. (Jack Winocour, ed., The Story of the Titanic As Told by its Survivors (1960), p.  121)
  40. As Jacques and May Futrelle married in July 1895 they had been married 16 years by April 1912. (New York World, April 16, 1912)
  41. There were 2,208 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic, of which 1,496 died and 712 survived. (Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt, On a Sea of Glass (2012), pp. 269, 272, 320)

Acknowledgements

My thanks to Philip Hind for hosting this article on Encyclopedia-Titanica.org and to the following friends and researchers who helped with images and proofing, shared advice and answered questions: Gregg Jasper, Céleste Laframboise, Shelley Binder, Tad Fitch, Bill Wormstedt, Don Lynch, George Behe, Daniel Klistorner, Ioannis Georgiou, Gṻnter Bäbler, Kalman Tanito, Michael Beatty, Olivier Mendez and Mike Poirier. Also, thanks to the following archival sources: National Museums, Northern Ireland; Butterfield, Butterfield & Dunning; Titanic Historical Society; National Maritime Museum; Corbis-Bettmann; Philip Weiss Auctions; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; National Museum of the US Navy.

Bibliography

Bigham, Randy Bryan, Finding Dorothy, Raleigh, NC: Lulu Pres, Inc., 2012.
Fitch, Tad, Layton, J. Kent and Wormstedt, Bill, On a Sea of Glass, Gloucestershire, Eng: Amberley Publishing, 2015.
Harris, René, “Her Husband Went Down With the Titanic,” Liberty, April 23, 1932, pp. 26-32
L’Illustration, “La Catastrophe du Titanic, April 20, 1912, pp. 311-317ff.
Lord, Walter, A Night to Remember, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1955.
Lynch, Don, Titanic: An Illustrated History, New York: Hyperion/Madison Press, 1992.
Russell, Edith, “I Was Aboard the Titanic,” Ladies Home Companion, May 1964, pp.88-97.
Russell, Edith L., “J’ai Survécu au Naufrage du Titanic,” Moustique, Oct. 12, 1958, pp. 5-9; Oct. 19, 1958, pp. 5-9; Oct. 26, 1958, pp. 12-15. 
Winocour, Jack, ed., The Story of the Titanic As Told by its Survivors, New York: Dover Publications, 1960.

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Edith Louise Rosenbaum

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) I Survived the Titanic (Titanica!, ref: #149, published 10 May 2020, generated 5th July 2020 01:27:11 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/i-survived-the-titanic-edith-rosenbaum.html