Encyclopedia Titanica

J. Bruce Ismay, 74, Titanic Survivor

Ex-Head of White Star Line Who Retired After Sea Tragedy Dies in London

New York Times

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Ex-Head of White Star Line Who Retired After Sea Tragedy Dies in London
LONDON, Oct. 18 (AP)---Joseph Bruce Ismay, former chairman of the White Star Line and a survivor of the Titanic disaster in 1912, died here last night. He was 74 years old.

Mr. Ismay was a passenger on the White Star's great new liner when she set out for New York on her maiden voyage. When she struck an iceberg and went down, 1,635 persons, most of them men, perished.

A commission of inquiry, investigating the disaster, found there was no foundation to assertions that third-class passengers had been unfairly treated when the lifeboats were filled. The commission's report stated Mr. Ismay was aboard the liner as an ordinary passenger and that he had no control over actions of the crew. The report described how he had helped many women and children into the boats, remaining aboard the stricken vessel until no women or children were visible on deck. Several women testified he had helped them.

However, Mr. Ismay, who had been one of the outstanding figures in the shipping world, resigned as chairman of the White Star Line the year after the Titanic sinking. He retained a few directorships in shipping companies, but lived thereafter in semi-retirement except for a short period during the World War, when he was chairman of the War Risks Board.

He is survived by his widow, who was Miss Julia Florence Schieffelin of New York. They were married in 1888.
Mr. Ismay was born in Liverpool in 1863. His father, the late Thomas Henry Ismay, had amassed a $40,000,000 fortune as head of the White Star Line, which the son inherited. He, too, became head of the steamship line after being educated at Elstree and Harrow and after spending five years apprenticed to the British mercantile service.

He donated $50,000 to the pension fund for widows of seamen on the Titanic shortly after the disaster, and in 1924 inaugurated the National Mercantile Marine fund with a gift of $125,000.

Mr. Ismay died without making any further public statement on the Titanic or his conduct than that which he told the Senate committee and Lord Mersey's Board of Trade investigations.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) J. Bruce Ismay, 74, Titanic Survivor (New York Times, Tuesday 19th October 1937, ref: #3977, published 18 October 2004, generated 21st January 2023 08:05:24 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/ismay-obituary.html