TITANIC SURVIVOR, NATIVE, DEAD AT 98

Cincinnati Enquirer

LONDON (AP)--Edith L. Russell, one of the last of the survivors of the Titanic disaster, died in a London hospital Friday night, friends announced. She was 98.
   Miss Russell was a native of Cincinnati.
   She said once that she was saved because a sailor, finding her reluctant to leap into a lifeboat, snatched her lucky stuffed pig and threw it in. She couldn't bear to give up the toy and jumped in after it.
   Miss Russell, a writer, fell ill about 10 days ago and entered the Mary Abbott hospital.
   She had lived in a London hotel room for years.
   She died only 10 days before the 63rd anniversary of the Titanic disaster. The great liner, said to be unsinkable, was holed on its maiden voyage by a giant iceberg in the North Atlantic and went down April 14, 1912, with the loss of 1,513 lives.
   There were 711 survivors. Now only four are left alive to remember the world's greatest peacetime disaster at sea.
   Miss Russell, her memories of the night still vivid, said in an interview three years ago she was the next-to-last of the survivors to leave the sinking liner.
   Legend has it that the ship's band kept playing as the liner sank. But Miss Russell said: "There was no music, just terrible screaming."
   She said the stuffed pig, which had a built-in music box, was given her for good luck after she survived a car crash in France.
   "When the Titanic was sinking and they were getting us into the lifeboats I couldn't jump in because I was too nervous and my dress was too tight," she recalled. "In those days, girls wore ankle-length dresses."
   "The lifeboat was several feet away from the rail and 14 stories above the water. They told me to jump and I said,    "What do you think I am, a monkey or an acrobat?"
   "I was clutching the pig. A sailor threw it into the lifeboat and I said 'That does it. I'm going after it.' Then I was able to jump."
   She still had the pig when she died. "People come from all over the world to touch it for good luck," she said.
   She was the only child of a wealthy Cincinnati merchant and led an adventurous life as a traveler, Paris fashion writer and World War I correspondent.
   "I'm accident prone," she said. "I've been in shipwrecks, car crashes, fires, floods and tornadoes."
   "I've had every disaster but bubonic plague and a husband."
[Page 17, Col. 5]

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Copyright © 1996-2019 Encyclopedia Titanica (www.encyclopedia-titanica.org) and third parties (ref: #301, published 28 August 2003, generated 19th July 2019 12:07:56 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item-301.html