Encyclopedia Titanica

Mrs. G. D. Widener to Marry Dr. Rice

New York Times

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South American Explorer to Wed Widow of Titanic Victim in Boston on Oct. 14

Her Memorial Gifts

Philadelphia Society Woman Noted for Her Beauty and Jewels

Dr. Rice's Scientific Achievements

Special to The New York Times

BOSTON, Mass., Oct. 5---Mrs. George D. Widener, widow of the Philadelphia traction magnate who sank with the Titanic, will be married in Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston, next Thursday to Dr. Alexander Hamilton Rice, the noted explorer, despite emphatic denials from Mrs. Widener made at the time she attended the dedication of the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard last Summer.

The facts of the approaching nuptials became known here tonight after a visit of Dr. Rice to Boston today, in which he filed marriage intentions, preparatory to securing a marriage license. Dr. Rice came here at noon from Newport, where he had left Mrs. Widener. When asked if he and Mrs. Widener were to be married, his reply was, "Well, I am inclined to do things quickly."

In his application for a marriage license Dr. Rice gave the name of his bride-to-be as Leonora Elkins Widener. He hurried back to Newport by an afternoon train. Subsequently a close friend of the doctor authorized the announcement that Trinity, the fashionable Episcopal church of the Back Bay, would be the scene of the wedding, at an hour undetermined, next Thursday.

The engagement of Mrs. Widener and Dr. Rice was reported last August, during the height of the season at Newport, when Dr. Rice was a house guest at Mrs. Widener's new villa, but was emphatically denied at that time, both by Mrs. Widener and Dr. Rice.

Mrs. Widener was Miss Eleanor Elkins, daughter of the late William L. Elkins, before her marriage to Mr. Widener, who was lost, with one of his sons, in the Titanic disaster. Mrs. Widener was among the survivors, and after her husband's death she rebuilt as a memorial to him St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church at Ogontz, near her home in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

She is noted for her beauty, and is said to possess one of the finest collections of jewels in the world. One string of pearls which Mr. Widener gave her for Christmas in 1909 was said to have cost $750,000. It was to present to the London Museum thirty silver plates which Nell Gwyn once owned that she and her husband went abroad in the Spring of 1912.

Her husband was the son of Peter A. B. Widener of Philadelphia. Besides the son Harry E., who died with his father, she had two children, George D. Widener, Jr., and Eleanor Widener.

Dr. Rice is well known for his explorations in South America, at home, and abroad. He received bachelor and medical degrees from Harvard University and was graduated from the Royal Geographical Society's School of Astronomy and Surveying, class of 1910. He is 40 years old.

It was to Harvard University that Mrs. Widener gave the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, as a memorial to her son, which will house the valuable collection of books left by her son. The library will have a capacity of about 2,300,000 volumes.

Dr. Rice has published works on his explorations, which include expeditions in Ecuador in 1901, through Venezuela and Colombia to Bogota in 1906, along the Uapes River in 1907-1908, and further explorations in the northwest Amazon basin in 1911-113. For his scientific achievements on these expeditions he received the Patron's Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Gold Medal of the Harvard Travelers' Club.

At one time, in 1907, it was feared that he had perished in the wilderness at the headwaters of the Orinoco River.

He was in London when Colonel Roosevelt returned from South America, and when the Colonel's claim of having discovered a new river was being published broadcast, he declared that the claim was "unintelligible." He asserted that there was no such river as the one the Colonel described.

Later Dr. Rice wrote the former President a letter in which he retracted his criticism, and said that the Colonel's "fair, lucid, and interesting narrative dispelled completely the topographical points in dispute."


Mark Baber, USA


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Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) Mrs. G. D. Widener to Marry Dr. Rice (New York Times, Wednesday 6th October 1915, ref: #2727, published 6 April 2004, generated 23rd January 2023 11:46:39 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/mrs-g-d-widener-marry-dr-rice.html