Encyclopedia Titanica

Alice Herman

Alice Herman 
Alice Herman
(Courtesy of Judith Kunze

Miss Alice Herman was born in Galhampton, Somerset, England on 6 December 1887 1.

She was the daughter of Samuel Herman (b. 1862), a butcher, and Jane Laver (b. 1861). Her father was born in Somerset whilst her mother was born in India to British parents. They were wed in early 1887 and Kate became one of only two children born to the couple. Her only sibling was her twin sister Kate.

Alice first appears on the 1891 census living with her family at 4 Abbey Cottages in Castle Cary, Somerset and would still be at this address by the time of the 1901 census. The family later moved to Smallways, Castle Cary and Alice was shown on the 1911 census still residing with her parents.

For several years her father was the proprietor of the Britannia Hotel in Castle Cary. Although a financially comfortable family, the past year had seen a slump in their fortunes in England and it was decided that they would emigrate. Originally booked aboard a different ship, they cancelled their voyage to allow more time to prepare. Alice, her parents and sister and her father's young employee and surrogate son George Sweet boarded the Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 220845 which cost £65) and were bound for her uncle Arthur Laver who was living in Bernardsville, New Jersey where he worked as a steward of the Somerset Hill Country Club.

Alice Herman

On the night of the sinking Alice, her mother and sister were in bed when the collision occurred but reported not much of a shock. Her father, who had been on deck, returned to the cabin and told them not to fear and to stay in bed as it was bitterly cold. He went to investigate and soon returned, ordering his wife and daughters to dress and they headed to the boat deck where the ladies are believed to have departed in one of the aft boats.

Her father and George Sweet were lost in the sinking and their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.

In New York, she and her family were met by her uncle Arthur Laver and his associate William David Cleland. The party journeyed to the Somerset Hill Country Club in Bernardsville where they were interviewed by The Bernardsville News.

William David Cleland, a horse trainer from Peapack, New Jersey, had been born in Scotland on 24 February 1882 2. He and Alice were wed in 1913, initially living in Gladstone, New Jersey before settling at Larger Cross Roads in Bedminster, New Jersey where Alice would live for the rest of her life and where they ran stables. She and Cleland had four children: Muriel (1915-2006, later Mrs Harry Harris), William "Jack" (b. 1916), Norman (b. 1918) and Basil (1920-1993). For a while she nursed her mother in her final years. Alice rarely spoke about the Titanic, even to her family.

Alice was later afflicted with late-onset diabetes and died from complications in Somerset Hospital on 23 March 1947 aged 59. She was buried in St Bernard's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Bernardsville. Her widower William died in 1961.


  1. Birthdate frequently erroneously listed as 6 December 1888.
  2. Birthdate not certain. Census records indicate an 1882 birthdate and his WWII registration draft card gives the date as 24 February 1882. His WWI registration draft card gives the date as 21 February 1875.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer At Port Of Arrival (Date: 18th-19th June 1912, Ship: Carpathia) - National Archives, NWCTB 85 T715 Vol 4183
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
The Bernardsville News, 26 April 1912
The Castle Cary Visitor, May 1912, Titanic Disaster
The Bernardsville News, 27 March 1947, death notice

Research Articles

Michael A. Findlay Voyage (2005) The Herman Family
Titanica! (2018) Twins on the Titanic
How many sets of twins were on the Titanic

Newspaper Articles

Newark Evening News (19 April 1912) JERSEY DEATH ROLL DETAILS
Newark Evening News (20 April 1912) SAY LIFEBOAT COULD HAVE HELD TEN MORE
Newark Evening News (24 April 1912) Tells of Her Financial Loss
Newark Star (25 April 1912) Jersey Woman Lost Fortune on Titanic
Bernardsville News (26 April 1912) SURVIVORS OF THE GREAT DISASTER
New York Times (16 January 1937) MRS. JANE L. HERMAN
Bernardsville News (27 March 1947) MRS. WILLIAM D. CLELAND
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Comment and discuss

  1. Jill Carlier

    Can we verify the herman twins birthday? Day and year are different on here.

  2. Ash (2611)

    Did Alice Herman have a job at any time?

Reply Watch Thread

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Alice Herman
Age: 24 years 4 months and 9 days (Female)
Nationality: English
Marital Status: Single
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 220845, £65
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 23rd March 1947 aged 59 years

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