Miss Edith Louise Rosenbaum, 33, was born to a wealthy Jewish family. She was the only daughter of clothes manufacturer Harry Rosenbaum, and his wife Sophia. Harry had been born in New York to parents that had emigrated from Bavaria, Germany. He and his wife settled in Cincinatti, Ohio, where Edith was born on 12 June 1879.
Edith moved to Europe to work in journalism. A return visit in 1907 was reported by the press when her mother climbed aboard a liner to meet her daughter who was suffering from tonsilitis.
In 1911 it was reported that Edith had been hurt and the driver killed in an automobile accident in France, later reports suggested she had not been hurt and the driver only injured.
In 1912 Edith was reporting on French fashions at Paris' Easter Sunday races and decided to return to the states on the Titanic.
She boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg (ticket 17613, £27 14s 5d) and occupied cabin A-11.
She wrote the following letter to her secretary back in Paris which she posted from Queenstown.
My Dear Mr Shaw:
This is the most wonderful boat you can think of. In length it would reach from the corner of the Rue de la Paix to about the Rue de Rivoli.
Everything imaginable: swimming pool, Turkish bath, gymnasium, squash courts, cafes, tea gardens, smoking rooms, a lounge bigger than the Grand Hotel Lounge; huge drawing rooms, and bed rooms larger than in the average Paris hotel. It is a monster, and I can't say I like it, as I feel as if I were in a big hotel, instead of on a cozy ship; everyone is so stiff and formal. There are hundreds of help, bell boys, stewards, stewardesses and lifts. To say that it is wonderful, is unquestionable, but not the cozy ship-board feeling of former years. We are now off Queenstown. I just hate to leave Paris and will be jolly glad to get back again. Am going to take my very much needed rest on this trip, but I cannot get over my feeling of depression and premonition of trouble.
How I wish it were over!
Yours sincerely, Edith
Edith had tried to get insurance on her numerous amounts of luggage and belongings but was told the ship was unsinkable so insurance was unnecessary.
When undressing for bed, Sunday night, Edith felt a slight jar followed by a much stronger second impact. As she was on the starboard side, she could see the berg glide by her window.
After a time of confusion and indecision, she had her steward retrieve one treasured possession from her stateroom. A small toy pig covered with white fur. Winding its tail caused it to play a piece called the Maxixe. She eventually left the Titanic on lifeboat 11.
The tune played by Edith Russell's toy pig.
World War I provided Edith with the opportunity to become possibly the first female war correspondent as she spent time in the trenches with the troops. She adopted the name "Edith Russell" after World War One.
She travelled extensively during her life, weathered other catastrophes including car accidents, tornadoes and even another shipwreck, and attempted without success to find a publisher for her account of the Titanic sinking.
In her latter years she lived in a hotel in London where she became increasingly eccentric and disagreeable. Her final years were spent threatening lawsuits against everyone who committed what she perceived as transgressions against her, from hotel maids to those who delivered food to her. She lived in filthy surroundings in her hotel and rarely allowed hotel maintenance/janitorial employees to do any cleaning. Upon her death a maid commented to a London reporter that "Old Edy was the contrariest old hag what ever crossed my path."
She died in London on 4 April, 1975 at the age of 95, never having married and leaving only a couple of scattered cousins as survivors. Edith was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, London, England on the 9 April 1975 the whereabouts of her remains is unknown.