Encyclopedia Titanica

Elizabeth Jane Anne Rothschild

Elizabeth Jane Anne Rothschild
Elizabeth Jane Anne Rothschild

Mrs Martin Rothschild (Elizabeth Jane Barrett)1 was born on 10th February 1858 in Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, New York, the fifth daughter of James William Barrett (an English born innkeeper) and his Irish born second wife Mary2.

Elizabeth Barrett (a devout catholic), was married to the New York clothing manufacturer Martin Rothschild (a Jew) by Father Gallagher at Holy Name Church, New York City, on 2nd June 1895. Martin Rothschild was the uncle of writer and poet Dorothy Rothschild, later Dorothy Parker (1893-1967).

The couple, who were childless, lived at 753 West End Avenue, New York but travelled extensively.

They boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as first class passengers (Ticket No. PC 17603, price £59 8s).

Mrs Rothschild was rescued in lifeboat 6 along with her Pomeranian (one of three dogs that were saved from the Titanic). The dog had apparently gone undetected during the loading of the lifeboats, and during the night as no survivors remembered the canine until the morning of rescue. When the lifeboat came alongside the Carpathia, crew members at first refused to take Mrs Rothschild's dog. She protested that she would not leave the lifeboat until her dog was placed safely in her lap. She held the dog and was hoisted aboard the Carpathia. It was not highly publicized that Mrs Rothschild's dog had been rescued - largely due to the fact that her husband had gone down with the Titanic. The fate of the dog remains a mystery, descendants of Mrs Rothschild claim that it was killed in New York during a fight with another dog, while Argetsinger and Ellison (1995) record that the dog was killed under the wheels of a carriage amidst the confusion at the dock after arrival in New York.

Every summer she would return to Watkins Glen to stay in house she kept there (at the northeast corner of Porter and Eighth) and to visit relatives, she was always driven around town in a large, black Packard - complete with chauffeur. Residents of Watkins Glen remembered that while Mrs Rothschild lived comfortably, she never forgot those who less fortunate. She was extremely generous with her money and was especially fond of children. She frequently dressed in black (mourning her lost husband) but always wore a smile that was unmistakable. She was accompanied in later years by a female companion named Mary Walsh. Descendants recall their Aunt Lizzie coming for thanksgiving dinners with Ms Walsh and a small dog in tow.

Her brother Thomas Barrett became a Roman Catholic priest and was active at St. Mary's of the Lake Church, Watkins Glen, New York in the 1920s. When he came to live with Elizabeth in East Orange, New Jersey they maintained a private chapel. According to descendants this was the only such private chapel in the whole United States and was maintained with the permission of Pope Pius XI himself. An indication of how active Mrs. Rothschild was in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark and New York may be found in the fact that, in 1941, she was awarded the Papal Distinguished Merit Cross.

In 1921 Elizabeth helped to extend St. Mary's Cemetery in Watkins Glen with the purchase, for $1,000 of an acre plot of adjacent land. She also contributed to the paving of the cemetery road. When she died in East Orange, New Jersey on 29th October, 1943 she was buried at the impressive (and only) mausoleum in the tiny cemetery. The mausoleum also contains a memorial to her lost husband.

Plaques commemorating Mrs Rothschild's generosity.
(Courtesy of John Pulos, USA)

The beautiful mausoleum, of Gothic style enhanced by Grecian columns, is considered one of the finest in the region. The exterior is of Barre granite quarried in Barre, Vermont. Two large bronze topped urns flank the entrance. The interior is of Vermont marble from Proctor, Vt. Handsome bronze gates of lattice design permit a view of the crypts and the altar over which light comes in through a stained glass window. An antique oriental rug is on the floor and a kneeling bench, out of reach, stands ready for prayer.
The three foot bronze plaque before the altar tells the story. Martin Rothschild, born in 1865, died April 15, 1912 at sea in the "Titanic" disaster. Engraved on the bottom of the plaque: "Be thou faithful unto Death, I will Give You a Crown of Life." (Argetsinger & Ellison 1995)

The Barrett Mausoleum, St. Mary's Cemetery, Watkins Glen, NY
(Courtesy of John Pulos, USA)

Her requiem mass was conducted by Archbishop Walsh of Newark, a close personal friend of Mrs Rothschild's. It was Walsh who on 30th August, 1931 had consecrated the cemetery in which she would be laid to rest.


  1. Family sources give the name as Elizabeth Jane Barrett, Dix 1865 census gives Eliza A. Barrett, Söldner (2000) gives Elizabeth L. Barrett.
  2. James William Barrett (1824-1868) had 12 children in total, four with his first wife, Mary (? Aberhull or Noonen) (1827-1851) - Mary Ellen (1847-1920) and Elizabeth Ann (1848-1938) born in Seneca County; Catharine (1850-1914) and James William (1851-1851) born in Chemung County - and eight with his second wife, Mary Phelan (?) (1826-1887): Margaret Alice (1852-1922), Frances (1853-1918) born in Chemung County; James William Jr. (1855-1879), George Edward (1857-?), Elizabeth Jane (1859-1943), Thomas Henry (1861-1930), John Joseph (1862-1928) and Charles Stephen (1865-1934) born in Schuyler County.

References and Sources

Newark Evening News, 29 October 1943, Obituary
New York Times 30 October 1943, Obituary
Death Certificate
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
1865 Census, Dix, Schuyler County, New York State
Jean Argetsinger & Patricia Suits Ellison (1995) Through the Windows of St. Mary''s of the Lake: A 150 Year Reflection.
Hermann Söldner (ed.) (2000) RMS Titanic: Passenger and Crew List 10 April 1912-15 April 1912. ä wie Ärger Verlag.

Newspaper Articles

Worcester Evening Gazette (20 April 1912) Saves Dogs While Passengers Perish
Refused to give up the dog
New York Times (30 October 1943) MRS. MARTIN ROTHSCHILD

Documents and Certificates

Search archive online


Margot Badenhausen, USA
Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA
John Pulos, USA

Comment and discuss

  1. Arun Vajpey

    I find it surprising that there is so little mention of Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild in any Titanic literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6. Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic (her) union that both groups ignored them or something?... Read full post

  2. Kas01

    I'd strongly doubt it was due to anti-Semitism. Ben Guggenheim and the Strauses were both Jewish, and there's no shortage of literature, mythologizing or otherwise, about either Guggenheim or the Strauses. It may simply have been due to class differences between the two (Elizabeth Rothschild being from a working-class Irish family and marrying her employer). As for who they may have socialized with, I believe people from either the Rochester or Binghamton area would have been likely candidates, considering Martin was buried in Watkins Glen. Further south may have been a stretch but Scranton... Read full post

  3. Arun Vajpey

    I was also thinking on the same lines. Majority of the really rich people on the Titanic were Americans and in those times there was a strong Jewish representation among them, as you... Read full post

  4. Kas01

    Pretty sure Mrs. Weisz was Catholic. I don't know when Notre Dame des Neiges opened for non-Catholic burials but I'm assuming it was some time before her death in October of '53. There wasn't as much of an age or social difference though outside of the interfaith marriage.

  5. Arun Vajpey

    The Rothschilds travelled a lot and their steward Frederick Dent Ray reportedly knew them from the Olympic. Ray, who survived, reportedly met Martin Rothschild near the latter's cabin after he had safely seen his wife off in Lifeboat #6. Ray and Rothschild went up to the boat deck, the steward going to help with starboard lifeboats #9 and #11 and in the process presumably getting separated form Rothschild. I don't think any survivor recalled seeing Martin Rothschild on deck during the last 50 minutes of sinking.

  6. Arun Vajpey

    Now that is interesting, especially (unless I am mistaken) the Frauenthals were also Jewish. Dr Henry Frauenthal and his wife - possibly also the brother Isaac Frauenthal - had travelled on... Read full post

  7. Steven Christian

    I find it surprising that there is so little mention of Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild in any Titanic literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6. Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic (her)... Read full post

  8. Arun Vajpey

    Could be. Perhaps they were too self-conscious themselves of Elizabeth Rothschild's working class background and avoided the Astors, Thayers, Carters etc in case someone passed a derogatory remark? Mind you, I'd rather socilaise with Elizabeth Rothschild any day rather than Madeline Astor. BTW, I doubt if Martin Rothschild attended any church. ;)

  9. Steven Christian

    I have no way of knowing of course but I get the feeling Elizabeth Rothschilds would probably have had no problem hanging out with Molly Brown. Both coming up thru the ranks so to speak. But when Titanic sunk she had been married to Martin R. for 17 years so maybe she fully integrated into that part of society and was comfortable with it. I don't know.

  10. Arun Vajpey

    You could be right. Mind you, there were plenty of unconventional alliances on the Titanic: JJ Astor with a wife younger than one of his sons, Guggenheim's mistress and of course, the Rothschilds. By 1912 Elizabeth Rothschild was... Read full post

  11. Kas01

    Last I checked, only Vincent counted unless COL Astor had a patent for an ultrasound machine that we don't know about. As far as New York City is concerned, though, and yes, I know it's impolitic, you really can't get anywhere worthwhile in NYC if you're an anti-Semite, or at the very least quite damn good at hiding it. That's true now, and it was no less true in mid-April of 1912.

  12. Arun Vajpey

    Is there any reliable record of how much the Rothschilds were worth at the time of the Titanic disaster? Also, how did they rank in terms of social status with the Astors, Wideners, Thayers, Ryersons, Carters etc?

  13. Brian Ahern

    I've never seen any numbers provided regarding their worth. They ranked far below the other families you mentioned, I think largely for the reasons you put forward earlier in this thread. The others you mention were all more or less born into 'Society'; the Rothschilds were not. I've never seen them listed in any social... Read full post

  14. Arun Vajpey

    Thanks. But as the 20th century progressed, the name Rothschild became one of those associated with great wealth. Certainly by the 1960s it was so.

  15. Brian Ahern

    It already was by 1912. Rothschild branches in multiple European countries had received noble titles. But Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild were no relation to that family. A biography of Dorothy Parker that discusses the couple mentions that they enjoyed being mistaken for two of those Rothschilds. I don't know if this is true (some other details of them were got wrong in the bio), but if... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Elizabeth Jane Anne Rothschild (née Barrett)
Age: 54 years 2 months and 5 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Religion: Roman Catholic
Marital Status: Married to Martin Rothschild
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17603, £59 8s
Rescued (boat 6)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 29th October 1943 aged 85 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: St. Mary's Cemetery, Watkins Glen, New York, United States

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