Encyclopedia Titanica

Elmer Zebley Taylor

Elmer Zebley Taylor
Elmer Zebley Taylor

Mr Elmer Zebley Taylor was born in Smyrna, Kent, Delaware on 13 March 1864.

He was the son of George Washington Taylor (1836-1910), a machinist, and Mary Elizabeth Dady (1841-1929), both Delaware natives, and his known siblings were: Gilbert Beebe (1860-1939), Evelyn (1862-1942, later Mrs Henry Denney Boyer), Gove Salisbury (b. 1866), Lucy (1868-1908), Frank Jefferson (1870-1882), George Dady (1872-1916), Mary (1874-1875), Nellie Collins (1877-1971, later Rowland) and Cyrus (1883-1957).

By the time of the 1880 census Elmer had already left school and was, like his father, working as a machinist. He later lived in Philadelphia and was married in 1886 to Juliet Cummings Wright (b. 1862), also a native of Smyrna, and the couple moved to England in the 1890s and were avid globe-trotters, remaining childless.

Known as a pioneer in the paper container industry, Elmer designed and manufactured automatic machinery for moisture-proof paper food containers. He began the manufacture of paper cups in England in 1906 under the name Mono Containers Ltd, which had factories in ten countries and then opened Mono Service Co. in Newark, New Jersey in 1910. His business partner was Fletcher Lambert-Williams.

The Taylors would spend many summers in East Orange, New Jersey and they were heading there from London at the time of the disaster. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers (ticket number 19996 which cost £52) and they occupied cabin C-126; also travelling aboard was Fletcher Lambert-Williams.

On the night of the sinking Mr Taylor reported that he was awakened by the impact. He and his wife got up and dressed, leaving their stateroom. On their way to the boat deck they passed Lambert-Williams' cabin and knocked the door; he answered but said he didn't believe it worthwhile to get up. They never saw him again.

Mr and Mrs Taylor were rescued probably in boat 5 or 7.  

When the second boat was lowered there were only two men remaining on the deck, Taylor and another person. After the boat was lowered slightly it was discovered that there was room for two more and they were ordered in. Therefore both were saved. — Camden Daily Courier, Thursday 16th May 1912

He and Juliet resettled in East Orange, New Jersey in 1914 and he was widowed in 1927. He was remarried twice, firstly to Katherine Elizabeth Guthrie (b. 1871 in Cleveland, Ohio) and secondly to Beatrice Swann (b. 1896 in Charlestown, West Virginia).

He sold Mono Service Co. in 1945 to Continental Can Co., Inc., and continued to serve as a consultant engineer. The Titanic disaster did not deter Taylor from sea voyages and he continued to travel well into old age. Just before the outbreak of WWII he made two business trips to Russia. Ships he travelled aboard included: Paris, Bremen, Majestic, Homeric, Mauretania, Queen Elizabeth and several voyages aboard Olympic. He was also a frequent visitor to the Mayfair Hotel in London.

Elmer Zebley Taylor

Elmer lived at 67 South Munn Avenue, East Orange. He died on 20 May 1949 aged 85 and was buried with his first wife in St Peter's Cemetery, Smyrna, Delaware.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Elmer Zebley Taylor
Age: 48 years 1 month and 2 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Juliet Cummings Wright
Occupation: Manufacturer
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 19996, £52
Cabin No. C126
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Friday 20th May 1949 aged 85 years
Buried: St Peter's Cemetery, Smyrna, Delaware, United States

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References and Sources

Atlantic City Daily Press, 20 April 1912, E. Z. Taylor Describes Panicky Scene on Board
Atlantic Daily Bulletin, (British Titanic Society), No. 4 1996

Newspaper Articles

Newark Evening News (16 April 1912) East Orange People Reported Saved
Atlantic City Daily Press (17 April 1912) Cousin of City Clerk Donnelly Among Rescued
Toronto Daily Star (18 April 1912) E.Z. Taylor's account
E.Z. Taylor jumps into the sea
Atlantic City Daily Press (19 April 1912) Atlantic Survivor Tells of Disaster
Atlantic City Daily Press (20 April 1912) Alarmed County Man Finds Sister Was Rescued
Atlantic City Daily Press (20 April 1912) LITTLE DISORDER ON TITANIC
Atlantic City Daily Press (3 May 1912) 2 SURVIVORS OF TITANIC ARRIVE
Atlantic City Daily Press (5 May 1912) LOCAL SURVIVOR DEFENDS ISMAY
Camden Daily Courier (16 May 1912) Wreck Survivors Known in Camden
Elmer Z. Taylor tells of Thrilling Experience when Titanic Sank
New York Daily News (8 January 1928) Elmer Taylor in 1928
New York Times (23 May 1949) ELMER ZELBY [sic] TAYLOR


Elmer Zebley Taylor and second wife Katherine
Elmer Zebley Taylor and third wife Beatrice
(1922) Elmer and Juliet Taylor 1922

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
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Comment and discuss

  1. Taylor

    Taylor said:

    My Great Uncle, Mr. Elmer Zebley Taylor and his wife Juliet were survivors of the Titantic. I have detailed memoires of my Uncle's life which include the events leading up to and including the sinking of the Titanic. I am very interested in pictures and/or additional information / geneology regarding my Uncle and his wife. Taylor Maryland

  2. mikep007

    mikep007 said:

    I was fascinated in the last conversation about Elmer Taylor's memoirs. I was wondering how I might go about obtaining them? Thanks, Mike

  3. Michael Findlay

    Michael Findlay said:

    Hi Mike, Elmer Taylor's memoirs were privately published back in the 1940's. In 1986, I was in Smyrna, Delaware, researching Elmer and Juliet Taylor. The local town library had a copy of the book. One year later, I bought the book at a garage sale in perfect condition. The account is very detailed, and most interesting. There are even several photographs of Elmer throughout the text. Please e-mail me privately. Mike Findlay

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Gavin Bell, UK
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