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Emma Sägesser

Miss Emma Sägesser, 24, was born on 16 August 1887 in Aarwangen, Switzerland. She lost her mother when she was eleven and had six siblings. She lived for many years with her sister Rosa in Geneva and went 1908 to Cannes, France. At the beginning of 1912 she worked as a maid for the young singer Leontine Pauline "Ninette" Aubart in Paris. She would accompany her employer on the Titanic. Therefore she travelled on Mme. Aubert's first-class ticket number PC 17477, price £69 6s; the ticket paid for by Benjamin Guggenheim, Madame Aubart's lover. Officially she and her maid travelled alone.

Before leaving Paris a friend visited Ninette Aubart. Mme. Aubart showed her her new umbrella and opened it. The friend got a pale face and said superstitiously that a disaster would happen soon, Miss Sägesser should take good care of her Lady.

Miss Sägesser and Mme. Aubart boarded the Titanic as first-class passengers at Cherbourg and occupied cabin B-35. On 14 April they went to bed around 11 pm. Emma felt a little seasick, so she fell immediately asleep. Suddenly she was woken by two short bumps. She thought Titanic had stranded and stayed in bed. Ninette Aubart investigated what had happened and came back very calm and went to bed again. A while later they put coats over their nightgowns and went to Guggenheim's stateroom. He was still asleep. Guggenheim's valet Victor Giglio said: "Never mind, icebergs! What is an iceberg?" The woman persuaded them to come on deck.

On the Boat-Deck they parted and Guggenheim said to Emma (in German) "We will soon each other again! It's just a repair. Tomorrow the Titanic will go on again". Emma and Mme. Aubart entered lifeboat 9. Aubart did so reluctantly because she does not want to leave her lover. Around 1.30 am the boat was lowered.

After being rescued by the Carpathia Mme. Aubart had a nervous breakdown and had to be comforted by her maid. Emma sent a telegram to her sister Bertha in Paris (paid for by her employer Aubart)

Berthe Segesser 30, Charles Baudelaire Paris
Sauvée Amities Emma (Saved greetings Emma)

Unfortunately it was not transmitted; the operators had to much work to do. It is not known where the two ladies resided at New York. Mme. Aubart was given money from the Guggenheims to keep her quiet. Emma and her Lady eventually went back to Europe on 3 May 1912 on board the Adriatic, which reached Liverpool on 11 May. From there they travelled back to Paris. Emma left Madame Aubart shortly afterwards.

In 1917 Emma lived in St. Gallen, Switzerland and moved the same year to Zürich, where she worked as saleswoman at the stores Globus and Jelmoli. In March 1926 she married Karl Ernst Arnold. Together they ran a cigar shop at 91 Kanzlei-strasse. Their adress was 49 An der Schipfe, Zürich. The couple had no children. A month after the death of her husband Emma Arnold-Sägesser died on 24 May 1964.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mlle Emma Sägesser
Age: 24 years 7 months and 30 days (Female)
Nationality: Swiss
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17477, £69 6s
Cabin No. B35 ?
Rescued (boat 9)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 24th May 1964 aged 76 years

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References and Sources

Günter Bäbler (1998) Reise auf der Titanic. Chronos Zürich
John Booth & Sean Coughlan (1993) Titanic Signals of Disaster. White Star Publicatons, Westbury, Wiltshire. ISBN 0 9518190 1 1
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.

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (3 May 1912) Mme. Aubart Returns to France
L'Illustré, revue Hebdomadaire Suisse (6 September 1956) Emma Sägesser

Documents and Certificates

Marconigram : To: Berthe Segesser


Randy Bryan Bigham Madame Aubart and her maid
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Comment and discuss

  1. Marilyn Durgan

    Marilyn Durgan said:

    I visited the Titanic Exhibit at the Union Station in Kansas City, Mo. My passport name was Emma Sagesser from 1st class. It was a very moving and sad day for me.

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Hermann Söldner, Germany