Mrs Sulaymān Dāwūd al-B'aqlīnī was born as Laţīfah al-Haj Qurbān (aka Latify Corban Baclini) on 18 May 1888 1 in Al Shwayr, Syria, then part of the Ottoman Empire and now part of modern-day Lebanon.
She was the daughter of Khalīl Qurbān and Malaki Sawaya and she was married at a young age on 21 November 1905 to fellow Al Shwayr-native Sulaymān Dāwūd al-B'aqlīnī (b. 10 April 1878 2), a pharmacist. The couple had three daughters: Mārīyā (b. 1906), Ūwjīnīyā (b. 1908) and Hilānah (b. 1909).
In late 1908 Laţīfah's husband left with a neighbour, Najīb Qiyamah, with the intention of establishing his own pharmacy in New York. The decision to migrate may not have been entirely monetarily driven, as Mr Baclini explained in 1914:
"... Similar views were expressed by Solomon Baclini, of the dry goods firm of Kassouf, Moutran & Baclini at No. 47 Washington Street. Mr Baclini is a Christian Turk and he admits he left Turkey some time ago because he was in danger of death at the hands of Mohammedan Turks, who were secretly sworn to exterminate all Christian Turks. He expressed his belief that Turkey soon would declare war in the hope of recovering Macedonia and the Aegean Islands, and that if this step is taken the Balkan States will be in the conflict..."
(New York Herald, 31 August 1914)
Instead of settling in New York as planned, Mr al-B'aqlīnī spent time in San Cristóbal, Venezuela before entering the USA on 7 June 1910. By 1912 he had established a dry goods business and saved enough money to send back to bring his wife and daughters across the Atlantic.
Laţīfah was travelling to her husband at 217 Washington Street, Brooklyn, New York and chaperoning her teenage neighbour Adāl Najīb Qiyāmah to her father Najīb Qiyamah. Their journey started from their village and went to Beirut from where they sailed to Marseille, after which they would journey to Cherbourg. Before boarding a vessel at Cherbourg it was discovered her daughter Mārīyā had conjunctivitis, preventing their further travel on grounds of contagion and so their journey was delayed until they could join the next available ship, the Titanic. They boarded as third-class passengers with ticket number 2666 which cost £19, 5s, 2d.
On the night of the sinking Mrs Baclini was somehow able to navigate her way, with three young children and Adāl Najīb Qiyāmah in tow, to the upper decks where the five were able to enter a lifeboat and escape. The al-B'aqlīnī family is a rare example of a larger third class family group surviving intact.
Stepping off the Carpathia Laţīfah stated her next of kin as her mother Malaki back in Lebanon and her destination address as to the home of her husband at 217 Washington Street, Brooklyn. She was met in Brooklyn by Adāl Qiyāmah's father and brought to his home, her husband being out of the country at the time an unaware that his family were travelling on the Titanic.
In America the family name became Baclini; Laţīfah became Latify and her husband Sulaymān Dāwūd became known as Solomon David and they lived at 3 Washington Street in Brooklyn.
Tragedy struck the family not long after their reunification in New York when daughter Ūwjīnīyā "Eugenie" died on 30 August 1912 as a result of meningitis. Latify was also fated to outlive her daughter Hilānah "Helen" who died in 1939 as a result of breast cancer.
Latify and her husband Solomon went on to have two more children; their son David was born on 28 January 1913, speculated to have been the first child conceived by a survivor following the disaster. A daughter named Isabel would follow on 28 March 1914.
Latify lived in New York for the rest of her life; both the 1915 and 1920 censuses show her and her family living on Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn and her husband worked, not as a pharmacist but as a dry goods salesman (reportedly as a result of US pharmaceutical licensing problems). The 1930 and 1940 censuses shows the family residing at 2071 66th Street, Brooklyn. Her last address was 8701 Ridge Boulevard in Brooklyn.
Latify, who never cared to discuss the Titanic disaster, had been widowed when husband Solomon died on 25 July 1952 and she herself passed away on 10 May 1962; she was buried with her husband in Saint John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, New York.
BACLINI-LATIFY QURBAN, of 8701 Ridge Blvd., Bklyn., N.Y., on May 10, 1962. Beloved moth of Marie Khanisur, Bavid Baclini and Isobel Baclini. Requiem Mass, 10 A.M. Monday, Our Lady of Lebanon R.C. Church, Hery and Rensen Sts., Bklyn. Reposing at E.C. Waldeck Funeral Home, 7614 Fourth Ave., Bklyn. Interment Monday morning, St. John’s Cemetery. - New York World Telegram and Sun, 12 May 1962
Her son David, who was active with the YMCA, died in Brooklyn on 1 April 1986. Daughter Isabel was never married and also died in Brooklyn on 30 October 1990.
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