Encyclopedia Titanica

Olive Earnshaw

Olive Earnshaw
Olive Earnshaw

Mrs Boulton Earnshaw (Olive Potter) was born on September 9, 1888 the daughter of Thomas Potter Jr. and Lily Alexenia Wilson. The family resided in Mt. Airy, Pennsylvania.

In December 1911, Lily Potter, now widowed, decided to take a European vacation with her daughter, Olive. The marriage between Olive and her husband Boulton Earnshaw was crumbling, and Olive filed for divorce. In an effort to take her daughter's mind off the divorce proceedings, Lily Potter took her to Europe. Travelling with them was Miss Margaret Hays of New York City. Olive and Margaret were school friends from Briarcliff School in New York.

Returning to America from their travels they boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg on the evening of April 10, 1912. Olive and Margaret shared cabin C-54.

Olive, her mother, Margaret Hays (and her dog) and their self-appointed "escort", Gilbert Milligan Tucker, Jr. boarded lifeboat 7 which was lowered away at 12:45 a.m.

Olive Earnshaw in the 1920s

When the Carpathia arrived in New York Boulton Earnshaw travelled to Pier 54 to meet his soon-to-be ex-wife and the Potter party returned to Philadelphia later that night.

Olive Earnshaw eventually obtained her divorced from her husband and later, like her mother, volunteered her services to the American Red Cross, she would continue her volunteer work to the Red Cross for the rest of her life.

In 1920, she remarried Allen P. Crolius, and the couple had two sons, Thomas and Allen. Mr Crolius died in 1936.

Olive Earnshaw and Family Olive and Children
Olive Crolius with her husband and children in the 1920s
(© Michael A. Findlay, USA)

Olive never gave up travelling, in spite of her experience on the Titanic. She travelled to Spain with her husband and sons in the mid and late 1920s, and also sailed to Bermuda on a number of occasions.

In Uniform
Olive Crolius in Red Cross uniform

Olive Crolius died of cancer on 21 April 1958 at the age of 69. She was buried in the same grave as her mother at Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA.

Grave at Laurel Hill Cemetery


  1. Boulton Earnshaw was born 8 November 1880 in Riverton, New Jersey; he worked as a purchasing agent for the University of Pennsylvania. After his divorce, he was remarried to Ethel Yarnell. He died in Norristown, PA on 28 March 1971 at the age of 90 from an acute pulmonary embolism.

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (3 December 1910) Col. Thomas Potter, Jr.
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
Evening Bulletin (17 April 1912) Had Premonition of Disaster
Nurse in Home of Mrs. J. B. Earnshaw Distrusted Early Despatches of Safety of Passengers
Atlantic City Daily Press (19 April 1912) Atlantic Survivor Tells of Disaster
New York Times (5 May 1936) Death Notice: Allen Crolius
Philadelphia Inquirer (2 January 1954) Mrs. Potter Dies At Age of 98
Philadelphia Inquirer (23 April 1958) CROLIUS
Evening Bulletin (23 April 1958) Mrs. Crolius Dies; Titanic Survivor
New York Times (24 April 1958) Survivor of Titanic Dies

Documents and Certificates

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Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA

Comment and discuss

  1. Olivier Mendez

    As you may have read, I added an info on Miss Earnshaw. Here it is, can anyone help unraveling the mystery? Thanks! Olivier Miss Earnshaw's mysterious Second Class List A member of the Association Francaise du Titanic owns a very strange document, which he inherited from Miss Earnshaw. At the time she gave him it, he did not thought that it would be the source of many questions and just accepted it. Miss Earnshaw saved from the Titanic, or later bought, a "Second Class Passenger List per Royal and US Mail SS Titanic", on which she ticked different names and added notes. These names... Read full post

  2. Bob Godfrey

    Certainly the numbers are those assigned to recovered bodies. Bateman was 174, so the 4 isn't a second number. The letters are more of a puzzle!

  3. Matt Endacott

    Matt Endacott

    hello Does anyone know where i could see a picture of this list? Thanks, Matt

  4. Brian Meister

    Just a suggestion gentlemen, but the body numbers were first published in the New York World newspaper which is where I first located them for my research. It is possible that Mrs Earnshaw first read them there and trans- cribed them to another sheet as a reference. The puzzle seems to be why she would be interested in the whereabouts of several gentlemen travelling 2nd class. Perhaps one was kind to her and she was hoping to repay the kindness. Perhaps she had a message from one of them to the family? Intriguing thoughts. All the Best

  5. Olivier Mendez

    Hi all! Thanks for your replies. I added two pictures of the list in ET's exhibition. One is the front page of the list, the second one is the first page of the list where you will see two names ticked. Maybe will this help? Olivier

  6. Brian Meister

    Hello Olivier, Thanks for posting the pictures for us to see. It appears to me that she somehow obtained a passenger list from 2nd class and read the numbers from the list published in the New York papers and copied down the body numbers. The mystery still remains as to why, I am afraid. Perhaps we have the makings of the first documentor of Titanic history here. She might have decided to begin collecting information to aid others in their search for loved ones missing. There could be any number of explanations. I wonder how we will... Read full post

  7. Donald J A Smith

    The list itself - however Miss Earnshaw came to find it (or to be entrusted with it) - has, I suspect, quite meaningful "water-stains". And, 'P' could be *probably*; if this thread should - however briefly - continue.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mrs Olive Earnshaw (née Potter)
Age: 23 years 7 months and 6 days (Female)
Nationality: American
Occupation: Of Independent Means
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 11767, £83 3s 2d
Cabin No. C54
Rescued (boat 7)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Monday 21st April 1958 aged 69 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: Laurel Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

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