Encyclopedia Titanica

Samuel Levi Goldenberg

Samuel Levi Goldenberg
Samuel Levi Goldenberg

Mr Samuel Levi Goldenberg was born in New York on 8 September 1864.

He was the son of Levi Goldenberg (1827-1884), a Lace importer, and Sarah Weinberg (b. 1832). Both his parents were Jewish and originally from Germany, his father coming to the USA around 1846.

He had four known siblings: Julius (b. 1853), Hannah (b. 1854, later Mrs Louis Fischer), Ellen (b. 1856) and Augusta (b. 1859).

Samuel appears on the 1870 and 1880 censuses living with his family in Manhattan. He later settled in France in 1894, living in Paris and representing his Lace-importing firm Goldenberg Brothers & Co, based at 109 Fifth Avenue, New York, but returned to New York in 1900.

He was married in Manhattan on 3 September 1901 to Nella Carlynne Sondheim, née Wiggins. Nella, a widow with two children, had been born in Florence, Italy in 1866 to Alexander Wiggins and Nella DeSilva. The couple, who had no children of their own, settled in Manhattan, appearing on the 1905 census as residents of West 72nd Street but health reasons forced the couple to travel to France in 1907, the milder climate being beneficial to Samuel's wellbeing, and they settled near Nice in Villefranche-sur-Mer but made several trips, seemingly annually, back to the USA and usually aboard German ships. He maintained interests in the firm Goldenberg Brothers & Co at this time and beyond. Well-known dog fanciers, the Goldenberg's kennel name was "Nellcote" and they would often judge in shows and reared English Toy Spaniels and French Bulldogs.

Mr and Mrs Goldenberg boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg on 10 April 1912 as first class passengers (ticket number 17453 which cost £89, 2s, 1d) and they occupied cabin C92. They were en route to attend the French Bull Dog of America show on 20 April, to be held at the Waldorf Astoria.

Mr and Mrs Goldenberg were rescued in lifeboat 5. Dressed only in his pyjamas and dressing gown, with a raincoat and heavier coat over the top and with only slippers on, he brought two rugs from the stateroom, one for he and his wife, and a large canvas bag containing luggage. Mrs Goldenberg later recalled (New York Herald, 21 April 1912):

Mrs. Goldenberg ran out on deck. Mrs. Goldenberg, who had not waited to dress, but had only pulled a skirt over her night dress, was helped into one of the first boats by Mr. Goldenberg, Mr. Ismay and one of the Titanic's officers. She begged her husband to follow her, but he refused. The boat was unfilled when the crew started to lower it, according to Mrs. Goldenberg, and she urged her husband to take a place, as other men had done. "When I saw that he was not coming," said Mrs. Goldenberg, "I called, 'For God's sake say goodby to me then,' and suddenly Mr. Ismay and one of the crew seized Mr. Goldenberg and threw him over the side. He managed to catch the boat ropes and I and others pulled him in..."

Once aboard Carpathia Mr Goldenberg sought out the ship's barber to purchase toiletries.

Met by friends and colleagues at the New York pier following their arrival aboard Carpathia, the Goldenbergs refused to discuss their ordeal with newspaper reporters. They went on to take part in the French Bull Dog show.

Following the disaster the couple shortly returned to France and also spent time in Switzerland for recuperation. As per his 1916 passport Samuel stood at 5' 6½", had an oval face with a small mouth and chin and was of fair complexion with blue/grey eyes and chestnut hair.

By 1917 he and Nella were still living in Villefranche-sur-Mer and spent time residing in Monaco. An affidavit in his 1920 passport states that, whilst a resident of Villefranche-sur-Mer, he had previously lived at 5 Rue Chalfrin (Avenue du Bois-de-Bolougne). By 1921 Samuel had apparently resettled permanently in the USA, living at 109 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, but continued to travel despite ill health in later years.

Samuel and Nella were later divorced and he was remarried to a lady of Polish nobility, Edwiga Grabówska and resettled in Nice where he had a villa. Known as a charitable man, and continuing his love of dogs, Goldenberg was later president of the Canine d'Savoie and also founded a charity for those afflicted with blindness.

Samuel was made a widower when Edwiga died on 30 November 1935. He would survive less than a year and passed away in Nice on 11 October 1936 aged 72 and was buried in Cimiez Cemetery, Cimiez with his second wife. His obituary, from an unidentified newspaper, mistook his second wife Edwiga as the spouse who accompanied him whilst on Titanic


  1. Anne Hier, of the American Kennel Club writes: They raised English Toy Spaniels (called King Charles Spaniels in the UK) and French Bulldogs. Mrs Goldenberg was active in the Toy Spaniel Club of America and had served as secretary. In 1904, a Toy Spaniel they had imported from England, Ch. Darnall Kitty, was Best in Show at Westminster Kennel Club. Mr Goldenberg was an international dog show judge and discovered a dog in France in 1902 which he named Nellcote Gamin who became the modern progenitor of the French Bulldog breed. Mr Goldenberg was also the principal founder of the French Bulldog Club in Paris. A picture of Mrs Goldenberg is available in a 1905 issue of "Field and Fancy" magazine. Pictures of Mr Goldenberg are available in a magazine entitled, "The French Bulldog" published in 1913.
  2. An article in the "Kennel Gazette" from May, 1912 stated that Mr Goldenberg refused to board the lifeboat with his wife but when the boat was launched she cried out to him to say good-bye and since there were apparently no women passengers near by and the boat wasn't full, Bruce Ismay and one of the officers seized Goldenberg and threw him overboard.
  3. The Goldenberg's were on their way to attend the French Bull Dog Club of America's show on the 20th of April in NYC to be held at the Waldorf-Astoria. Goldenberg had agreed to be one of the judges in a $500 match at the end of the show and he kept his commitment. "The American Field" of April 27 states this fact and his choice in the balloting, but no mention of his experience on the Titanic.

References and Sources

American Foreign Service Report of the Death of an American Citizen
New York Times, 13 October 1936, Obituary
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).

Newspaper Articles

Le Journal (20 April 1912) Samuel Goldenberg
From 'Le Journal', 20 April 1912
New York Herald (21 April 1912) Mrs Goldenberg's Account
New York Times (24 April 1912) Only One Passenger Saved His Baggage
New York Times (25 April 1912) Mr. Goldenberg Explains It
New York Times (15 May 1912) Proving Foreman On Titanic
New York Times (24 June 1912) Auteuil Sounds The Pannier's Doom
New York Times (28 November 1915) Dog And Kennel Notes
New York Times (2 April 1916) News For Dog Fanciers
New York Times (14 May 1916) Patois And Fauvette Win
New York Times (21 December 1916) C'est Moi Best Dog In Show
Unidentified Newspaper (1936) Samuel L. Goldenberg, Titanic Survivor, Dies
L'Eclaireur de Nice et du Sud-Ouest (12 October 1936) Mort De M. Goldenberg
New York Times (13 October 1936) Titanic Survivor Dead (1)
New York Times (13 October 1936) Titanic Survivor Dead Nice, France

Documents and Certificates

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Comment and discuss

  1. Jeffrey M. Kern

    I think this is a wonderful idea, Philip, and it certainly gives everyone a chance to discuss our thoughts, feelings, etc. In my English book (I going through my sophomore (10th grade) year of school), I have found some interesting facts that I never thought I would find. One of them that struck my fancy was reading about Samuel Goldenberg, and noting that he was the only passenger on the Titanic who escaped with his luggage. Also, from a 1912 newspaper (I would have to find the Web Site where I found this clip), it could be possible that Olive Potter's first husband, Boulton, was J. Boulton Earnshaw. Just a quickie note on that. The book was simply called R.M.S. Titanic, and I shall retrieve the author's name as soon as I can. Again, this is such a glorious idea and the Encyclopaedia Titanica keeps only improving more and more. Good luck!
  2. Michael Findlay

    Dear Jeffrey, Just a small correction.... Samuel Goldenberg did not save his luggage from the Titanic. In an interview given shortly after the sinking, Goldenberg declared that he obtained the piece of luggage while on board the Carpathia. When he and his wife were seen leaving the rescue ship with their "small trunk", it was thought that they had saved it from the Titanic. This was not true. Olive Earnshaw's husband was named Boulton, and he was a purchasing agent for the University of Pennsylvania. The Earnshaws divorced after the sinking. Olive died in 1958, and Boulton in 1971. Michael Findlay
  3. Jeffrey M. Kern

    Thank you for the correction, Mr Findlay. I wrote you email, but unfortunately my own email is down, so when it gets back up, the message will be sent. Thank you again!
  4. Michael Friedman (Mike)

    Michael Friedman (Mike)

    The closest I know to any "luggage" being saved from the Titanic was Quartermaster Walter Wynne's kit bag, containing two changes of underwear. At the British Inquiry (Day 11, Q 13395-13400) he stated that he threw the kit bag in a boat before departing in #9, but that apparently the bag was discarded after the boat reached the Carpathia.
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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Samuel Levi Goldenberg
Age: 47 years 7 months and 7 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Religion: Jewish
Marital Status: Married to Nella Carlynne Sondheim, née Wiggins
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17453, £89 2s 1d
Cabin No. C92
Rescued (boat 5)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Died: Sunday 11th October 1936 aged 72 years
Cause of Death:
Buried: Cimiez Cemetery, Nice, France

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