Mrs Selena Cook


© Todd Case, USA

Mrs Arthur Henry Cook was born as Selina Rogers on 6 April 1890 in Rotherfield, Sussex, England.

She was the daughter of James Henry Rogers (b. 1857), a poultry worker, and Margaret Howard (b. 1856). Her father was native to Rotherfield whilst her mother was a northerner, originally from Sedbergh in Yorkshire and they had married in 1886.

Selina had four siblings: Harold (1888-1961), Effie (b. 1892), Hilda Jane (b. 1893) and Charles John Howard (b. 1896).

The family appear on the 1891 census living at Legswood Lodge, Withyam, Sussex, later moving to Birchden (?) Cottage in Rotherfield by the time of the 1901 census. Selina's father died in 1903 aged 46 and her mother Margaret took to domestic work to support her family. The 1911 census shows Margaret Rogers and her daughter Effie residing at 9 Harcourt House, Cavendish Square, London where she was the caretaker to a wealthy retired gentleman, George Scott. Her other children were scattered around different addresses around the country but Selina's whereabouts at this time are not certain but she is believed to have been living in Oxford. Her mother emigrated later that year, settling in Manhattan.

Selina was married in London over the closing months of 1911 to Arthur Henry Cook (b. 26 November 1883), a native of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland who worked as a footman.

Selina was to visit her mother in New York and boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number 14266 which cost £10, 10s). During the voyage she shared a cabin (F-33) with Amelia Brown, Amelia Lemore and Elizabeth Nye. During the voyage Mrs Cook was nursing a toothache.

After the collision on the night of Sunday 14 April Selina berated Amelia Brown who was reluctant to get up even when their cabin-neighbour George Swane and her own roommates encouraged and warned her of the danger. Only when Selina exclaimed that she was surely the only person on the entire ship to remain in bed, did she stir.

Selina was rescued in lifeboat 14 and sat next to Leah Aks as the boat was lowered and the two women remained close after their rescue.

Miss Selina Rogers: Miss Rogers, of Woodstock road, Oxford was also on board the vessel, but her name fortunately appears amongst the list of those saved.
The Oxford Chronicle (Berks and Bucks Gazette), 19th April 1912 (p.7)

The New York Sun (25 April 1912) reported that Selina had been carrying some £250 in cash, intended for her mother which had been lost in the sinking. Without the money, the article stated, Mrs Rogers was unable to take her daughter in. She also had her wayward tooth extracted which she kept as a memento for the rest of her life; the tooth has been displayed in different exhibitions over the past few years. 

Given some money by the Titanic Relief Committee and offered a job as a lady's maid, Mrs Cook was later joined in America by her husband and they settled in Pennsylvania where her husband worked as a private chauffeur. The couple had one child, their daughter Gladys (b. 1913).

Selina became an officer in the Daughters of the King organization and was also an active member of her church and the local history society. Although her husband did become a US citizen it is uncertain as to whether Selina ever relinquished her British citizenship. Her mother later died in New York on 4 August 1937.

Selina and her family are listed on the 1930 census living at an address in Scranton, Pennsylvania and on the 1940 census as living on Carbondale Road in Waverly, Abington, Pennsylvania where she would live for many years. The Titanic disaster did not deter her from sailing and she and her husband made numerous cruises and returned to England to visit relatives at least twice, once in 1922 aboard Aquitania. In 1953 she was a guest at a special screening of Fox's Titanic alongside other survivors. 

Selina Cook died suddenly1 on 12 September 1964 aged 74 in Wayne Memorial Hospital and was interred in Glenwood Mausoleum; her widower Arthur died in 1971. Later a large collection of her personal effects were donated to the Titanic Historical Society.

A young relative of hers, Doris May Punchard (b. 19 July 1904) of Ipswich, Suffolk recalled Selina travelling on Titanic and the anxious wait for news about her. Doris went on to become one of Britain's oldest living people before her death on 12 August 2015 aged 111. 

Notes

  1. Her cause of death is listed as a sudden onset of severe haemorrhaging from her stomach and oesophagus. 
 

Pictures

Selena Cook
SELENA COOK
 

Articles and Stories

Worcester Evening Gazette (1912) 
 

Credits

Gavin Bell, UK

References and Sources

Don Lynch & Ken Marschall (1992) Titanic: An Illustrated History. London, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 56271 4
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
Names and Descriptions of British Passengers Embarked at the Port of Southampton, 10 April 1912 (PRO London, BT 27/780B)
The Oxford Chronicle (Berks and Bucks Gazette)
, 19 April 1912, p.7
Search archive British newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2018) Selena Cook Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #386, updated 16th November 2018 21:45:33 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/selena-cook.html

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