Ann Elizabeth Isham

Ann Elizabeth Isham

Miss Ann Elizabeth Isham, 50, was born on 25 January 1862 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, the first child of Edward Swift Isham and Frances Burch. She had two brothers Pierrepont and Edward Swift, and a sister Frances. Their father established a law firm with Robert Todd Lincoln (son of former US President Abraham Lincoln) called Isham, Lincoln & Beale in Chicago, Illinois.

Ann lived for a time in Chicago where she was a member of the Friday Club and the Scribbler's Club. But by 1912 she had been living abroad for nine years; most of the time in Paris with her sister Frances (Mrs Harry Shelton). Ann's brother Edward lived in New York City and it was in order to spend the summer with him that she boarded the Titanic when it stopped at Cherbourg on April 10, 1912. Titanic passenger Arthur Ryerson was a partner in her father's firm and it is likely that Ann and the Rysersons knew each other.

Her cabin (C-49) was next to that of Colonel Archibald Gracie, but he did not remember ever seeing her. Ann was one of four first class women who died in the disaster, her body, if recovered, was never identified.

When Ann died, in addition to her siblings, she left a cousin, Mrs H. H. Porter, Jr., of Chicago. A memorial to her was erected by her family in Vermont.

Memorial
Photo: Casey-Quinn O'Connell

Notes

  1. It has been suggested that Miss Isham brought on board with her a dog (possibly a Great Dane), and some believe that it was her refusal to leave her dog. that led to her death. It has been further suggested that she was the woman observed to have had her arms frozen around her dog in the water following the sinking. However, no firm evidence has been found to support the claims.

Research Articles

Randy Bryan Bigham Titanica! (2021) What happened to Lizzy?
Exploring the mystery of Titanic victim Anne Eliza Isham

Newspaper Articles

Chicago Daily Tribune (18 April 1912) ANXIETY FOR MISSING ONES
Senator Convinced His Brother Perished When Titanic Sank
New York Times (9 May 1912) Death Notice (Anne Isham)
New York Times (26 June 1915) SURVIVOR SAYS ISMAY RULED IN TITANIC'S BOATS

Images

Ann Elizabeth Isham

Documents and Certificates

(1912) Contract Ticket List, White Star Line (Southampton, Queenstown), National Archives, London; BT27/776,780
(1912) Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, National Archives, London; BT334/52 & 334/53

Bibliography

Homer Worthington Brainard (1938) A survey of the Ishams in England and America, Turtle
Search archive online

Comment and discuss

  1. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    Is there a certainty as to how Miss Isham perished in the disaster? I recall from a source that she had a dog with her aboard the ship, possibly a St Bernard or Great Dane. According to an old 1912 newspaper article from the London Daily Sketch, there was a woman on the Titanic who was found floating a few feet away from her dog when a lifeboat came back to see whom they could pick up from the icy sea. As for Miss Edith Evans, how did she die? Where was she and what was she doing when Colonel Archibald Gracie approached her near the end and found her to be ‘perfectly calm’? If... Read full post

  2. Katie Sharrocks said:

    Miss Evans had been in Paris visting her cousins. Her aunt by marriage Mrs Clifford Cornell(Malvina) and Malvina's two sisters Mrs JM Brown(Caroline) and Mrs Appleton (Charlotte) were on the ship. Col. Gracie had taken responsibility for the ladies. Edith and Caroline were separted from the other 2 ladies. They found themselves at boat D. The boat was almost full so Edith said to Caroline "go first you have children waiting for you at home." She helped Mrs Brown over the rail and then someone shouted "lower away" Edith had given up her seat for Caroline in the boat. She was very calm and... Read full post

  3. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    "She was very calm and simply stood on deck looking out at sea." That was all that I needed to know. Did you learn this information from Judith B. Geller's book, Titanic: Women and Children First? And, of course, the Encyclopaedia Titanica's general information on Miss Evans. I thank you again for your help.

  4. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    All, The fate of this mysterious lady has intrigued everybody. What happened to her? A member of a prominent family, 50-year-old Ann Isham, nicknamed "Lizzie," probably knew others in first class aboard Titanic but no one - at least no one who survived - remembered meeting or seeing her. Even old Col. Gracie (bless his snoopy heart) whose cabin was next to hers, never noticed her coming and going from her room. According to Col. Gracie, Ann "Lizzie" Isham: "...is the only one of whom no survivor, so far as I can learn, is able to give any information whatsoever as to where she was or... Read full post

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  5. Dave Hudson said:

    If Col. Gracie never saw her, how did he know that her cabin was next door? For that matter, how did he even know she was aboard? This is spooky. David

  6. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    David, According to Gracie in his book, Lizzy Isham's relatives contacted him after discovering - I assume through the White Star Line - that his cabin was near her's. Her family was hoping for closure by learning something about Lizzy's last days and thought Gracie may have met her. He said it hurt him to have to reply to them that he had never met his neighbor but felt sure that she had not been locked in her cabin, as they had feared. They sent a picture of Lizzie to Gracie but he said he never saw her at any time. It is a sad and odd tale. What happened to that poor lady, I... Read full post

  7. Carole Lindsay said:

    Randy, This is a newspaper story I found in the book "Titanic Extra". No names are given, but it concerns a steward who went to one of the first cabin passengers - a woman - and told her to dress and put on her life preserver. She laughed "if that little bump is all that has happened, I'll stay right here" "Madam, replied the steward, "My orders are to tell you to dress and put on a life preserver". "My orders to myself are to get back into bed and go to sleep again" said the woman and she did. She paid for it with her life. As with a lot of the newspaper stories of that time, it's... Read full post

  8. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Thanks Carole, Does the article give the name of the steward or mention any other details? I have the feeling that many people must have had the reaction that this woman did but soon thought better of it! Randy

  9. Ben Holme said:

    Hi Carole, That's interesting information. Ann Isham's bedroom steward would have been Cullen, same as Col. Gracie's, next door. As Cullen was one of the relativley few 1st class bedroom stewards who survived, it seems possible that the steward in question was Cullen, and that the lady to whom he was referring was indeed Miss Isham. However, if this was merely a passing steward, rather than her actual bedroom steward, the story seems less plausible. If Cullen ever wrote an account, I would be surprised if he didn't mention Miss Isham. Regards, Ben

  10. Carole Lindsay said:

    Randy and Ben, This story appeared in the New York Herald of April 19, 1912 on page 2. It was part of an article by May Birkhead, a Carpathia passenger who interviewed survivors. She said that the story was told to her by a steward, but did not mention any names. The quote I gave you before was all that was said. The words that caught my eye were that she was a first class passenger and that she paid with her life. The steward seemed to be talking about a woman who was alone. Mrs. Allison and Mrs. Straus were with their husbands, and Edith Evans was with her friends and Archibald... Read full post

  11. avatar

    Tracy Smith said:

    You'd think that the of the ship would have opened this woman's eyes...

  12. avatar

    Michael H. Standart said:

    True enough, Tracy, but as you well know, the human capacity for self-deception is boundless. The expression of disbelief this woman made to the steward was all too common that night. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  13. William Ajello said:

    You'd think that the ever increasing list of the ship would have opened this woman's eyes... Regrets and regards, Bill

  14. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Carole, I think you have hit upon as much of a clue to Ann Isham's fate as we may ever have. Poor lady. Randy

  15. Dave Hudson said:

    Let's remember that the New York Herald story is quite possibly not true. Most stories during those first weeks were unsubstantiated rumors that were usually made up by the press. Early 20th century journalism reeked with the stench of sensationalism. Even if it was true, how did they know that the woman died if they didn't know her name? She could have been any single 1st Class lady who was a bit slower to the boats. There's no reason to believe she died. David

  16. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    David, Caution is wise of course when reading any early Titanic tales but as to the article Carole mentions, it is not stated that the woman's name was unknown, it is simply that it was not mentioned. If indeed the unidentified first class steward made such a remark he PROBABLY did know the lady passenger's name or else he would not have stated that she had died. He was only being discreet in not mentioning her name. There of course would need to be, in a story of this type, some further verification which someday may - or may not - come. One thing to speculate on - indeed that is all... Read full post

  17. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    PS) I vaguely recall a story of a lady passenger who returned to her room to get some valuables during the sinking and heard a key turning in the door-lock. She had rightly guessed that it was a steward securing the cabin. She screamed, the steward let her out, and she rushed on deck empty-handed. Does anyone else recall this story? Was the lady or the steward identified?

  18. avatar

    Kyrila Scully said:

    Randy, I remember that story too, but I don't recall if a name was given, and if so, what it was. Anyone else? Kyrila

  19. Ben Holme said:

    Randy and Kyrila, I believe you are both referring to Victorine Chaudanson, the Ryerson Maid. The steward has never been identified, although my guess is Walter Bishop, Arthur and Emily's bedroom steward. Another passenger (never identified) WAS actaully locked in his cabin. Norris Williams had to break the door down to free him. A passing steward, opposed to Williams' use of force, reprimanded him for doing so. Hope this helps, Ben

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Acknowledgements

Phillip Gowan, USA
Homer Thiel, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2019) Ann Elizabeth Isham (ref: #170, last updated: 29th October 2019, accessed 30th July 2021 20:35:12 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/ann-elizabeth-isham.html

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