Mr Benjamin Laventall Foreman

Benjamin Laventall Foreman was born on 7 November 1881 in Albany, Albany County, New York, the son of Henry W. Foreman (1855-1925) and Rose Laventall (1860-1939). His father worked as a wholesale hop dealer.

On 16 February 1892, Benjamin, his parents, and brothers Elliot, Robert, Edwin, and Jules, as well as a servant (Kate Quinn) lived in Albany, New York. His father worked as an agent at that time.

On 3 May 1900, Benjamin left New York City to live in St. Gallen (also called St. Gall), Switzerland for two years to work as a merchant. He applied for a passport at Berne on 13 February 1901. He was described on the passport as being six-feet-tall, low forehead, brown eyes, medium nose and mouth, pointed chin, dark brown hair, fair complexion, with an oblong face. St. Gallen had a population of about 54,000 in 1900 and was 'the largest and most important export area for embroidery' (today it has a textile museum).

Despite being in Europe, Benjamin was listed on 11 June 1900, as living with his parents and siblings Elliott, Robert, Edwin, Jewell, and Frank, as well as two female servants, at 278 Hamilton Street in Albany, Albany County, New York. He was working as a lace buyer.

On 17 February 1903, Benjamin applied for a passport. He had left the United States on 10 January 1903 and planned on staying for another two years in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Benjamin sailed from Liverpool on 26 December 1908 aboard the Lusitania. He arrived in New York on 2 January 1909. He was listed as a 'merchant' on the passenger list.

On 19 April 1910, Benjamin lived with his parents and brothers Elliott, Robert, Edwin, Jules, and Francis (and a female servant Ida Slavick) in an apartment building at 306 W. 99th Street in Manhattan, New York. His father continued to work as a hops dealer while Benjamin was now listed as embroideries salesman (as was his brother Edwin).

Benjamin boarded the Titanic at Cherboug. He was assigned cabin C-111.

The night of April 15th, Edith Rosenbaum stated that she had seen [Foreman] near her in the ship's library about two hours before the ship struck the iceberg. Abraham L. Solomon said that after the collision, he saw Foreman on deck with a life belt and a steamer rug, and asked him to come to an upper deck to enter a lifeboat. Mr. Foreman, remained on the lower deck.

Benjamin's younger brother Edwin filed letters of administration for his estate, valued at $10,000 (although it was later valued at $32,801). There apparently was some confusion as to whether Benjamin was actually on board the Titanic, so Edwin had to secure letters from Edith Rosenbaum, Abraham Solomon, and Samuel Goldenberg to prove his presence aboard the ship.


Articles and Stories

New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 

Comment and discuss

  1. James V. Bianco said:

    Some information on Benjamin Foreman: Benjamin L. Foreman born Nov 1881 Albany, NY. Parents: Henry W. Foreman , a prosperous Hapts Merchant (born Dec 1855 Chicago,IL died 1925 Manhatten, NY) and Rose Laventall (born 1859 Germany died 1939 NY) siblings: Benjamin Born Nov 1881 (he was the eldest) Elliot S. Born Jul 1883 Robert N. Born Apr 1886 Edwin Born Jun 1888 Jules L. Born Jun 1892 died May 1968 Md. Lucy Fox Frank L. Born Jun 1894 also.. Henry W. Foreman was the son of Benjamin Foreman and Rose Heymann who were German Immigrants married at Chicago, Feb 22,... Read full post

  2. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Benjamin Foreman was in the financial end of the fashion business in New York but had apparently worked as a buying agent at one point for a textile house. Aboard Titanic he made friends with Edith Rosenbaum (Russell) and is mentioned by her in some of her accounts. She referred to him in one 1912 interview as "B.L. Foreman." According to her, he was with a firm called Kugelman, Frankland and Foreman but had previously been connected with the lace manufacturer, Einstein, Wolff and Co. ("for many years," she said). In her words, Foreman "was coming home from Paris, having made the most... Read full post

  3. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    In addition to this information, there is some clue to Foreman's activities on board Titanic in material that George Behe has. He has graciously loaned this to me for my story on Edith Russell but the bulk of that data will be in George's forthcoming book. Each little piece of the puzzle helps to flesh out the lives of these men and women and the work that's going into books like George's will be, in the end, such a moving tribute to the victims and survivors.

  4. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Here's the text of an article I submitted to the White Star Journal a couple of years ago--note that Ben Foreman's mother's maiden name was LAVENTHAL instead of Laventall. THE LAST SIGHTINGS OF BENJAMIN FOREMAN Benjamin L. Foreman was a 30-year-old Jewish man traveling first-class on Titanic. A native of Albany, New York, he was one of 6 sons born to Henry W. and Rose (Laventhal) Foreman. After a brief trip to Europe he intended to return to his home in New York City. Mr. Foreman was single and after his death, his family obtained an affidavit from Samuel Goldenberg detailing what they... Read full post

  5. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Phil, Great stuff. I knew you had the goods but didn't know you'd published that piece. Foreman was among several businessmen that Edith Russell recalled socializing with on Titanic. The others were George Rheims, Herman Klaber, Robert Daniel, among others. She also met a number of the other fashion buyers including one of the Gimbels Department Store buyers (she doesn't specify if it was Calderhead or McGough) and a number of buyers from Toronto (unnamed). After she got off Carpathia, she went with her parents to a cafe frequented by the rag trade to meet friends who asked her for... Read full post

  6. Charles Finn said:

    Thanks for all of this information. I am trying to find a picture of Benjamin Foreman at the request of his relatives. Does anyone have a suggestion where I might start looking? My first thought was here -I fear that if there's not a picture here, there may not be one to be had... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Charles Finn

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Gavin Bell, UK
Homer Thiel, USA

References and Sources

Henry W. Foreman obituary, New York Times, 13 January 1925
Rose Lavenstall Foreman obituary, New York Sun, 24 December 1939
Henry W. Foreman household, 1892 NY State census, Albany County, New York, population schedule, Albany Ward 14, ED 4, page 7, lines 22-29
Benjamin L. Foreman application, US Passport Applications 1795-1925; NARA microfilm USM1834, roll 54
Henry W. Foreman household, 1900 US census, Albany County, New York, population schedule, Albany Ward 14, ED 50, sheet 10A, dwelling 163, family 214; NARA microfilm T623, roll 1005.
Benjamin L. Foreman application, US Passport Applications 1795-1925; NARA microfilm USM1834, roll 24
Benj. L. Foreman entry, New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957, Lusitania arriving 2 January 1909; NARA microfilm NYT715, roll 1184.
Henry U. Foreman household, 1910 US census, New York, New York, population schedule, Manhattan Ward 12, ED 738, SD 1, sheet 11A, dwelling 69, family 235; NARA microfilm T624, roll 1028.
New York Herald, 1913
Proving Foreman on Titanic. New York Times, 15 May 1912, page 5
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2017) Benjamin Laventall Foreman (ref: #111, last updated: 7th September 2017, accessed 10th April 2020 12:48:20 PM)