Benjamin Laventall Foreman was born in Albany, New York on 7 November 1881.
Coming from a Jewish background, he was the son of Henry W. Foreman (1855-1925), wholesale hop dealer, and Rose Laventall (1860-1939). His father hailed from Illinois whilst mother was born in New York; they were married in 1881.
The eldest of six children, all sons, Benjamin’s siblings were: Elliott Schwartz (b. 8 July 1883; d. 1971), Robert Nathan (b. 12 April 1885; d. 1968), Edwin Henry (b. 9 June 1888; d. 1957), Jules (b. 26 January 1892; d. 1968) and Frank Lawrence (b. 6 April 1894; d. 1970).
On 16 February 1892, Benjamin, his parents and brothers, as well as a servant (Kate Quinn) were shown living in Albany, New York on that year’s census. His father worked as an agent at the time. In the summer of 1895 he graduated from Albany Grammar School.
According to the Knickerbocker Press (16 April 1912), Foreman first left Albany at age 18 and settled in New York City where he began working with a Manhattan-based banking firm. On 3 May 1900 he 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 and he was described as standing at 6’ with a low forehead, brown eyes, medium nose and mouth, pointed chin, dark brown hair, fair complexion and 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 the census on 11 June 1900 as living with his parents and siblings, as well as two female servants, at 278 Hamilton Street in Albany. He was described as a lace buyer. The entirety of the family soon shifted to Manhattan and by the time of the 1905 census were residents of an unspecified address in that city.
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 and arrived in New York on 2 January 1909. He was listed as a merchant on the passenger list.
On 19 April 1910, the time of that year’s census, Foreman was shown living with his parents and brothers (and a female servant Ida Slavick) in an apartment building at 306 West 99th Street in Manhattan, New York. His father continued to work as a hops dealer whilst Benjamin was then described as embroideries salesman, as was his brother Edwin.
Benjamin boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg (ticket number 113051 which cost £27, 15s) after having conducted business in Europe for his commission firm Kugleman, Frankland & Foreman. Whilst aboard he occupied cabin C-111.
Edith Rosenbaum stated that on the night of 15 April 1912 she had seen Foreman near her in the ship's library about two hours before the ship struck the iceberg. Abraham L. Salomon 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 Foreman died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Mr Forman is a son of Henry Forman, a former Albany wholesale hop merchant. He was born in Albany and lived on Hamilton street. Lately he had been engaged as a traveling salesman for a New York brokerage house. - The Argus, 16 April 1912
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 remained some doubt as to whether Benjamin was actually on board the Titanic and Edwin had to secure affidavits from survivors Edith Rosenbaum, Abraham Salomon and Samuel Goldenberg to prove his presence aboard the ship.
Benjamin L, Forman, one of the victims of the Titanic disaster, a member of the commission firm of Kugleman, Frankland & Foreman, left an estate of the total value of $73,457. The net value is $32,801. The father of the decedent is the sole beneficiary. - The Evening World, 14 January 1913
His parents remained in New York; father Henry died 12 January 1925 whilst his mother died on 23 December 1939. Both are buried in Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings, New York.