Encyclopedia Titanica

Edgar Joseph Meyer

Edgar Joseph Meyer
Edgar Joseph Meyer

Mr Edgar Joseph Meyer was born in San Francisco, California on 13 January 1884.

He was the son of Eugene Marc Meyer (1842-1925), a dry goods merchant and later a banker, and Harriett Newmark (1852-1922). His father was born in Alsace, Germany (now in modern-day France) whilst his mother was born in New York and was of mixed German and English heritage. They were married in Los Angeles on 20 November 1867.

Edgar's known siblings were: Rosalie (1869-1956, later Mrs Sigmund Stern), Elise (1872-1953, later Mrs Abraham Stern), Florence (1873-1930, later, Mrs George Blumenthal), Eugene Isaac (1875-1959), Bertha Ruth (1877-1967, later Mrs Alfred Cook), Aline (1879-1966, later Mrs Charles Liebman) and Walter Eugene (1881-1957).

Edgar and his family later moved east and appear on the 1900 census as residents of Ocean Avenue, Monmouth, New Jersey and he was then described as a bank clerk.

Edgar was married in 1909 to Leila Saks (b. 1886), a native of Baltimore, Maryland and the daughter German parents. The couple had one daughter, Jane (b. 19 May 1911, later Stern).

Residents of Manhattan, Mr and Mrs Meyer boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as first class passengers (ticket number PC 17604, which cost £82, 3s, 5d). Leila's father had died two days before sailing on 8 April 1912 following a protracted illness and the decision to travel on Titanic was a hastily arranged affair following notification of his death.

Mrs Meyer later recalled:

"I tried and tried to get Edgar to come into the lifeboat with me, and pleaded to be allowed to stay behind and wait until he could leave, he not caring to leave before all the women had been saved. Mr. Meyer finally persuaded me to leave, reminding me of our one-year-old child at home. I entered the lifeboat and watched until the Titanic sank, but only for a short time did I see my husband standing beside the rail and assisting other women into boats in which he might have been saved."

Leila was rescued in lifeboat 6 but her husband perished in the disaster. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

His parents later resided in Manhattan; his mother died in 1922 and his father in 1925. His widow Leila later remarried before her death in 1957. His daughter Jane (later Mrs George A. Stern) died in 1984.

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
New York Tribune, April 19, 1912

Newspaper Articles

The San Francisco Call (16 April 1912) RELATIVES HERE AWAIT TIDINGS
The Associated Press Worcester Telegram (18 April 1912) Name Not On List But Woman Is Safe
Le Journal (20 April 1912) How Mrs. Meyer escaped
New York Times (23 April 1912) Edgar J. Meyer
New York Times (23 April 1912) EDGAR J. MEYER ANOTHER HERO
Helped Mrs. Harris Into a Boat and Died with Her Husband
New York Times (30 April 1912) Relatives Only at Ceremony of Dorothy Drey and Horace A. Saks
New York Times (3 February 1915) TITANIC VICTIM'S ESTATE
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Gavin Bell, UK
George Behe
Hermann Söldner
Craig Stringer
Geoff Whitfield

Comment and discuss

  1. Jan C. Nielsen

    What does anyone know about this passenger, who perished in the disaster? His family appears to have had some strong connections to San Francisco, and to fellow passenger Dr. Washington Dodge, in particular. His relatives later ganged up on Dr. Dodge and ousted Dodge from the presidency of the Federal Telegraph Company, on January 14, 1919. Several months later, Dr. Dodge committed suicide. Any information would be appreciated.

  2. Randy Bryan Bigham

    Jan, He and his wife, daughter of the founder of Saks Fifth Avenue, were among the people the Duff Gordons met on board Titanic. In her memoirs (p 167), "Lucile" writes: "...After dinner we went down into the lounge, where we met Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Meyer. I had my little autograph book with me and got them to write in it. It was one of the "Confession" books, which were so popular just then. Mr. Meyer filled in his "likes," "abominations," etc., and then came to the column marked "madnesses." He laughed as he said: "I have only one - to live," and wrote it down. In less than two hours... Read full post

  3. Jan C. Nielsen

    Thanks, Randy. Gosh, if that little book shows up somewhere it would be worth a small fortune. But who knows if it survived. I'm really intrigued by the Meyer family's connection to Dr. Dodge. Edgar's father, Eugene, might have been the one who got Dr. Dodge the vice president position at the Anglo London Paris National Bank, in San Francisco, right after the disaster. Several years later, Dodge left the bank, and took over the Presidency of Federal Telegraph Company. Very likely, through Lazard Freres in New York, Eugene invested heavily in the Federal Telegraph Company, which had its... Read full post

  4. Randy Bryan Bigham

    Jan, The Meyer connection seems curious.I thought the Meyers were from New York. Did Mrs. Meyer, or else Edgar's side of the family, move out to San Francisco after the Titanic? You are probably onto something as to Edgar's father's grudge - re: Dr. Dodge's survival - at least having partly to do with his acrimony toward Dodge. But it seems like something more is there. Sour grapes over some sort of business deal gone awry? As to the odd name "C. Altschul" in the cable you refer to, this might well have been a misspelling but you probably have considered that. The wireless was... Read full post

  5. Jan C. Nielsen

    I've been trying to find out more about Edgar Meyer. His father, Marc Eugene Meyer, generally known as Eugene Meyer, was born in 1847, and lived for many years in Los Angeles. He eventually moved to San Francisco, and raised a large family, which included Edgar, two sisters, and the youngest, Eugene, who was born in 1875. Eugene, Sr., moved to New York to become the managing partner of the Lazard Freres office there in 1893. His son, Eugene, Jr., worked there too, apparently. Eugene, like his father, became very successful in business. The two sisters married the Stern brothers,... Read full post

  6. Randy Bryan Bigham

    In my research I came across a very good photo of a Mrs. Eugene Meyer, Jr., taken in the teens or 20s. It's from the Library of Congress photo collection.

  7. Michael H. Standart

    Uhhh...Jan...I smell one helluva book here with all the research you've done into Dr. Washington Dodge. Is one in the making? If not, you might want to consider it. Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  8. Jan C. Nielsen

    No, Michael, but an ET Article is coming shortly. This Meyer family connection is important because it links the 1919 financial scandal and Dr. Dodge's death, with the Titanic disaster. The Meyer family was disenfranchised by Dr. Dodge's financial dealings, and had already lost a close family member on the Titanic --where Dodge had survived. Thus, they had more than one motivation to destroy Dr. Dodge. And with all their financial power, they had the wherewithal to do it.

  9. Michael H. Standart

    Well, an article can lead to bigger and better things. So in regards the book;go for it Cordially, Michael H. Standart

  10. Jan C. Nielsen

    Here's some corroboration of my theory: in the 1890s, Eugene Meyer (Sr.) lived only two blocks away from Dr. Dodge, in San Francisco. Sigmund Stern, and wife Rosalie (Edgar's sister), lived a couple of blocks in the other direction. Meyer's name, however, was not on the list of notables who attended Dodge's wedding to Alice Lampson Shepherd, in 1891. I went to the bookstore to get Kathrine Graham's biography, but it's sold out.

  11. Jan C. Nielsen

    Here's a picture of Edgar Meyer, taken in about 1890.

  12. Phillip Gowan

    Great photo Jan. Thanks for posting the link. I'm supposing that's his little sister and see a definite resemblance between her and Edgar's own daughter, Jane (who looked nothing like her mother).

  13. Ben Holme

    Hi Jan, What a fascinating find! Edgar Meyer was one of about five 1st class passengers whose photograph I doubted I would ever see. Despite being a well-known resident of New York, I don't recall seeing his photo in the NY times in the weeks following the disaster. Best Regards, Ben

  14. Daniel Klistorner

    Jan, Thanks for that great photo. It's amazing, he's young on that photo, but he didn't change much when he grew up, he basically looks the same (but younger) as in a New York Times photo (I think 19 April 1912). Daniel.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Edgar Joseph Meyer
Age: 28 years 3 months and 2 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Leila Saks
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17604, £82 3s 5d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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