Encyclopedia Titanica

George Dunton Widener

George Dunton Widener
George Dunton Widener

Mr George Dunton Widener, 50, from Elkins Park, PA, was the son of P.A.B. Widener, a member of the board of the Fidelity Trust Company of Philadelphia, the bank that controlled IMM, the owners of the White Star Line. He was heir to probably the largest fortune in Philadelphia. However, George Widener was a wealthy man in his own right running a successful street-car firm in Philadelphia.


The Widener home in Elkins park, Pennsylvania; Mr Widener

Mr Widener and family had been staying at the Paris Ritz Hotel and he, his wife Eleanor Widener, son Harry Elkins Widener and their two servants Edwin Keeping and Emily Geiger boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg. The Widener's occupied cabins C-80/82.

On the afternoon of April 14th, Widener and his wife were standing on the promenade deck talking to J. Bruce Ismay when Captain Smith passed them on his way aft. Without comment he handed Ismay one of the ice warnings from the White Star liner Baltic, Ismay simply put the message in his pocket and headed below.

Later that day Captain Smith joined a dinner party given in his honour by the Wideners in the ship's à la carte restaurant. The guests included, John B. Thayer and Mrs Thayer, Major Archibald Butt, Clarence Moore and William Carter and his wife Lucile Carter. A little before 9pm the Captain excused himself and headed for the bridge. After the ladies had retired the men sat in the smoking room talking. They were still there when the iceberg was struck.

Later, George and Harry escorted Eleanor to lifeboat 4. While the boats continued loading Colonel Archibald Gracie observed George Widener leaning against a railing in deep discussion with John B. Thayer, Mrs Thayer had also boarded boat #4.

As the ship sank deeper the Wideners and Mr Thayer were joined by Charles Duane Williams. All four men died in the disaster.


  1. At the church of St Paul in Elkins Park are two Tiffany Windows in memory of George and Harry Widener. The interior of the church was rebuilt in 1912-13, thanks to Mrs Widener. George was the senior warden at St Pauls and Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township. Both the Church and The Township presented Resolutions to Mrs Widener.

References and Sources

John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas (1994) Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy, 2nd ed. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 85260 493 X
Walter Lord (1976) A Night to Remember. London, Penguin. ISBN 0 14 004757 3
Don Lynch & Ken Marschall (1992) Titanic: An Illustrated History. London, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0 340 56271 4

Research Articles

David Whitmire Titanica! (2008) The Wideners: An American Family
A Biographical Sketch of one of America's richest families

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (10 July 1908) P. A. B. WIDENER HOME; SUBPOENAED AT PIER
Evening Bulletin (15 April 1912) George D. Widener
Chicago American (16 April 1912) 300 OF TITANIC'S PASSENGERS WERE BOOKED AT PARIS
New York Times (16 April 1912) LORD ROTHES AWAITS WIFE
New York Times (17 April 1912) The Wideners
Le Figaro (18 April 1912) Mr. Widener
The Toronto Daily Star (19 April 1912) LAST MAN TO LEAVE TITANIC WAS COLONEL GRACIE, U.S.A.
Washington Times (19 April 1912) WIDENER WAS HEROIC TO END, SAYS FRIEND
Traction Magnate Kissed Wife Good-By, Then Went Back To Die
North American (20 April 1912) BARBER THROWN FROM TITANIC AS IT SANK
Daily Home News (20 April 1912) Jersey Women Tell Thrilling Tales
Chicago Daily News (20 April 1912) Not All Stock Issued
New York Times (20 April 1912) PRAISE ASTOR AND BUTT
New York Times (25 April 1912) TRIBUTE TO J. C. SMITH
Camden Post-Telegram (27 April 1912) MR. SUTTON'S BODY TO BE SENT HOME
New York Times (21 May 1912) P. A. B. WIDENER GIVES $4,000,000 TO SCHOOL
The Washington Herald (30 November 1912) Third Widow, Due to Titanic Wreck, Becomes a Mother
New York Times (15 August 1915) MRS. WIDENER NOT TO WED
New York Times (6 October 1915) Mrs. G. D. Widener to Marry Dr. Rice
New York Times (7 October 1915) EXPLORER RICE WEDS MRS. G. D. WIDENER
Evening Bulletin (14 July 1937) MRS. A. H. RICE DIES IN PARIS AT 69
New York Times (11 August 1937) TWO RECEIVE SHARES IN ELKINS 27 MILLION


Philadelphia Inquirer (1912) George Widener
Search archive online


Leon Clemmer
Michael A. Findlay, USA
Linda Greaves, USA

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr George Dunton Widener
Age: 50 years 9 months and 29 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Occupation: Banker
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113503, £211 10s
Cabin No. C80
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

Linked Biographies

Page Options

Watch this page

Improve this Biography

If you have any corrections or something to add please  get in touch