Encyclopedia Titanica

Henriette Virginie Yvois

Second Class passenger from Paris, France

Henriette Virginie Yvois was born in Paris, France on 22 April 1889.

She was the daughter of Modest Henry Theobad Yvois (b. 1860), a restaurant worker originally from Vézannes, Yonne, and Maria Ann Willems (b. 1867), a florist from Brussels, Belgium.

Her parents married after her birth in 1891 and she had a younger brother, René Émil Henri (1891-1952).

Henriette, a model, lived at 5 Rue des Pyramides Paris. She boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a second class passenger (ticket number 248747, which cost £13) and it appears that she travelled together with the film maker William H. Harbeck (ticket number 248746); there is speculation that they were lovers but there may be a more innocent explanation. It would appear that they were the couple observed playing cards for much of the journey by Lawrence Beesley.

"In the opposite corner are the young American kinematograph photographer and his young wife, evidently French, very fond of playing patience, which she is doing now, while he sits back in his chair watching the game and interposing from time to time with suggestions. I did not see them again."

Henriette Yvois died in the sinking and her body, if recovered, was never identified. Harbeck, who also perished, later had his body recovered from the ocean and among his possessions was a lady's purse which was later identified as belonging to Miss Yvois.

It appears by the time of her death Miss Yvois' parents were divorced.  A claim for compensation made to a Paris court by her mother Mme Willems was rejected with costs against her.

Henriette Yvois (possibly)
A photo purported to be of Miss Yvois but the identification is unconfirmed.



1. There is disagreement over the spelling of her name. When "Brownie Harbeck" identified the purse found with the body of William Harbeck she told officials it belonged to Henriette Yvois; another source spells it "Yrois".  In the outward passenger list she is listed as Harriett, in an onboard Second Class passenger list preserved by the Nova Scotia Archives she is shown as Miss H. Yodis.
2. Evidence for the suggestion that Yrois was Harbeck's mistress: i. The closeness of the ticket numbers.
ii. Beesley's observations of a man and his "wife". Presumably, Beesley assumed that a man and an unmarried young woman would not be unchaperoned and concluded from their behaviour that they were married.
iii. The fact that Yrois' purse was identified with Harbeck's body, although how "Brownie Harbeck" knew this remains a mystery.

References and Sources

La Gazette des sociétés et du droit financier, 15 January 1914, Dame Willems c. Compagnie White Star Line

Research Articles

Peter Engberg-Klarström Titanica! (2018) Lost Ladies
Who were they and why did they die?

Documents and Certificates

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912, National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279]).
Marriages, births, deaths and injuries that have occurred on board during the voyage, PRO London, BT 100/259-260


Lawrence Beesley The Loss of the SS Titanic
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Comment and discuss

  1. Douglas Prescott

    According to a French genealogy site, Genealogies des Francais du Titanic, Henriette Virginie YVOIS, born 22 April 1889 to Marie Anna WILLEMS and Modeste Henry Theobad YVOIS, is a 2nd class passenger on Titanic. She has a brother, Rene Emile Henri YVOIS, born 19 March 1891.


    Bonjour, Henriette était une cousine au 9ème degré de ma mère née Yvois Julienne... On raconte beaucoup de bêtises sur cette jeune femme : qu'elle aurait été la maîtresse d'Harbeck, cinématographe... Mais ce n'est pas sûr... Read full post

  3. Seumas

    Hello, Henriette was a 9th cousin of my mother born Yvois Julienne... Lots of nonsense is said about this young woman: that she would have been Harbeck's mistress, a cinematographer... But it's not certain that they shared the same cabin with two 2nd class beds. I discovered that Henriette had already traveled in 1911 and that her destination was Harbeck's home in Seattle. On the other hand, the photograph of Henriette Virginie Yvois which appears on the site will come from an auction sale. But neither the place of the photo nor the... Read full post

  4. Arun Vajpey

    Henriette Yvois is mentioned in an article called Lost Ladies here on ET that deals with the 12 Second Class women who died in the disaster. Like her ET bio, it merely speculates on the possibility that William Harbeck and Henriette had more than a business relationship but also acknowledges that it might have just been a rumour. In 1912, if a man and woman not married to each other purchased tickets together, it would be cause for rumours. In this case, the fact that their tickets had consecutive numbers (248746 Harbeck and 248747 Yvois) would have made people assume that they were... Read full post

  5. Thomas Krom

    It appears that the theory of Mr. Harbeck and Miss Yvois being a couple was based on the assumption of fellow second class passenger Lawrence Beesley (1877-1967). Beesley mentioned them in his book "THE LOSS OF THE S. S. TITANIC: ITS STORY AND ITS LESSONS" as follows: "No one was more interested than a young American kinematograph photographer, who, with his wife, followed the whole scene with eager eyes, turning the handle of his camera with the most evident pleasure as he recorded the unexpected incident on his films." Later he mentioned them again on the 14th of April in the second... Read full post

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Henriette Virginie Yvois
Age: 22 years 11 months and 23 days (Female)
Nationality: French
Marital Status: Single
Last Residence: in Paris, France
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 248747, £13
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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William H. Harbeck

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