Encyclopedia Titanica

Herman Klaber

Herman Klaber
Herman Klaber

Mr Herman Klaber was born in San Francisco, California on 18 November 1870.

He was the son of George Klaber (b. 1825) and his wife Bertha (b. 1844). His father, a coal merchant, was born in Prague, Bohemia, now part of the modern-day Czech Republic, and had come to the USA whilst still young, being naturalised in New York in 1848. His mother was a native of Baden, Germany. Herman had just one sibling, his elder sister Sarah (1869-1904, later Mrs Herman Kaufman).

Herman first appears on the 1880 census, still living in San Francisco. His father died on 16 December 1893.

When the 1900 census was conducted Herman was living and working as a hops merchant in Tacoma, Washington, looking after the interests of the hops firm Klaber, Wolf & Netter in the northwest region. He had come to Payallup, Washington in the early 1890s and worked as a hops buyer and warehouse manager. Later moving to Tacoma he developed his business and became a hops broker, wool merchant, cigar store owner and insurance agent.

He was married around 1907 to Gertrude Ginsberg (b. 3 September 1885), a native of Sacramento, California and the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Their only child, a daughter named Bernice Janet, was born in Portland, Oregon on 8 February 1910. The small family had homes in San Francisco, Tacoma and Portland. Herman appears on the 1900 census twice: at home with his wife and daughter in Portland; and secondly with his widowed mother at the home of Herman Kaufman, a hotelier, and his family, the husband of his late sister Sarah. His mother later died on 14 February 1911.

Herman departed from San Francisco in January 1912, crossing the Atlantic aboard Olympic with the intention of visiting the hop-producing districts in Europe with which his business was associated. For his return to the USA he boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April 1912 as a first class passenger (ticket number 113028 which cost £26, 11s).

Herman Klaber died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His estate was valued at in excess of $500,000 and his brother-in-law Herman Kaufman was his will's executor.

He is remembered on his parents' gravestone in Salem Memorial Park, Colma, California.

After Klaber's death on the Titanic, his widow Gertrude took herself and her daughter back to Sacramento to live with her parents. She later settled in San Francisco and never remarried and died on 17 March 1961. She is buried with her family in the Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma, California.

Herman's daughter Bernice later married Samuel Isador Jacobs (1907-1997), an attorney from Sacramento. The couple resided in San Francisco where Bernice died on 23 February 1962 aged 52.

Newspaper Articles

San Francisco Examiner (16 April 1912) HERMAN KLABER ON BOARD THE TITANIC
The San Francisco Call (16 April 1912) Oregonians on Ship
The San Francisco Call (16 April 1912) RESIDENTS OF SACRAMENTO ON BOARD VESSEL
Stephen Hold and Wife and H. Klaber Passengers on the Titanic
Camden Post-Telegram (27 April 1912) MR. SUTTON'S BODY TO BE SENT HOME
Chicago Examiner (25 February 1914) TITANIC WIDOW KILLED BY A FORMER SUITOR
Bart Ripp News Tribune (12 April 2001) King of hops: The legacy of Herman Klaber


San Francisco Examiner (1912) Herman Klaber
San Francisco Chronicle (1912) Herman Klaber
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Comment and discuss




  2. Leigh Anthony Ross

    Does anyone know the age of 1st class passenger Herman Klaber? Thank-you

  3. Leigh Anthony Ross

    when he sailed on the Titanic

  4. Brian Meister

    Hello Leigh, According to census records, Hermann Klaber was 41 years old, having been born in Nov of 1870 in San Francisco. A word of caution here, as sometimes these ages are proved incorrect, but it's a start. Happy New Year! Brian

  5. Leigh Anthony Ross

    Thank-you Brian

  6. Karrie Wright

    Karrie Wright

    Where do you guys find this stuff if it's not on their page? Karrie

  7. Michael H. Standart

    Karrie, some of the people who are responding to you are researchers who take an interest in passengers and crew. Quite a few of them have collected an impressive stack of notes, stories and records over the years. Not all of them are going to appear right here on ET because there's just too much information there to make it practical to transcribe to this website, copyright issues, or they just don't have time to do so.

  8. Phillip Gowan

    Klaber's exact date of birth has eluded me despite years of searching all sorts of documents--the census record is the closest out there that we've found. Even his three granddaughters don't know for sure when he was born.

  9. Ben Holme

    The San Francisco papers invariably reported Klaber's age as "not quite 40" or words to that effect, but I'm inclined to accept the Census information. Phil -- I'm very interested to hear that you have been in contact with Klaber's grandchildren. I'm reminded here of a thread a while back concerning descendants of 1st class passengers, and whether or not their wealth has retained through the years. Klaber undoubtedly left a huge estate from his hop farming, and as Herman and Gertrude only had one daughter, the wealth couldn't have dispersed into lesser chunks, as was the case with... Read full post

  10. Phillip Gowan

    Hey Ben, While I've not met the Klaber descendants nor visited their homes, I would assume they are all quite "comfortable." Not only did Klaber leave a nice legacy but his daughter married a well-to-do man. Although Klaber's daughter died relatively young her husband just died in very recent years and left the three daughters so I'm sure they came in for most of their father's estate as well (he had remarried and the second wife I assume would have gotten at least a portion of that estate and she is still living--or was the last I knew). The one I have been in contact with lives in Oregon... Read full post

  11. Iain Stuart Yardley

    Afternoon Phil, I'll be in Bradford for the exhibition on Feb 14/15. May see you there! Cheers, Boz

  12. Phillip Gowan

    Hey Boz--I'll be working at the exhibition from the 13th thru the 18th--when you get there ask for me and I'll be around somewhere- Will be back in London on the night of the 19th and maybe some of us can have dinner that are in the London area--then off for a weekend in Budapest to visit Mr. Tanito and gorge on dessert at Lancelot's Restaurant--the best in the world! Back to London on Monday night the 23rd of February and flying back to South Carolina on the 24th. Surely some of us can hook up somewhere/sometime. Phil

  13. Ben Holme

    Hi Phil! Add'l information on Klaber's descendants is appreciated. I was unaware that his only daughter did not live well into old age. Having read various obituaries on the man, many naming him "millionaire hop king", I somehow suspected that his descendants would still be comfortably off. Would be great to see you in Feb! I would be delighted of the opportunity to talk passengers with you again. Dinner in London sounds good. I'm sure Jemma would be up for it too. I meant to ask; how did the Portsmouth exhibition go?

  14. Phillip Gowan

    Hey Ben, I hear that Portsmouth went very well but I missed that one--was on the big trip to Africa, Cape Verde Islands, etc. Bristol was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of the crew and passenger relatives--one of the most interesting being a niece of Ethel Beane. She had done a lot of research on the family and had quite a collection of photos as well. Hope you, Jemma, and I and any others interested can get together next month in London. Be thinking about a good restaurant you've always wanted to try! Phil

  15. Maria Fernandez

    hey, can i pop by and say hello? lol j/k

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr Herman Klaber
Age: 41 years 4 months and 27 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Married to Gertrude Ginsberg
Occupation: Businessman
Embarked: Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 113028, £26 11s
Cabin No. C124
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Identified

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