Encyclopedia Titanica

John David Baumann

Mr John David Baumann was born in San Francisco, California on 9 February 1864.

He was the son of a German father from Bavaria, John Baumann (b. 1825), a musician, and a Swiss mother, Verena (née Heitzelman?) (b. 1833).

He had five known siblings, all sisters: Emma (b. 1854), Evelina (b. 1857), Verena (c. 1861-1864), Augusta (b. 1862) and Louisa (b. 1867).

The family appear on the 1870 census living in San Francisco and by the time of the 1880 census John is still living with his parents, then aged 16 and still attending school. Following this the family drops off the radar. By 1892 Baumann appeared on electoral registers and was then a resident of 115 Eddy in San Francisco. His father died in Philadelphia on 2 August 1881 but what became of his mother and surviving siblings is not clear.

By 1905, at the time of his passport application, he was a resident of 118 Maiden Lane, Albany, New York. He described himself then as standing at 5' 9½", with an oval face, dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair and he worked as an importer. With offices later at 120 Maiden Lane, John D. Baumann & Co. were engaged in the hemp trade, also being described as jute, gum and timber merchants.

A figure, possibly John D. Baumann himself, outside his New York business.

1909 was to be an eventual year for Baumann. In February Baumann & Co. were sued for $266,249 by London merchants and later that year, in a reversal, the press show that Baumann had sought damages in the Supreme Court against a Cuban named Salvador Comas on the charge of alleged conversion, a business deal on peanuts not going to his satisfaction (New York Times, 7 August 1909).

Baumann was acquainted with the theatrical manager Henry Birkhardt Harris and, in years previous had granted him a favour in a time of need. By 1912 Mr Harris and his wife wound up in London and found Baumann there with "affairs going against him, and arranged for his return to America" (New York Times, 20 April 1912), Harris returning that favour.

Whilst little is known about Baumann's time on Titanic, it is stated that he remained with Mr Harris after he had placed his wife in the last lifeboat to successfully leave the ship.

Mr Baumann was lost in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

In September 1912, a Mr John S. Fanning of East Orange, New Jersey, a creditor of the Baumann estate, applied for letters of administration for the estate of Baumann. Mr Fanning said that the will of Mr Baumann named Henry B. Harris, the theatrical manager who also lost his life on Titanic, as executor. The attorneys for Fanning said that they knew little about Baumann's affairs, except that at times he had been wealthy and at others very poor. When he was drowned he was returning from London, where he had financed one of his companies. Mr Baumann's will left his estate in trust to Mr Harris for a sister after a claim of $10,000 has been paid to Mr Harris. He left to Mr Harris his Masonic charm, watch and chain, studs, pins and other personal possessions.

References and Sources

New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, New Jersey
Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Byron Collection, The Museum of The City Of New York
Newark Evening News, New York, Sept. 7 1912

Newspaper Articles

New York Times (27 June 1907) NEW YORK INCORPORATIONS
New York Times (4 February 1909) Judgment for $266,249 Loan
New York Times (7 August 1909) CUBA REFUSED HIS PEANUTS
New York Times (20 April 1912) Mrs. Harris Gains Strength
Unidentified Newspaper (7 September 1912) Seeks Lien on Estate of a Titanic Victim
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Comment and discuss

  1. Marvin Jensen

    Marvin Jensen

    Hi, I am looking for additional information on John D. Baumann, other than what is on this site. Anything anyone can share would be appreciated. Thanks, Marvin...

  2. Jeanne Herzig

    Brian, Daniel, George and Philip, It may be a long shot but my great grandmother was Anna Baumann. She always hinted at a relative aboard the Titanic but was never specific with relatives. I am trying to make a connection to John Baumann and would appreciate it if you could email me any info that you may have acquired in your Titanic searches. I have read through the message board and am aware that he was a businessman (gums, etc) and that he was associated with the Harris' but I would really like to get further info on his wife, Eve and his supposed daughter and anything else that could... Read full post

  3. Daniel Klistorner

    Jeanne, Not sure if I'm the 'Daniel' you were referring to, but the only thing that I can help with is the claim filed against the White Star Line by John D Baumann's sister, for $25,000 for the loss of his life. I haven’t ordered a copy, but will be glad to help point you in the right direction so you can get a copy. Please feel free to email me privately (via the ET message option). Regards, Daniel.

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Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Mr John David Baumann
Age: 48 years 2 months and 6 days (Male)
Nationality: American
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Businessman
Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17318, £25 18s 6d
Died in the Titanic disaster (15th April 1912)
Body Not Recovered

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