Mr Martin Rothschild

Mr Martin Rothschild was born in Manhattan, New York on 12 December 1865.

He was the son of Sampson Jacob Rothschild (1818-1899), a merchant, and Mary Greissman (b. 1824), both Prussian-born Jewish immigrants. His father had come to the USA around 1846, settling in Monroe, Alabama and was married to his wife sometime after 1850. 

Martin was the youngest of five known children, his siblings being: Jacob Henry (1851-1913), Simon (1854-1908), Samuel (b. 1857) and Hannah (1860-1911, later Mrs William Henry Theobald). Through his brother Jacob he was the uncle of the poet and satirist Dorothy Parker, née Rothschild (1893-1967).

The Rothschild family had moved to Manhattan, New York around 1858 and Martin first appears on the 1870 census living with his family, his father being described as the operator of a fancy goods store and with his two elder sons in his employ. By the time of the 1880 census Martin was described as a stock clerk; he later operated his own clothing manufacturing company and amassed his fortune.

He was married on 6 February 1895 to Elizabeth Jane Anne Barrett (b. 1858). The pair were an unlikely couple; he was a wealthy Jewish man and she was his employee, a slightly older seamstress of devout Irish Roman Catholic background. 

The couple, who were childless, lived at 753 West End Avenue, New York but travelled extensively and were away for up to six months at a time.

Rothschild's 1900 passport describes him as standing at 5' 8", bald with brown eyes, a high forehead, a round face, small mouth, average nose and fair complexion. 

Following a trip to Europe Mr and Mrs Rothschild boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as first class passengers (ticket number PC 17603 which cost £59, 8s) and apparently occupied a cabin on C-deck.

After the collision steward Frederick Dent Ray saw Mr Rothschild coming out of his stateroom on C deck. "I spoke to him and asked him where his wife was. He said she had gone off in a boat. I said, 'This is rather serious.' He said, 'I don't think there's any occasion for it.'" Then the two men casually walked up to A deck where Ray went to a lifeboat.

Martin Rothschild perished in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was never identified. His wife and her pet dog were among the rescued.

Rothschild is commemorated in the Barrett family mausoleum in St Mary's Cemetery in Watkins Glen, New York.

  
Memorial to Martin Rothschild inside the Barrett mausoleum, St Mary's Cemetery, Watkins Glen, NY
(Courtesy of John Pulos, USA)

 

Comment and discuss

  1. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    I find it surprising that there is so little mention of Martin and Elizabeth Rothschild in any literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6. Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic (her) union that both groups ignored them or... Read full post

  2. Kas01 said:

    I'd strongly doubt it was due to anti-Semitism. Ben Guggenheim and the Strauses were both Jewish, and there's no shortage of literature, mythologizing or otherwise, about either Guggenheim or the Strauses. It may simply have been due to class differences between the two (Elizabeth Rothschild being from a working-class Irish family and marrying her employer). As for who they may have socialized with, I believe people from either the Rochester or Binghamton area would have been likely candidates, considering Martin was buried in Watkins Glen. Further south may have been a stretch but Scranton... Read full post

  3. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    were Americans and in those times there was a strong Jewish representation... Read full post

  4. Kas01 said:

    Pretty sure Mrs. Weisz was Catholic. I don't know when Notre Dame des Neiges opened for non-Catholic burials but I'm assuming it was some time before her death in October of '53. There wasn't as much of an age or social difference though outside of the interfaith marriage.

  5. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    The Rothschilds travelled a lot and their steward Frederick Dent Ray reportedly knew them from the . Ray, who survived, reportedly met Martin Rothschild near the latter's cabin after he had safely seen his wife off in Lifeboat #6. Ray and Rothschild went up to the boat deck, the steward going to help with starboard lifeboats #9 and #11 and in the process presumably getting separated form Rothschild. I don't think any survivor recalled seeing Martin Rothschild on deck during the last 50 minutes of sinking.

  6. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Now that is interesting, especially (unless I am mistaken) the Frauenthals were also Jewish. Dr Henry Frauenthal and his wife - possibly also the brother Isaac Frauenthal - had... Read full post

  7. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    literature or for that matter here on ET forums. Depending on which book you read, most of the other rich people like the Astors, Thayers, Wideners, Ryersons, Carters, Guggenheim etc are covered in some detail but there is very little mention about the Rothschilds. About the only thing that finds a mention is that Elizabeth Rothschild managed to smuggle her pet dog on board Lifeboat #6. Was it because of the Jewish (him) and Catholic... Read full post

  8. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    Could be. Perhaps they were too self-conscious themselves of Elizabeth Rothschild's working class background and avoided the Astors, Thayers, Carters etc in case someone passed a derogatory remark? Mind you, I'd rather socilaise with Elizabeth Rothschild any day rather than Madeline Astor. BTW, I doubt if Martin Rothschild attended church. ;)

  9. avatar

    Steven Christian said:

    I have no way of knowing of course but I get the feeling Elizabeth Rothschilds would probably have had no problem hanging out with Molly Brown. Both coming up thru the ranks so to speak. But when Titanic sunk she had been married to Martin R. for 17 years so maybe she fully integrated into that part of society and was comfortable with it. I don't know.

  10. avatar

    Arun Vajpey said:

    : JJ Astor with a wife younger than one of his sons, Guggenheim's mistress and of course, the Rothschilds. By 1912 Elizabeth Rothschild... Read full post

  11. Kas01 said:

    Last I checked, only Vincent counted unless COL Astor had a patent for an ultrasound machine that we don't know about. As far as New York City is concerned, though, and yes, I know it's impolitic, you really can't get anywhere worthwhile in NYC if you're an anti-Semite, or at the very least quite damn good at hiding it. That's true now, and it was no less true in mid-April of 1912.

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Credits

Gavin Bell, UK
Margot Badenhausen, USA
John Pulos, USA

References and Sources

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)
United States Senate (62nd Congress), Subcommittee Hearings of the Committee on Commerce, Titanic Disaster, Washington 1912
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2018) Martin Rothschild (ref: #249, last updated: 13th March 2018, accessed 8th August 2020 01:22:59 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/martin-rothschild.html