Mr William Augustus Spencer

Mr William Augustus Spencer, 57, was born in New York on 7 January 1855.

A resident of Paris, Mr Spencer boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number PC 17569, £146 10s 5d), together with his wife Marie Spencer.

Mr Spencer perished in the disaster. His body, if recovered, was nver identified.

There is a memorial stone for him at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

Courtesy of Michael A. Findlay, USA



Die Dreilinden, estate of the Spencers
Die Dreilinden, property of the Spencers (1)
Die Dreilinden, property of the Spencers (2)

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2014) 
New York Times (1922) 
New York Times (1914) 
New York Times (1913) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 

Comment and discuss

  1. Carole Lindsay said:

    I am looking for information on William Augustus Spencer, and so far I have found very little. This is what I have so far. He was a collector of rare books. He had visited the New York Public Library in 1910 and was very impressed, and as a result left his collection to the library in his will. His brother,Lorillard Spencer, had died in March of 1912, so he may have been returning to New York in connection with his estate. His nephew, Lorillard Spencer, Jr. was married to Madelaine Astor's sister, Katherine. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks!

  2. avatar

    Shelley Dziedzic said:

    Carole- you can't go wrong heading over to the ET passenger bio section here on the board. All the latest information is constantly updated,from many sources, here to share. Just recently I was laying out the bus tour for the Newport convention with Bill Harrison and he mentioned Lorillard (Jr. and Sr.) who rented many summer cottages over the years. In fact, at one point the Spencer "cottage" was right across from Clinch Smith's place. Nothing much original left of Clinch's cottage- just the gazebo. The summer homes were at the beginning of the fashionable Ocean Drive, not far from the Ida... Read full post

  3. Ben Holme said:

    Hi Carole, William Augustus Spencer was born on 7th January 1855 in New York. You are correct in that William, like fellow passenger Harry Widener, was a indeed a noted bibliophile and book collector. At Spencer's bequest, The Spencer Collection of finely illustrated books and fine bindings was created in 1913 . In addition to bequeathing his entire collection to the Library, Mr. Spencer provided an endowment fund for which to purchase "the finest illustrated books that can be procured, of any country and in any language, bound in handsome bindings ... containing the original designs,... Read full post

  4. avatar

    Shelley Dziedzic said:

    Nothing brighter than winter sunlight- but still fairly readable.

  5. avatar

    Shelley Dziedzic said:

    Family marker. Green Wood, Brooklyn (photo courtesy Michael Findlay)

  6. Carole Lindsay said:

    Shelley and Ben, Thanks so much for the information and pictures. William certainly belongs on the ET list of bibliophiles. I have always wondered if he and Harry Widener ever met. So little is written about him, and he seems to have stayed out of the spotlight most of the time. I have been told that his wife Marie suffered from poor health, so this may be the reason. Her ET bio says she died in 1913, so whatever her illness was, her experience on Titanic must surely have hastened her death. William's brother Lorillard was much more well known. He founded the Illustrated American... Read full post

  7. avatar

    Shelley Dziedzic said:

    Here is one volume from the Spencer Library, specially bound in a rich burgundy leather hand-tooled with goldleaf motifs. You can see the words on the frontispiece at the bottom "The Spencer Press". The collection on the shelves must have been breath-taking. Mike Findlay can tell you more about the book (photo scan from TIS Archive)

  8. Michael Findlay said:

    Hi everybody, I would like to add to everyone's excellent posts - and would like to comment on the above pictured books. This particular volume of the Count of Monte Cristo was owned by William Augustus Spencer, and was later bound in leather. I purchased the book in Manhattan at a book show a number of years ago and gave it to the Titanic International Society for their archives. I must say that the Spencer collection at the New York Public Library is wonderful. Volumes and volumes of nineteenth century works (which W. A. Spencer was especially interested in) line the shelves. ... Read full post

  9. Brian Ahern said:

    Mike, I don't suppose you or anyone else out there knows what Marie's maiden name was? Were her parents French, or Americans living abroad? -Brian A.

  10. Brian Meister said:

    Brian, It was a huge surprise when I first discovered the grave marker for the Spencers in 1991 and found that William was included. That's the kind of thing that gives us researchers so much of a rush and so much pleasure. I remember the day well. And to think it had been right there under everyone's noses all along. And Marie Spencer's maiden name was DeMeugeot, of French parentage.

  11. Rosemary Dailey said:

    Was wondering if anyone knows any info about the Spencers in Paris...did they have any children? Would also be interested in seeing a picture of William Augustus.

  12. Donna Descoteaux said:

    I was wondering if anyone could post of photo of William Spencer? And/ or of Marie. Thanks, Donna

  13. Claude Roulet said:

    Thank you all ! Finally I found a way in my research. I am the grand-grand nephew of Elise Lurette, the "devoted family maid" of the Spencer family. Elise worked for this family for over 30 years. She travelled with them through the world. The Spencer had houses everywhere in the world. Out of New-York, they had a flat in the Avenue Marceau in Paris and the castle of the Drei Linden in Lucerne. They were very generous with her (as well as with all their staff). This means that now we have lots of items engraved or marked with the Spencer monogram 'LLSS" which was apparently the one of... Read full post

  14. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Claude, Yes, there are descendants of the Spencer family. A good friend of mine who lives outside of Detroit, USA is the great nephew of the Spencer's, but in order to protect his privacy I can't reveal anymore information.

  15. Brian Ahern said:

    Thank you very much, Claude, for sharing that information.

  16. Claude Roulet said:

    Jason D. Tiller wrote : >>A good friend of mine who lives outside of Detroit, USA is the great nephew of the Spencer's

  17. avatar

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Claude, Yes, I received it. Sorry I haven't replied, but I will contact you soon.

  18. Martin Williams said:

    This makes for fascinating reading...I've previously known very little about the Spencers. They seem to have lived well and moved in illustrious circles. Am I correct in thinking that Die Dreilinden, the house in Lucerne shown in photographs on the biography page, was actually the Swiss home of the 'Titanic' Spencers?

  19. Rachel Kulberg said:

    Does any one know if William Augustus Spencer & Marie Eugenie Spencer had a relative by the name of S. H. Spencer or S. L. Spencer who was a china painter? I may have one of their works

  20. Jeannine Kirmann said:

    Mrs Spencer was born Marie Eugénie Demougeot in Mussey (Lorraine, France) She came from a modest background, her father was a boilermaker and her mother a seamstress. She was a morphine addict. After the shipwreck, she returned to Paris. My great aunt, Aurélie Chiron, who had worked for the Spencers, saw her again before her death. She was very confused.. She recognized my great aunt and could only say " my little Aurélie, my little Aurélie ". My great aunt was supposed to leave with Spencer but her lover made her miss her train in Paris and so the boat in Cherbourg. ... Read full post

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Hermann Söldner, Germany
Craig Stringer, UK
Geoff Whitfield, UK

References and Sources

Contract Ticket List, White Star Line 1912 (National Archives, New York; NRAN-21-SDNYCIVCAS-55[279])
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2013) William Augustus Spencer (ref: #279, last updated: 8th October 2013, accessed 10th August 2020 01:19:23 AM)