Life on Board: High Society

Who's Who of Titanic's Passengers

Photo Composite: (Clockwise From Left) Ida and Isador Straus, Archibald Willingham Butt, and John Jacob Astor

Clockwise from Left: Ida and Isidor Straus, Major Archibald Butt, and John Jacob Astor

Photo: Benjamin Guggenheim

Benjamin Guggenheim

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Titanic's passenger list included some of the crème de la crème of early 20th-century business, culture, high society, and sports on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mr. And Mrs. John Jacob Astor: As the American head of the illustrious Astor clan, the 47-year-old Astor "put up and owned more hotels and skyscrapers than any other New Yorker," noted the New York Times, which estimated his personal worth to be as much as $200 million. He also was a veteran of the Spanish American war, a noted inventor, and author of A Journey in Other Worlds, a science-fiction account of life on Saturn and Jupiter. He was accompanied on the voyage by his 19-year-old second wife, Madeleine.

Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus: The 67-year-old Bavarian-born businessman who owned R.H. Macy & Co.'s glassware and china department, which it supplied from cut-glass factories it owned in Germany, Switzerland, and France. Straus also was a former U.S. Congressman, a director on the boards of several financial institutions, and a noted philanthropist who backed the Educational Alliance, an effort to help impoverished tenement dwellers to improve their lot. He was accompanied on the Titanic by his wife Ida.

Lucy Noel Dyer Edwardes, Countess of Rothes: The 33-year-old English noblewoman was the wife of Norman Evelyn Leslie, the 19th Earl of Rothes, who was waiting for her at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York.

William H. Harbeck: The 44-year-old Ohio native was a pioneering filmmaker, who first earned notoriety by recording images of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He went on to make a successful series of promotional shorts and travelogues for the Canadian Pacific Railway's Department of Colonization. He was returning on the Titanic from a stint in Paris, studying with Leon Gaumont, the French filmmaker known for his mastery of outdoor location shoots. Though married, Harbeck was in the company of another woman, French model Henriette Yvois.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Rothschild: The New York clothing manufacturer was the uncle of future literary giant Dorothy Parker. He was accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, 54.

Washington Dodge: Dodge, 52, was a prominent banker from San Francisco who also was the city's assessor. He traveled with his wife Ruth and their son, Washington Jr.

Frank D. Millet: The Harvard-educated Millet, 65, had dual careers as a journalist and artist. He worked as reporter and city editor for the Boston Courier before deciding to move to Europe and enroll in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. In addition to creating decorative murals and paintings, he continued to work as a freelance correspondent, and covered the Russian-Turkish war for several American and British newspapers.

Maj. Archibald Butt: The 46-year-old Army officer and former newspaper correspondent was an important military aide to President William Howard Taft. He was returning from a meeting in Rome with the Pope and Italian King Victor Emmanuel. Butt possessed an impressive memory for names and faces, which made him a valuable handler of crowds at White House receptions.

Benjamin Guggenheim: The 46-year-old son of the founder of his family's fortune, Guggenheim was perhaps the second wealthiest man after Astor on the Titanic, with a personal wealth estimated at $95 million.

Henry Birkhardt Harris: The 45-year-old St. Louis native was a successful theatrical manager on both sides of the Atlantic. (One of his jobs was managing the Folies Bergère, the famous Paris music hall.) He also served for a time as treasurer of the Actors Fund of America, a benevolent organization. He traveled with his wife, Irene.

Washington A. Roebling II: The 31-year-old New Jersey native was a nephew of Washington A. Roebling, one of the builders of the Brooklyn Bridge. He was a noted race-car designer, whose Roebling-Planche finished second at the Vanderbilt Cup Race in Savannah, Georgia, in 1910. He was returning from a racing tour of Europe.

Karl Behr: Though a Yale-educated attorney, the 26-year-old Behr was better known as an amateur tennis star. He played on the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1907, and along with partner Beals C. Wright, was runner up in the men's doubles championship at Wimbledon that same year. He was returning from a trip to Europe where he had been pursuing Helen Monypeny Newsom, a young woman whom he was courting.

Mark Fortune: The 64-year-old Ontario native lived up to his surname, amassing great wealth as a real estate speculator and builder in Winnipeg, where he also served for a time on the city council. In his spare time, he built a reputation as a skilled competitor in the sport of curling. He traveled with a large contingent of family members.

Dorothy Gibson: The 22-year-old New Yorker was a fashion model, singer, and dancer, and a rising starlet in the silent movie industry. After acting in a series of films that included The Easter Bonnet and The Revenge of the Silk Masks, Gibson went on a vacation in Europe, and was returning on the Titanic.

David John "Dai" Bowen: The Third Class passenger in his 20s was the Welsh lightweight boxing champion and was traveling to the U.S. to fight in professional bouts.

Titanic Facts

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