The Collyer Family

Charlotte and Marjorie Collyer aboard the Carpathia, Library of Congress (Public Domain)

Harvey Collyer, November 26, 1880 – April 15, 1912
Charlotte Collyer, October 1, 1881 - November 28, 1916
Marjorie Lottie Collyer, January 28, 1904 - February 26, 1965

Second Class

En route to buy a fruit farm in Idaho due to Charlotte’s health issues, Harvey had all their money in his pocket when the ship sank and he was lost.

Women were very reluctant to be separated from their husbands.  According to the story reported by Winston Lord in A Night to Remember, a seaman yanked Mrs. Charlotte Collyer by the arm, another by her waist, and they dragged her from her husband Harvey.  As she kicked to get free, she heard him call, “Go, Lottie!  For God’s sake, be brave and go.  I’ll get a seat in another boat!”  She and Marjorie were in Lifeboat 14.

Charlotte and Marjorie eventually returned to England, and Charlotte remarried.  She died from tuberculosis.

Would you leave your husband to save your child?

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Eliza Gladys 'Millvina' Dean

Millvina Dean and her older brother, Author unknown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

February 12, 1912 – May 31, 2009

Third Class

Millvina Dean was the youngest and longest-living survivor. Two months old when the ship sank, her British family planned to emigrate to Wichita, Kansas, where her father would co-own a tobacco shop with relatives. A coal strike limited work in Southampton England, their hometown and the departure port.

When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Millvina was boarded onto a lifeboat with her brother and mother.  Her father lost his life, and his body was never found.

Mrs. Dean did not proceed to Kansas but returned to England with her children.

Millvina Dean gave frequent media interviews until she died in 2009 at 97.

Would you have gone on to Kansas if you were Mrs. Dean?

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Isidor and Ida Straus

Isidor Straus, February 6, 1845 – April 15, 1912

Ida Straus,  February 6, 1849 – April 15, 1912

First Class

German-born Isidor Straus rose from poverty to become a Macy's store owner and U.S. House of Representatives official in New York's 15th district.

Isidor refused his lifeboat seat, insisting every woman and child be evacuated first. His wife Ida stood by with her husband and rejected his pleas to board a boat, telling him, “We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Although the two died together on the Titanic, only Isidor's body was found.

"Where you go, I go."

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The Goodwin Family

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The Titanic Musicians

Wallace Henry Hartley, June 2, 1878 – April 15, 1912 - Bandmaster
George Alexandre Krins, March 18, 1889 – April 15, 1912 - Violin
Roger Marie Brucoux, June 1, 1891 – April 15, 1912 - Cello
Theodore Ronald Brailey, October 25, 1887 – April 15, 1912 - Piano
Percy Cornelius Taylor, c. 1872 – April 15, 1912 - Piano
John Wesley Woodward, c. 1879 – April 15, 1912 - Cello
John Frederick Preston Clarke, c. 1883 – April 15, 1912 - Bass
John Law Hume, August 9, 1890 – April 15, 1912 - Violin

Second Class

The eight musicians are perhaps some of the most honored heroes of the Titanic tragedy. According to lore, the band chose to stay together until the very end, playing ragtime music to calm passengers boarding lifeboats.

Radio Operator Harold Bride gave testimony stating that the band played “Autumn,” a popular ragtime waltz, as their final song.

A passenger noted: "Many brave things were done that night, but none were braver than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame."

Was the song “Autumn” a hymn, or ragtime?

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Captain Edward John Smith


Captain Edward John Smith, New York Times, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

January 27, 1850 - April 15, 1912


Captain Smith was planning to retire when he was hired to skipper the Titanic on her maiden voyage. When the ship hit the iceberg, he knew:

  • The ship would sink in under two hours
  • 16 lifeboats and 4 “collapsibles” had room for only 1,178 people
  • 1,317 passengers plus an experienced crew of over 900 were on board, including 29 Able Seamen and 6 Officers

Orders issued: “Women and children first”

Final instructions: “You’ve done your duty, boys. Now it’s every man for himself.”

Captain Smith went down with his ship, as did most of his crew.

"You've done your duty, boys."

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Arthur Godfrey Peuchen


Arther Godfrey Peuchen, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

April 18, 1859 – December 7, 1929

First Class

Seeing Lifeboat 6 dangling over the side and with only one crewmember, Peuchen volunteered to assist.  Challenged by Second Officer Lightoller, Peuchen slid down the ropes to enter the boat.  Peuchen, a Canadian officer and wealthy businessman, was the only male passenger Lightoller would allow into a lifeboat from the port side.

Peuchen came under scrutiny for not supporting Molly Brown when she tried to persuade Quartermaster Robert Hichens to go back to help swimmers.

Does Major Peuchen deserve extra scrutiny?

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Rhoda Abbott


Rhoda Abbott, Henry Aldridge & Son, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

January 14, 1873 – February 18, 1946

Third Class

Rossmore Abbott
February 21, 1896 – April 15, 1912

Eugene Abbott
March 31 – April 15, 1912

Rhoda Abbott was a former member of the Salvation Army, travelling on the Titanic with her two sons, Rossmore (16), and Eugene (13). The Abbott family was asleep when the Titanic hit an iceberg. They were alerted by a steward to put on life jackets and retreat to the ship's deck. Even though "only women and children" were allowed past the gate, Abbott's sons were able to accompany their mother, to the lifeboats. However, when it was Abbott’s turn to board one of the final remaining lifeboats, Collapsible C, she realized that Rossmore would be denied a spot, so she refused a place in the lifeboat.

When the ship sank, Abbott was swept away from the deck into the water, and separated her from the boys. She swam to Collapsible Boat A. Hours went by before Fifth Officer Harold Lowe returned to the site with lifeboat 14 to retrieve survivors in the water. Of the people on board Boat A in freezing water up to their knees, Abbott was one of only 13 who survived. Fellow survivor George Rheims later said “Mrs. Abbott is the most courageous woman I ever saw.  She worked with the men to balance the boat, remaining on her feet all the time.”

Her two sons were lost at sea, and only Rossmore's body was later identified.

Would you have stayed with your sons?

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Joseph Laroche

May 26, 1886 – April 15, 1912

Second Class


Juliette Laroche, October 20, 1889 – January 10, 1980
Simonne Laroche, 1908- 8 August 1973
Louise Laroche, 2 July 1910 – 28 January 1998

Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche, a Haitian engineer, and his two daughters were the only Titanic passengers of known African ancestry. He trained in France and married a French woman, Juliette Lafargue. Racial discrimination made it hard for him to find work.  Rather than rely on his in-laws for income, he decided to return to Haiti. His uncle Cincinnatus Leconte, the President of Haiti, arranged a job for him there as a math teacher. 

Joseph chose to travel Second Class so they could eat with their daughters. Children were not allowed in the first class dining room.

On the night the ship sank, he placed all their valuables in his pockets and put his pregnant wife and daughters on a lifeboat. They survived but he did not. Juliette returned to her family in France, where she gave birth to Joseph Lemercier Laroche on December 17, 1912.

What would you have done with
no money, no family, no English?

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Alice Catherine Cleaver and the Allison Family

Alice Catherine Cleaver, July 5, 1889 – November 1, 1984

Second Class

Hudson Joshua Creighton Allison, December 9, 1881 – April 15, 1912
Bess Waldo Allison, nee Daniels, November 14, 1886 – April 15, 1912
Helen Loraine Allison, June 5, 1909 – April 15, 1912
Hudson Trevor Allison, May 7, 1911 – August 7, 1929

First Class

Miss Alice Catherine Cleaver, age 22, was hired by Montreal millionaires Hudson and Bess Allison as a last-minute replacement to look after their baby son, Trevor.

After the collision on April 14, 1912, Alice bundled up the infant and went to Second Class to warn the rest of the Allison household. Unable to convince the Hudsons of danger, Alice and Trevor boarded lifeboat 11. The Allisons likely were unaware that Cleaver had taken the child off safely.

Bess Allison and daughter Lorraine were loaded into a lifeboat, but refused to leave without baby Trevor.  She jumped out of the boat, taking Lorraine.  Both died as did Mr. Allison. Lorraine was the only child to die from first and second class and Bess Allison one of four first class women.

When Trevor arrived in New York, Trevor’s uncle George took custody and went back to Canada where Trevor died at 18 from food poisoning.

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Officers in Charge

Captain Edward J Smith and his senior officers photographed on board Titanic, April 1912. Back row from Left to Right: Herbert McElroy (Purser), Charles Lightoller (Second Officer), Herbert Pitman (Third Officer), Joseph Boxhall (Fourth Officer), Harold Lowe (Fifth Officer); Front row from Left to Right: James Moody (Sixth Officer), Henry Wilde (Chief Officer), Captain Edward Smith, William Murdoch (First Officer).



The Officers in Charge were responsible for loading the lifeboats, following Captain Smith’s orders “Women and children first!”

Many women either did not want to leave their husbands, or were afraid to board the tiny lifeboats.  This created a dilemma for the officers:  did the Captain mean they should launch a lifeboat with only women and children, even if it was not filled to capacity?  Or did he mean to give priority to women and children, and then allow men to board to fill the lifeboat?

Officers on the port side did not allow men to board, and launched partially-filled lifeboats.  Officers on the starboard side would allow men to board to fill to capacity.

Of the eight officers in charge, four lost their lives on April 15, 1912.

What would you have done to save the passengers?

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Captain Edward John SmithJanuary 27, 1850 - April 15, 1912
Chief Officer Henry Tingle Wilde, September 21, 1872 – April 15, 1912
First Officer William  Murdock, February 28, 1873 – April 15, 1912
Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, March 30, 1874 – December 8, 1952
Third Officer Herbert Pitman, November 20, 1877 – December 7, 1961
Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall, March 23, 1884 – April 25, 1967
Fifth Officer  Harold Lowe, November 21,  1882 – May 12, 1944
Sixth Officer James Moody, August 21, 1887 – April 15, 1912



The Titanic Waifs

Michel Navratil, August 13, 1880 – April 15, 1912
Michel Navratil, Jr., June 12, 1908 – January 30, 2001
Edmond Navratil, March 4, 1910 - 1953

Third Class

Unbeknownst to their mother, Michel Navratil took their two sons, who were lost to him in a custody battle. He borrowed a friend’s passport, and boarded the Titanic traveling under the friend’s name.  Passed hand-to-hand into Collapsible B, Michel and Edmond Navratil survived. Irish lass Mary Kelly comforted the babes until they boarded the Carpathia.

Nobody knew who they were when they landed in New York. Thanks to wide newspaper coverage in France, their mother Marcella Caretto Navratil was able to get her boys back.

What would you remember if you were 4 years old?

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John Borland Thayer, Jr


Jack Borland Thayer, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

December 24, 1894 – September 20, 1945

First Class

John Borland Thayer Jr, known as Jack, was a 17-year-old freshman at Yale, returning from a vacation in Europe with his parents.  Feeling a strange bump, he quickly went on deck to see what happened.  Waking his parents and, all dressed warmly, they went to the lifeboats where Jack lost sight of them. Not permitted to board a lifeboat, he and fellow passenger decided to jump. 

Jack, a strong swimmer, reached overturned Collapsible B, one of 4 collapsible boats.  It had not been launched but fallen upside and floated off at 2:15 a.m. He managed to climb onto the keel, struggling with others to keep the boat steady.  After several hours, he was hauled into Lifeboat 12 and taken to the Carpathian, where he was united with his mother.  His father did not survive

Jack was one of 40 people to survive jumping or falling into the water. He recalled seeing "groups of the fifteen hundred people still aboard, clinging in clusters or bunches, like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly as the great afterpart of the ship, two hundred fifty feet of it, rose into the sky." He heard the swimmers crying for help, which sounded “like the high-pitched hum of locusts on a midsummer night in the woods back home in Pennsylvania.” Then silence.

Jack’s drawings showed that the RMS Titanic broke apart while sinking.

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Father Juozas Montvila

Fathe Juozas Montvila, Photo courtesy Steve Belies

January 3, 1885 – April 15, 1912

Second Class

Father Juozas Montvila was a Lithuanian priest who planned to emigrate to the USA after he angered the Russian regime and they stopped him from preaching. Second Class passenger Ellen Toomey told reporters that he, Father Peruschitz, and Father Byles said Mass every day after the iceberg collision, consoling passengers and refusing to board lifeboats.

Lawrence Beesley recorded the following observations of passengers in the Second Class library:

“In the middle of the room are two Catholic priests, one quietly reading-either English or Irish, and probably the latter-the other, dark, bearded, with a broad-brimmed hat, talking earnestly to a friend in German and evidently explaining some verse in the open Bible before him...’”

According to reports, the "...young Lithuanian priest Juozas Montvila served his calling to the very end" by refusing a place on one of the ship's lifeboats, choosing to administer his priestly duties and offering solace to his fellow travelers.

Considered a hero in Lithuania, Montvila was under consideration for canonization (sainthood) by the Catholic church with the ship’s other priests, Byles and Peruschitz, according to 2015 BBC reports.

Father Montvila was considered a hero in Lithuania.


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The Engineering Crew

There were 25 engineers and 10 electricians and boilermakers aboard ship. These men were the highest paid of the crew and none of them survived.

The “Black Gang” were the 163 greasers and firemen who worked in the boiler rooms of the Titanic, a coal-burning steamship.  Only 4 of these men survived.

Most of the engineering crew remained below decks in the engine and boiler rooms.  Some fought a desperate battle to keep the ship afloat by operating the pumps in the forward compartments as well as keeping the steam up in the boiler rooms to prevent boiler explosion on contact with the water. Others kept the generators running to maintain power and lights throughout the Titanic up until two minutes before the ship sank.

It is speculated that their actions delayed the sinking for over an hour and helped keep the ship afloat long enough for nearly all the lifeboats to be launched.  Some of the men working downstairs were killed when seawater flooded this section as the ship hit the iceberg.

The Titanic Engineers' Memorial in  Southampton honors the engineers who remained at their post.

Titanic Engineers’ Memorial, Marek.69 talk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia CommonsFind out more:

Charles Joughin

Charles Joughin, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

August 3, 1878 – December 9, 1956


Charles Joughin was a baker on the Titanic.  When the ship began to sink, he brought 13 loaves of bread to hungry lifeboat passengers.  He also drank a large amount of whiskey, being certain he would not be on a lifeboat as crew.

Joughin threw deck chairs into the water as flotsam for those not in lifeboats. He miraculously survived after being in the freezing water for about 4 hours. He attributed his survival to the whiskey he drank.

Joughin died at age 78 and is buried in the Cedar Lawn Cemetery, Paterson, New Jersey.

Did the whiskey save his life?

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The Radio Operators


Jack Phillips, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jack Phillips

April 11, 1887 - April 15, 1912


Jack Phillips and Harold Bride were the two British wireless telegraphists. Both worked with the Marconi Company, Phillips starting in 1906 and Bride in 1911.

Once aware of the ship’s danger, Philips sent out CQD and an SOS message. Bride quipped ”Send SOS. It’s the new call, and it may be your last chance to send it!” Bride reported that Phillips continued working after Captain Smith released them. Both men were swept overboard. Phillips perished but Bride found himself beneath capsized Collapsible B. He climbed on top and survived with 15 others. Bride assisted the Carpathia wireless operator after his rescue. He had to be carried off of the Carpathia due to injuries to his feet. He continued to work as a Marconi officer aboard ship vessels and died in 1956.

Harold Bride, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsHarold Bride

January 11, 1890 – April 29, 1956




Did their 'SOS' calls buy survivors time?

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Thomas Andrews

February 7, 1873 – April 15, 1912

First Class

Thomas Andrews, chief designer of the Titanic worked to persuade passengers to go to the lifeboats after the ship hit the iceberg. He knew immediately the ship would sink in less than 2 hours.

According to William Henry Flayhart lll, writing for Scientific American,  Andrews had argued for the ship having more lifeboats and for more safety measures. This proposal was rebuffed when the president of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, “protested that they already had more than the legally required number of lifeboats (16) and the extra boats simply would clutter up the beautiful open expanse of the upper deck where the first-class passengers could stroll.”

Last seen alone in a smoking room, silence was his response to “Aren’t you going to have a try for it, Mr. Andrews?”

What if you were told the lifeboats were "clutter"?

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John Edward Hart

February 24, 1881 – January 15, 1953


John Edward Hart was a third class steward on the Titanic.  He was in charge of 58 third class passengers whom he helped don life jackets, a difficult task due to language problems and lack of information of the impending danger. 

He then led two separate groups from third class to the boat deck, the first group to Lifeboat 8, where they kept jumping out of the lifeboat and going inside to keep warm.  Going below, he rounded up a second group, a complicated task because women refused to go without their husbands and the men demanded that they go too (which was strictly not allowed).  He finally succeeded in taking them to board Lifeboat 15. 

Hart testified that the gates that separated third class from the rest of the ship were open.  Despite wanting to return to lower decks to lead another group to the lifeboats, Officer Murdock ordered Hart to get into a lifeboat to help row.

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John Jacob Astor IV

John Jacob Astor IV, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

July 13, 1864 – April 15, 1912

Madeleine Force Astor
June 19, 1893 – March 27, 1940

John Jacob Astor VI
August 14, 1912 – June 26, 1992

First Class

The Astors were returning from an extended honeymoon in Europe when the Titanic hit an iceberg. At first Colonel Astor, one of the richest Americans, resisted boarding the lifeboats, saying “We are safer here than in that little boat.”  Soon he ensured his pregnant wife got on one of the boats, where he was refused permission to board.   According to Archibald Gracie in his Senate hearing testimony:

I heard Mr. Astor ask the second officer whether he would not be allowed to go aboard this boat to protect his wife. He said, "No, sir; no man is allowed on this boat or any of the boats until the ladies are off."

Astor kissed his wife goodbye and stood on the ship deck as it began to sink. Washed overboard, Astor drowned April 15, 1912. Madeleine named their son John Jacob in tribute.

Why might he think it safer to stay on board?

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Molly Brown

July 18,1867 – October 26, 1932

First Class

Margaret Brown was called "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" because she helped others board lifeboats before boarding Lifeboat No. 6 herself. She fiercely urged crewmen to row back and save more passengers. Her urgings were met with opposition from Quartermaster Robert Hichens, who feared if they went back the lifeboat would either be pulled down from suction or those in the water would swamp the boat in an effort to get in. Others voted not to go back, despite empty spaces.

After her rescue, Brown proceeded to organize a survivors' committee with other first-class survivors. The committee worked to secure basic necessities for the second- and third-class survivors, and even provided informal counseling.

Margaret's fame as a Titanic survivor helped her promote issues she felt strongly about: workers’ and women’s rights, children’s education and literacy, historic preservation, and commemoration of the bravery displayed by men aboard the Titanic. During World War I she worked with the American Committee for Devastated France to rebuild areas behind the front line and helped wounded French and American soldiers. She was awarded the French Légion d'Honneur for her good citizenship, activism, and philanthropy in America. In 1985 she was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.


Did survivor fame give her a lifelong social platform?


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Olof Elon Osén

24 September 1895 - 15 April 1912

Third Class

16 year-old Olof Elon Osén was headed alone from Sweden to South Dakota to work on a farm and join his family starting a new life.

When the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, he was one of more than 1,500 people who perished drowning or freezing in the icy North Atlantic water. His body was never recovered. Osén traveled on an adult ticket, as required for all passengers ages 12 or older.


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Dogs on the Titanic

The Astors with their Airedale, Kitty, Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Surviving dogs:

Lady, Pomeranian (Margaret Bechstein Hays, survived)

Sun Yat Sen, Pekingese (Myra and Henry S. Harper, both survived)

Pomeranian (Martin and Elizabeth Jane Rothschild, only Mrs Rothschild survived)

At least twelve dogs were aboard the RMS Titanic, of which only three survived. First class passengers were allowed to take their furry friends aboard, and the Titanic boasted first-rate kennels.  Although dogs were not technically allowed in state rooms, stewards turned a blind eye to passengers who kept their dogs with them. An informal dog show scheduled for April 15, which, sadly, never took place.

The three dogs that survived were small and had been kept in state rooms.  Owners wrapped them in blankets or their coats as they boarded the lifeboats, sometimes keeping the dog a secret as long as they could.

One of only four first-class female passengers to die on the Titanic was Ann Elizabeth Isham. She refused to leave the ship without her Great Dane. Some accounts claim that her body was found with her arms wrapped around the dog.

What would you do if your dog were aboard?

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Chinese Passengers

Passengers listed on RMS Titanic Ticket 1601:

Ah Lam
Fang Lang
Len Lam
Cheong Foo
Chang Chip
Ling Hee
Lee Bing
Lee Ling

Third Class

Survivors listed in the New York Times:

Ah Lam
Bing Lee
Tang Lang
Hee Lang
Chip Chang
Foo Chiang

Among the third class passengers who survived when the RMS Titanic sank were six Chinese seamen en route to Cuba for work. The ship's records list eight passengers traveling on a single ticket in third class. Two of the eight passengers lost their lives.

Various accounts mention that Chinese men escaped on lifeboats. Fang Wing Lung was found clinging to a table, and was among the last passengers to be saved from the freezing ocean. According to James Cameron, his rescue was the inspiration for how Rose was saved in the 1997 film “Titanic.”

When they arrived in New York with the other survivors, the six were met with suspicion and slander instead of compassion. They were not allowed to disembark in the United States because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and were expelled from the country.

Issues with how names were registered challenged historians who wanted to learn more about these men and their fate. Their story, hidden for over a century, is being told in the documentary “The Six.” The movie, directed by Arthur Jones, had its North American premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival in 2021.

How would you treat these men if you met them?

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