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Benjamin Guggenheim

Mr Benjamin Guggenheim (46) of New York, NY embarked the Titanic at Cherbourg with his Valet Mr Victor Giglio and his "mistress" Mrs Aubert. Guggenheim and Giglio's ticket was no. 17593 and cost 56 18s 7d. Mr Guggenheim's chauffeur Mr Rene Pernot travelled second class.

After the collision Bedroom Steward Henry Samuel Etches helped Mr Guggenheim to fit his lifebelt. Ignoring his protestations; 'This will hurt', Etches finally managed to get the mining and smelting tycoon into the lifebelt, he then made him put on a thick sweater and sent him up to the boat deck. Despite Etches best efforts Guggenheim soon returned to his room (B-82-B-84) and changed into his finest evening wear, his valet, Mr Giglio did likewise. He was later heard to remark 'We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.'

One of his final acts was to write the following message: 'If anything should happen to me, tell my wife I've done my best in doing my duty.'

Mr Guggenheim, Mr Giglio and Mr Pernot were all lost in the sinking.



Joseph Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line

Mr Joseph Bruce Ismay was born at Crosby, near Liverpool on December 12th 1862. He was the eldest son of Thomas Ismay and Margaret (daughter of Luke Bruce). Thomas Henry Ismay was senior partner in the firm of Ismay, Imrie and company and founder of the White Star Line. The family lived at Dawpool, Cheshire.

Bruce Ismay was educated at Elstree School and at Harrow. When he left Harrow he was tutored in France for a year before being apprenticed to Thomas Ismay's office for four years. He then went on a one year tour of the world and upon his return was posted to New York where he worked at the White Star Line office for a further year. At the end of that period he was appointed the company agent in New York.

In 1888 Ismay married Julia Florence Schieffelin (eldest daughter of George R. Schieffelin of New York) and together they had two sons and two daughters.

In 1891 Ismay and his family returned to England. That year he was made a partner in the firm of Ismay, Imrie and company.

Thomas Ismay died in 1899 and Bruce became head of the business. Bruce Ismay led a thriving firm and displayed considerable business acumen, but in 1901 his firm was approached by American interests towards forming an international conglomerate of shipping companies. After lengthy negotiations Ismay agreed terms with J.P.Morgan under which the White Star Line would form part of the International Mercantile Marine Company. At that time the IMM was led by C.A Griscom, president of the American Line, but in 1904 Ismay succeeded Griscom and held the position of president until 1913 when Harold Sanderson took over.

In addition to his interest in the company his father had created, Bruce Ismay was, during his life, also chairman of the Asiatic Steam Navigation Company, chairman of the Liverpool Steamship Owners Protection Association and the Liverpool and London War Risks Association as well as the Delta Insurance Company. He was also a director of the Liverpool, London and Globe Insurance Company, the Sea Insurance Company, the Birmingham Canal Navigation Company and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Of the latter he had been offered chairmanship but had declined.

One summer evening in 1907 (the exact date is unknown), Bruce and Florence Ismay dined at Downshire house in Belgravia, the London home of Lord Pirrie. Pirrie was a partner in the firm of Harland & Wolff, Belfast shipbuilders with whom the Ismay's firm had enjoyed a long and lucrative history.

Ismay and Pirrie were determined to formulate a response to the popularity of their nearest competitors latest ships. Cunard had introduced the Lusitania in 1907 followed shortly afterward by the Mauretania. These ships had been built with the help of a governemt subsidy and had set new standards in luxury at sea as well as being faster and larger than any that had gone before.

Ismay and Pirrie decided that high speed, while desirable, was not the essential element in capturing the vital immigrant trade which was their main source of income at that time. They would concentrate on creating the largest ships to maximise steerage capacity while making them the most luxurious in first and second class accomodation in order to woo the wealthy and the prosperous middle class.

Ismay accompanied his ships on their maiden voyages and the Titanic was no exception.

On April 10th 1912 he boarded the Titanic with his valet Richard Fry and his secretary William Henry Harrison. While on board he was also assisted by Ernest Freeman who unlike the other employees was listed as a crew member.

Ismay was rescued from the Titanic in Collapsible C.

During his life Ismay would inaugurate the cadet ship Mersy for the training of officers for the merchant navy, gave 11,000 to found a fund to benefit widows of lost seamen and in 1919 gave 25,000 to establish a fund to recognise the contribution of merchantmen in the war. He divided his time between his homes in London and Ireland.

Joseph Bruce Ismay died on October 17th 1937.