Titanic Sinking - Noted Men Lost


Col. Jacob Astor, with His Wife; Isidor Straus and Wife, and Benj. Guggenheim Aboard.


C. M. Hayes of Grand Trunk and J. B. Thayer of Penn. Lines Also Passengers.


Clarence Moore, George D. Widener, H. B. Harris, W. D. Stead, and Frank D. Millet Among the Others.

Following are sketches of a few of the well-known persons among the 1,300 passengers on the lost Titanic. The fate of most of them at this time is, of course, not known. Col. John Jacob Astor and Mrs. Astor, Isidor Straus and Mrs. Straus, J. Bruce Ismay, Managing Director of the White Star Line; Benjamin Guggenheim, and Frank D. Millet, the artist, are perhaps the most widely known of the passengers.

Others are Charles M. Hays, President of the Grand Trunk Railway; Henry B. Harris, the theatrical manager; James D. Thayer, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad; William T. Stead, Jacques Futrelle, the author; George D. Widener of Philadelphia, Clarence Moore of Washington, and Major Archibald Butt, President Taft's aid.


Wealthy Society Man and an Author and Inventor as Well.

Col. John Jacob Astor, the American head of the Astor family, has held a prominent place in the life of this city for many years. Not alone has he been a conspicuous club member and leader of society, but he has engaged in vast business activities that gave him a place of rank apart from his immense fortune and social attainments.

Col. Astor put up and owned more hotels and skyscrapers than any other New Yorker. At one time he was a Director in twenty or more large corporations, including railways. His fortune had been estimated at from $100,000,000 to $200,000,000.

Col. Astor was born at the old Astor estate at Ferncliff, Rhinebeck-on-the-Hudson, July 13, 1864. He was the son of William Astor, a grandson of William B. Astor, and great-grandson of the original John Jacob Astor, founder of the house in America.

John Jacob Astor spent his early schooldays at St. Paul's, Concord, N. H. Thereafter he went to Harvard, where he was graduated in 1888. After extensive travels through Europe and the West Indies, he returned to this city to devote himself to the management of the great estates which had been left to him by his father. Unlike his cousin, William Waldorf Astor, who became a British subject, Col. Astor declared repeatedly that he was proud to be an American.

Three years after leaving Harvard he was married in 1891, to Miss Ava L. Willing of Philadelphia. They had two children--William Vincent Astor, who is now 20, and Alice, 10 years old. Soon after his marriage, Col. Astor began building large hotels, among them the old Waldorf, later joined to the Astoria; the St. Regis, Knickerbocker, and the Astor. He also owned the Astor House.

Col. Astor's home is at Sixty-fifth Street and Fifth Avenue, as well as on his estate at Rhinebeck-on-Hudson. Upon the death of his mother the leadership of society fell to Col. Astor's wife. Some time thereafter it became known that their relations were not harmonious, and presently they were seen no more in each other's company when they went abroad. In May, 1900, Col. Astor, after a long trip aboard, came home just in time to see his wife off on her trip to Europe. She returned in October, three days after he sailed away with his son on his yacht, the Nourmahal, for Southern waters. Quietly, just about the time, Mrs. Astor filed in this city proceedings for a divorce. She was awarded the divorce on Nov. 8, 1900. The papers in the case remained sealed, however, and the charges on which the decree was obtained were not made public.

Married Last September.

The decree provided that Mrs. Astor was to have charge of her daughter Alice, while Col. Astor took his son Vincent. It contained no mention of alimony, but it was understood that Mrs. Astor was to receive $50,000 a year.

In November, 1900, a world-wide search was started for Co. Astor and his son and a party aboard his yacht, the Nourmahal, which was believed to have been wrecked in southern seas. The yacht was reported safe, however, about four days later, at San Juan, Porto Rico, its owner ignorant of the alarm that had been sent aboard on his account.

In July, 1911, announcement was made of the engagement of Col. Astor to Miss Madeline Talmage Force, the eighteen year old daughter of William H. Force of this city, with whom rumor had for some time associated his name. The engagement followed and acquaintanceship of less than a year. On Sept. 9, 1911, the two were married at Newport, R. I., by the Rev. Joseph Lambert, pastor of the Elmwood Congregational Church of Providence, after several other ministers, in view of Col. Astor's divorce, had refused to perform the ceremony. Soon after the ceremony Col. and Mrs. Astor went abroad.


Member Both of R. H. Macy & Co. and Abraham & Straus.

Isidor Straus, who, with Mrs. Straus, was aboard the Titanic, was born in Rhenish Bavaria on Feb. 6, 1845. His father's family came to this country in 1852 and settled at Talbotton, Ga. Isidor obtained a common school education, which he supplemented with a classical course at Collinsworth Institute. It was his ambition to enter West Point Military Academy, and probably he would have done so had not the war broken out just at the time that had prepared himself for that institution. He was then 16 years old, and, with the war fever in the air, he volunteered for the Confederate Army. He assisted in the organization of a company of which his comrades had chosen him Lieutenant.

His father had in the meanwhile moved to Columbus, Ga., and was seriously thinking of moving to Philadelphia to start anew in business. His son favored New York instead, and, his advice prevailing, the family came to New York and the firm of L. Straus & Son was organized and began dealing in earthenware. The success of this venture led the firm to branch out into porcelains and chinaware, and as the other sons of Lazaraus Straus reached the age at which they could enter business the firm of L. Straus & Sons grew in reputation until in was known not only in this country, but throughout the world.

The New York Times, New York, NY 16 Apr 1912