April 24, 2021
During the construction of the RMS Titanic, the world was abuzz about this luxury British steamship. Some parts of the ship were like a floating palace, with a grand staircase, ornate woodworking, and décor to rival the finest chateaus of Europe. Other parts of the passenger liner were more utilitarian, for the second- and third-class passengers that could book passage on the ship, albeit far away from the rich and famous.
Although the Titanic had a passenger list that included people from nearly every socioeconomic group, when tragedy struck, it didn’t matter how much money one had. When the luxury liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, during its maiden voyage, it took more than 1,500 people with it to a watery grave. Statistically, only about 20% of the male passengers on the Titanic survived, while more than 74% women survived. Here is an overview of the people we lost in the sinking of the Titanic.
John Jacob Astor
One of the wealthiest men in the world, John Jacob Astor was the richest man on the Titanic. He and his prominent family were behind the construction of the opulent Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Aside from being a wealthy heir and successful businessman, Astor was a military veteran, a writer, and an inventor. He was also the source of scandal and gossip. Shortly before he died on the Titanic, Astor, who was 47 years old, divorced his wife and married an 18-year-old woman named Madeleine Talmage Force. She was pregnant with Astor’s child when the couple were touring Europe. Astor was determined to have his child born on U.S. soil, so he booked passage for him and his bride on the Titanic. Madeleine survived the sinking, but Astor did not. The last sighting of Astor was of him clinging to the side of a life raft in the frigid water.