Titanic Passenger – Widener

My paternal grandmother was a niece of the Wideners from Philadelphia. We had heard they were wealthy, but were astounded to hear how connected to the Titanic they were. Evidently Mr. Widener was on the board of the bank that financed White Star Lines. The night before the Titanic sank, the Wideners hosted a party for Captain Smith in one of the private dining room. Mr. Widener and his son (and manservant) all drowned, while Mrs. Widener and her maid survived. Mrs. Widener believed her son would have survived had he known how to swim. As a result, Mrs. Widener donated the money to build the Widener Library at Harvard (young Widener’s alma mater), and mandated that all Harvard freshman pass a swimming test. Randy A. Wheeler

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