vendredi 10 février 2012

A mystery of Titanic proportions !!!

So ... mes belles....get your thinking chapeaux on. How do we proceed with this?

A few weeks ago I bought this old 1900s carved trinket box mainly for the little bisque sailor doll which was inside it.

As I walked away the vendor told me that the name on the box was that of lady who had been on the ill-fated Titanic". I just thought it was a sales tactic and really didn`t think anymore about.

Later that day, out of curiosity more than anything else, I typed the name Caroline Endres into an internet search - and what came up did make me sit up and pay attention!!!

                                                                   Caroline Endres

Caroline Endres was indeed a 'Titanic' survivor. I discovered that she had been the private nurse to one of the richest ladies on the Titanic, Mrs Madeleine Astor - wife of the American John Astor lV, one of the most famous and well-known businessmen of the time.  I learned that Miss Endres had boarded at Cherbourg, her 1st class passenger ticket, number 17757,  costing  £247 10s 6d and paid for by the newly wed Mrs and Mrs Astor who had been travelling on their honeymoon.

                                                             The Astors

She got in lifeboat No. 4 together with Mrs Astor and they survived;  sadly Mr Astor and his Valet perished.

                                                                         Mademoiselle Bidois

Caroline Endres was unmarried (as was the requirement at the time for nurses and maids to be so).  Also in the party travelling with Mrs Astor was her French maid Mademoiselle Roasalie Bidois  - who also managed to climb into lifeboat 4 and survived.
So, on reading all this,  it suddenly all became very interesting. I managed to track down the vendor again who told me that he had found the box in his grandfather's attic when he was clearing out his house after his death.

He has no idea why the box was there and told me he knows nothing on his  side of the family. I asked him how he had tied the box to the Titanic and he replied saying that there had been an old newspaper in the box about the disaster  - but he had thrown it away thinking it was not important!!

And there on the red silk inside the box are the small fragments of an old newspaper;    but I cannot make out any words!

I have also discovered that Caroline Endres had returned to New York on the 'CARPATHIA' with Mrs Astor and other survivors and stayed for a short while in the employment of Mrs Astor. After then the trail goes cold, although I have found out she never married so there are no relatives to help with the story.

I have found an old news story dated 1912 which comments on the brother of Caroline being overjoyed when he heard that she was safe, adding  that it had been her seventh trip across the Atlantic.

I have also read that the Astors planned their long honeymoon travelling to  Egypt and back via Europe and  it was during this trip that the new Mrs Astor had became pregnant and had employed Caroline as her private nurse. As they wanted the baby to be born in America they travelled up through France stopping in Paris and then on to Cherbourg to go home in style on the new luxury, 'unsinkable' Titanic.

So..............I need to try to find whether there is a link between this box and the Caroline Endres who survived the 'Titanic' disaster. If it is her box why was it still here in France? Did she leave it behind or did she obtain it at a later date, if she ever returned to France? Was it a present bought for her by Mrs Astor which, for some reason or another, was left in France? .........................where to go next?

I have a sinking feeling that we may never solve the mystery.

16 commentaires:

  1. As I read this post, I get chills. I'm now researching my family on and this story is so amazing and right in line with my life right now.

    How incredible, Shirley. Sotheby's would love this, so keep in mind, you have piece of history!

  2. Shirley, you've created a wonderful post full of intrigue around your wonderful antique box!

    How extraordinary - and what a treasure you have, I know you won't rest until you've found out the complete history.
    It fascinates me too and I will do a bit of searching and let you know what I come up with.

    I've just read a great book called "When the Astors owned New York" by Justin Kaplin - you'll love it too.


  3. Such an amazing item to have came across.I just sit her and think about each and every person that was on the Titanic at the time and what all their stories where.
    So fascinating to have found out so much about this one women Miss Caroline and yet still the mystery of it all.
    Thanks for sharing~Cheers Kim

  4. Very exciting Shirley!! Have you thought about contacting a Titanic historical society, they may be able to help trace more about her or any family members. I love things like this so please keep us posted.
    Jo xx

  5. Such an amazing artifact, this gave me the the Titanic is a story of such sacrifice and tragedy and everything connected with it carrys its own narrative that is equally amazing and nostalgic..what a treasure.
    Lynn xx

  6. How amazing Shirley, please let us know if you dig out any more info.
    T x
    ps Mum and I really really love the enamel Russian mug that you have on ebay, that again is sad but wonderfully interesting.

  7. Dear Shirley,
    How wonderful! You have such a knack for unearthing the most marvelous treasures! Isn't it fitting that a sailor doll was ensconced within?!!!
    Peace & Plenty,

  8. Bonjour mes belles!

    Well ...if ever I was going to sell this it is the best year to do it!! It is the 100th anniversary of the tragedy this year. I am trying every angle I can to tie this box to THE Miss Endres and I will keep you all informed if any information comes in.


  9. Hi Tracy
    Isn`t that mug just amazing? I was drawn to it because it had a crown and a date and it was only later I discovered the story. Its a really sad tale too.

  10. Hi Jo
    There is a site called which is a mine of information but from what I can see no one has researched Miss Endres. So many survivors in later life gave accounts of their rescue so somewhere there must be something.

  11. What an amazing find and wonderful story! Do you think the sailor belonged to her as well? I'm so glad I found you through La Belle Epoque and have joined. Off to browse around your beautiful site some more! ~ Maureen

  12. Welcome Maureen
    The doll was inside the box so I am hoping they are connected. If she had already been on a huge boat out to join the Astors she might have bought it as a memento. It is early 1900s so it may be right.


  13. I see this being sold at Christies! If you can prove it's provenance it's one hell of a find!
    Good job :-)

  14. Wow...very interesting. I did a bit of a search on her and I think I found Caroline Endres in the 1880 US census in Massachusetts age 7. Her father and mother are from Germany -Otto and Louise. Her younger brother Frank is also there. I expected to find her coming and going through the passenger manifests but so far nothing. Good luck. I hope you are successful in finding provinence for the box:)

  15. I remembered reading this a couple of months ago, so I came to re-read it . I just saw "Titanic" again last night [ the new 3-D release, which didn't add anything much to the incredible film], and they did show JJ Astor and his wife being introduced to someone, but I don't remember if the nurse was in the background now or not. I'd forgotten the details of who it was in this post!! But what a movie!!! I wonder if you've found anything more on her? It will be 100 years on Sunday...