J. Florence Ismay — Dedicated Wife

J. Florence Ismay — Dedicated Wife


On 31 December 1963, a Titanic victim who wasn’t even on board the doomed liner died. Julia Florence Ismay, the widow of J. Bruce Ismay, White Star Line’s managing director at the time of the tragedy (and himself a Titanic survivor), passed away at her London home at the age of 96.

Julia Florence Ismay Titanic

Julia Florence Ismay, an eminent Edwardian.

Julia Florence Schieffelin, an American, met J. Bruce Ismay in New York. They were married on 4 December 1888. The couple had four children—two sons and two daughters.

Florence came from a prominent New York family. In 1866 her father, George Richard Schieffelin, married Julia Matilda Delaplaine, whose grandfather was John F. Delaplaine, an early New York shipping merchant. Florence’s maternal grandfather, Isaac C. Deleplaine, was a prominent New York lawyer and a member of the US House of Representatives.

J. Bruce Ismay died in 1937; Florence Ismay never remarried. On 14 November 1949, Florence renounced her British subject status in order to restore her American citizenship.

Julia Florence Ismay Titanic

Julia Florence Ismay and friend.

According to contemporary reports, Florence was very supportive and protective of her husband and would not let him speak about the Titanic disaster in public.

Associated Press, 1 January 1964.

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