Lot 366: Interesting archive of material concerning compensation paid to families of Titanic victims, consisting of paperwork submitted by the White Star Line to the law firm Hill Dickinson & Co., dated from April 3, 1915, to January 29, 1916, including: three ALSs from Theresa Green, the widow of passenger George Green; two typed letters on White Star Line letterhead to Hill Dickinson; three carbon copies of the White Star Line's initial responses to Mrs. Green; and a carbon copy of a letter from the law firm briefly stating that they are responding to Mrs. Green.
Green's initial letter to the White Star Line, signed "Theresa Green, Widow of George Green," in full (spelling and grammar retained): "As a dependant, upon one of the much loved & greatly felt loss of one of the Victime of the Titanic. Finding the allowance from the Titanic Relief Fund inadequate to my needs. Is their any provision made by the White Star Company? or could you cooperate with the Titanic Relief Fund to make my provision better & do relieve me of the present difficulty in the maintenance of myself & children." An incorrect pencil office notation below her signature, "Fireman," resulted in an unfortunate case of mistaken identity—a fireman on the liner's crew was also named "George Green"—that produced the rest of the correspondence.
The retained carbon copy of the White Star Line's response, dated April 12, 1915—the three-year anniversary of the Titanic's first full day at sea during the tragic voyage to New York—in part: "Regarding an increase in the allowance you receive from the 'Titanic' Relief Fund, we beg to point out that you have already received compensation from the White Star Line for the loss of your husband, and we regret we are unable to render you any further assistance."
Mrs. Green responded to their letter on April 16, 1915, this time signed more specifically, "Theresa Green, Widow of George Green Pass. 327," in part: "Thank's for your letter in which you admit allowance has been made…But tis because I have not received any from you that I am now appealing. I may have been overlooked—perhaps there had been some mistake."
The White Star Line immediately forwarded this correspondence to Hill Dickinson & Co., in part: "We enclose a letter we have received from Mrs. Green, who it appears is the widow of a third class passenger on the 'Titanic'…our reply…was written under the impression she was the widow of George Green, a fireman who was lost in the 'Titanic.'"
A carbon copy of the firm's letter to Mrs. Green explains that the White Star Line's response referred to funds from the Workmen's Compensation Act, and "in stating that you had already received compensation they regret that owing to a similarity in the name they had confused your claim with that of the dependents of a member of the crew of the vessel. Our clients do not admit liability in respect of claims by the relatives of passengers and we regret therefore that we can make no offer in your case."
In a third letter from Mrs. Green, January 28, 1916, she encloses a newspaper clipping (still present) about a £130,000 settlement agreed to by the White Star Line and writes, "If the enclosed report is correct as the widow of Passenger George Green on the Titanic am I to expect benefit." The White Star Line's last letter forwards her letter and clipping to Hill Dickinson, and in the last carbon copy the firm replies to Mrs. Green, "The newspaper cutting which you enclosed refers to a settlement made in America…we dot not think that you will be eligible to participate."
Expected document wear including various creases and small edge tears, otherwise overall fine condition. George Green worked as a farrier in Surrey from 1901 to 1912, when he decided to emigrate with his family—Theresa and their three daughters—to America, planning to settle in the mining city of Lead, South Dakota. Despite receiving a weekly pension from the Mansion House Titanic Relief Fund, Theresa was unable to support the children and they had to be sent to three different homes. An utterly fascinating, though heartbreaking, archive from the difficult aftermath following the Titanic disaster.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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