Ella Holmes White

Ella B. Holmes White (December 18, 1856 – January 31, 1942) was an American woman who was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.


Ella Bertha Holmes was born on December 18, 1856, in New York, the daughter of Edwin Holmes[1] and Eliza Ann Richardson. She had two brothers and a sister.[2] Holmes later moved to Briarcliff Manor, New York, staying at the Briarcliff Lodge (her apartment was The Oak Room),[3][4] and when in New York City she would stay at the Waldorf-Astoria or the Plaza Hotel.[5]

On December 12, 1894, she married John Stuart White.[1] White died on May 19, 1897.[6] Holmes never remarried. Until her death she lived and travelled with Marie Grice Young, a piano teacher and fellow Titanic survivor whose pupils included the children of President Theodore Roosevelt.[7][8]

Ella Holmes White died in New York City on January 31, 1942 whilst living at the Plaza Hotel (with Young).[5] Her will left to Young, personal effects and life estate in a trust to yield US$250 ($3,834 in 2018 dollars) per month for life.[9] Historian Jonathan Ned Katz has suggested that Holmes had an intimate relationship with Marie Grice Young, in a time when same-sex relationships were usually kept very quiet.[10]


Ella Holmes White boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with her maid Amelia Bissette and manservant Sante Ringhini. She travelled first class sharing a cabin with Marie Young. They also brought along some exotic French-bred chickens, intending to keep them at their New York country home.[11] White and her maid were rescued in lifeboat 8. Her manservant Sante Ringhini died.[12] She later testified before the American Inquiry that the Titanic had broken in two before sinking.[5]


  1. "Marriage Announcement (1) - Thursday 13th December 1894". New York Times. 1894. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  2. Genealogy of the Holmes family
  3. Rinaldi, Thomas E.; Yasinsac, Rob (2006). Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape. UPNE. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. Yasinsac, Rob. "Briarcliff Lodge and the Titanic". Hudson Valley Ruins and related topics. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. "Mrs Ella White (née Holmes)". encyclopedia-titanica. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  6. "DEATH NOTICE OF JOHN STUART WHITE - Thursday 20th May 1897". New York Times. 1897. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  7. "MISS MARIE YOUNG DIES - Wednesday 29th July 1959". New York Times. 1959. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  8. "Society: Miss Marie Grice Young - Thursday 17th August 1916". Washington Post. 1916. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  9. "Wills for Probate (1) - Friday 6th February 1942". New York Times. 1942. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  10. White, Barrett (2015). "103 years later, OutSmart dives into the lives of LGBT passengers aboard the Titanic". OutSmart Houston's LGBTQ Magazine. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  11. Geller, Judith B. (1998). Titanic: women and children first. Patrick Stephens. p. 104. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  12. "Death Notice of Sante Reghini - Saturday 4th May 1912". New York Times. 1912.
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