Henry S. Harper

Henry Sleeper Harper (11 March 1864 1 March 1944) was an American businessman. He was an "incorporator of Harper & Brothers when the firm became a corporation in 1896." Harper is remembered as a passenger on the RMS Titanic when it sank on April 15, 1912,[1] and also for his work to save the Adirondack forests from logging,[2] and for the fact that his Pekingese called Sun Yat-sen was one of three dogs to survive the sinking of the Titanic.[3]

Henry Sleeper Harper
Born(1864-03-11)March 11, 1864
DiedMarch 1, 1944(1944-03-01) (aged 79)
EmployerDirector, Harper & Brothers
Known forTitanic survivor, forest conservation
Home townNew York City
Board member ofThe Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks
Spouse(s)Myra Raymond (Haxtun) Harper, m. 28 Feb 1889; Anne Waterman (Hopson) Harper, m
ChildrenHenry Harper
Parent(s)Joseph Wesley Harper, Abigail Harper; Caroline Harper (stepmother)
RelativesBrother, Capt. William Armitage Harper; Sister, Josephine (Harper) Fiske; Sister, Mary Elizabeth (Harper) Silliman; Brother-in-law, Bradley A. Fiske

Early life and education

The son of Joseph Wesley Harper, Jr. (1839–1896) and Abigail Payson Sleeper (1829–1866), Henry graduated from Columbia University.[4]


Henry was a director of the Harper & Brothers Publishing House. Henry's grandfather had founded the firm Harper & Brothers, which gave way in 1900 to the publishing house.

Personal life

He was married to Myra Raymond Haxtun on February 28, 1889. They had one child who died in infancy. In 1911, he purchased a home at 133 E. 21st St., overlooking Gramercy Park from the north.[5] After Myra’s death on November 27, 1923, he was remarried to Anne Waterman Hopson (18841976), a niece of his first wife, and they had a son, Henry Sleeper Harper, Jr.

Harper was a guest at Mark Twain's 67th birthday, held November 28, 1902, at the Metropolitan Club in New York.[6]

He was a member of the University Club of New York and the Century Association.[7][8] Additionally, he owned a camp at Buck Mountain Point, on Long Lake, in the Adirondacks, and served as secretary for The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.[9]

R.M.S. Titanic

Henry and his wife Myra boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg, occupying First-Class Suite D33. Accompanying the Harpers was Hamad Hassab Bureik (an Egyptian dragoman, or interpreter, whom Henry had hired in and befriended in Egypt),[10] and Henry's prized Pekinese dog, "Sun Yat Sen".

On the night of the sinking, Henry and Myra were having dinner. They were then told to go back to their cabin, get dressed warmly, put on their lifebelts, and go up to the boat deck. Henry put on an overcoat over his dinner tuxedo, and Myra put on a black fur coat over her sparkly dinner dress. She grabbed a pair of gloves, a fur muff, and her mother's pearl necklace that had been given her. Then, the wealthy couple boarded Lifeboat 3 along with Henry's dragoman and Sun Yat Sen. All four survived the sinking.

For the documentary Ghosts of the Abyss (2001), James Cameron sent a robot into the Harper's cabin and found Henry's bowler hat sitting on top of the remains of the wardrobe.


  1. "Mr Henry Sleeper Harper". Encyclopedia Titanica. Globevista. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. "Henry S Harper". Titanicberg. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  3. Coates, Kerry. "Pekingese Dog Pictures". My Pekingese Dogs. Gilamo Web Services. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  4. "Henry Sleeper Harper". New York Timesh. 1912-04-16. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  5. "THE REAL ESTATE FIELD - Another Important Deal on West Thirty-ninth Street -- Henry S. Harper Buys Gramercy Park Dwelling -- Tenenment House Sales -- Bronx and Suburban Deals". New York Times. The New York Times Company. 5 December 1911. p. 21. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  6. "MARK TWAIN ENTERTAINED. Dinner in Honor of His Sixty-seventy Birthday Given by Col. Harvey at the Metropolitan Club". The New York Times. 19 November 1902. Retrieved 18 March 2012 via Twain Quotes.
  7. "Henry Sleeper Harper". Titanica. 19 April 1912. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  8. "THE REAL ESTATE FIELD - Another Import".
  9. Donaldson, Alfred Lee (1921). A history of the Adirondacks. 2. New York: Century Co. p. 430. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  10. al-Hameed, Ashraf Abd (6 August 2018). "Family of Egyptian survivor of the Titanic tell Al Arabiya English his story". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
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