Madeleine Talmage Astor - Titanic First Class Passenger

Madeleine Talmage Astor, the pregnant 18 year old wife of John Jacob Astor, the richest passenger aboard Titanic, was a first class passenger travelling home from a winter holiday with her newlywed husband. Along with three of their servants, the Astor’s boarded Titanic on 10th April at Cherbourg. They occupied the luxurious C Deck cabins, C62-64.

 Madeleine Astor with her husband.
Madeleine Astor with her husband

Madeleine Astor, the daughter of William Hurlbut Force and Katherine Arvilla Talmage was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 19th June 1893. She graduated from the Spence School, New York, in June 1910. While at Bar Harbour during the same year, she met the wealthy John Jacob Astor IV, who was 29 years her senior.

Amongst much controversy and despite having trouble getting someone to conduct the marriage, due to the fact that John Jacob Astor had been divorced, John Jacob and Madeleine married on 9th September 1911. Following great criticism of his decision to marry the couple, the minister who conducted the wedding shortly resigned from his church.

On 24th January 1912, the now pregnant(?) Madeleine Astor and her husband departed New York on Titanic's sister ship Olympic, heading for a holiday in Europe and Egypt. Also onboard was J Bruce Ismay, the Managing Director of the White Star line, who would later join them as a passenger on Titanic. On 10th April 1912 the Astor's joined the Titanic at Cherbourg to make their journey home.

After Titanic collided with the iceberg, the Astor's went to the gymnasium, where as depicted in both the film SOS Titanic and a deleted scene from the 1997 Titanic film, wearing their lifebelts, John Jacob Astor cut a spare lifebelt open to show Madeleine what it was made of.

Madeleine, was helped into lifeboat 4 by her husband, who then asked second officer Charles Lightoller, if he could join his wife as she was in, in his own words, 'a delicate position'. Second officer Lightoller refused as it was woman and children first. Before the boat was lowered John Jacob asked what the number of the boat was. This was the last time that Madeline saw her husband. John Jacob Astor did not survive the disaster.

Upon arriving in New York aboard Carpathia, Madeleine Astor was collected by her husbands son, Vincent Astor. She give birth to her own son on 14th August 1912. He was named John Jacob Astor VI.

On 22nd June 1916, Madeleine Astor married William Karl Dick, at Bar Harbour, with her then becoming known as Madeline Talmage Dick. She had met William Dick as a child. The couple had two children together, William Karl Dick, Jr and John Henry Dick.

In 1933 Madeleine and William Dick divorced, and on 27th November of that same year, the now 40 year old Madeline married the 26 year old, Italian boxer Enzo Fiermonte. The marriage, however, ended in divorce in 1938. After the divorce Madeleine decided to take the name Dick back.

Madeleine Talmage Dick, died at Palm Beach Florida, on 27th March 1940. Her well attended funeral took place on 1st April 1940.

Madeleine Astor has been portrayed in many Titanic films including the 1997 Titanic film, played by Charlotte Chatton; the 1996 film/miniseries, played by Janne Mortil , and the 1979 film SOS Titanic, played by Beverly Ross.

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