Karl Howell Behr - Titanic First Class Passenger

Mr Karl Howell Behr was a 26 year old, American, first class passenger travelling back to America from Europe. He had boarded Titanic at Cherbourg and occupied cabin C148. His 19 year old ‘girlfriend’ Helen Monypeny Newman and her family had already boarded Titanic the day before in Southampton.

Karl Behr, the son of Herman and Grace Behr was born on Saturday 30th May 1885 in Brooklyn, New York. He received an education at Lawrenceville School, New Jersey and at Yale University. After finishing his education he practised law.

Karl Behr was a successful tennis player who amongst other achievements played for his country in the Davis Cup, and at Wimbledon in 1907. At Wimbledon, along with Beals Wright he was the runner up of the Men’s Doubles.

By April 1912 Karl Behr had been courting Helen Monypeny Newman. Her mother, Sallie Monypeny Beckwith is said to have taken her daughter on a trip to Europe to discourage her relationship with him, and allow for them to have time apart. This failed as Karl Behr arranged to go on a business trip to Europe and return on Titanic.

On the night of the sinking Karl Behr went to the boat deck with Helen, her mother and stepfather, and were all allowed to board the starboard Lifeboat 5, the second boat to leave the sinking ship. The lifeboat was under the command of Titanic’s third officer, Herbert Pitman.

Lifeboat 5 was safely picked up by RMS Carpathia the next morning. On board Carpathia Karl Behr along with fellow survivors including Molly Brown, Mauritz Björnström-Steffansson, Isaac Frauenthal, George Harder, Frederic Spedden and Frederic Seward, formed a committee to honour the captain and crew of Carpathia.

On Wednesday 29 May 1912, the first time that Carpathia returned to New York, the committee that Karl Behr was involved in on Carpathia visited Carpathia to present a Silver Cup to Captain Arthur Rostron, and medals to each of Carpathia’s crew members.

On Saturday 1st March 1913, just under one year after the Titanic disaster, Karl Behr and Helen Monypeny Newman married at The Church of the Transfiguration, New York City. After their marriage Helen gave birth to four children, Karl, Peter, James and Sally.

After a successful banking and business career, Karl Behr died at his home in New York on Saturday 15th October 1949. He was cremated at Fresh Pond Crematory, Long Island, New York on Tuesday 18th October 1949. He has a memorial, where presumably his ashes are buried, at Evergreen Cemetery, Morristown, New Jersey.

In 1969 Karl Behr’s name was added to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

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