Reviews of Ohio Tales of the Titanic

Mike Ralph wrote a nice review of our book, which was published in Voyage No. 80 (Summer 2012), the journal of Titanic International Society:

On this 100th anniversary of the loss of White Star Liner Titanic, a plethora of new articles, books, movies and documentaries on the lost liner are springing up like flowers — and more are on the way. A never-ending cycle.

However this new publication from two of Titanic International Society’s former trustees merits special mention here.

Both Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley have provided us all with a very in-depth look at some of the people who were directly affected by this ill-fated maiden voyage. Concentrating on those passengers who had an Ohio connection, either native-born or immigrant-bound for the Buckeye State to begin a new future.

Of those 55 passengers from all walks and stations in life only half survived the disaster of Titanic’s sinking to reach their intended destination. All of these lucky and hapless souls are covered in this painstakingly researched book. Titanic’s story is not just about a ship but the hundreds of people who chose this vessel to either return or immigrate to America.

As a person interested in Titanic since my teen years and as co-founder of Titanic International Society some 24 years ago, I have seen a lot of material written on the ship. But I’ve always been more interested in the “who” of those involved with Titanic. It’s the people who make the story worth reading.

 Who were they? Why did they sail and on this particular ship? What happened to those who survived the disaster? Well, you have a great insight as to those Ohioans who sailed, survived or were lost.

This is a very fine piece of detective work by these two ladies and I most highly recommend it for your edification and enjoyment. The individual stories are accompanied by vintage photos of the people involved. This book was privately published and available either through the authors or direct from A fine and worthy addition to your Titanic library.

Reviewed by Michael Ralph, co-founder of Titanic International Society and past trustee


Michael Poirier wrote a very nice review of our book and  posted it on the Encyclopedia Titanica website and on

 It is a testament to the authors, Janet White and Mary Ann Whitley, when I feel like I learned something after reading a Titanic book. There are a large number of efforts being published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the most famous shipwrecks. There are only a handful of standouts, while the rest will no doubt end up on the bargain books table. Ohio Tales of the Titanic, is definitely a standout. This specific book focuses on the Buckeye state connections to Titanic. The authors have been researching the subject together since the late 1990s after they met at a Titanic event.

 Neatly arranged into the five different regions of Ohio, the reader will enjoy learning anecdotes about various passengers like Mary Davison who coaxed her husband Harry to book on Titanic and regretted it for the rest of her life. She saved a silk postcard of the ship, which is shown in the book. Ellen Wilkes who traveled third class while the rest of her clan was in second. Her life was long, but at the end of her life she lived as a recluse with no heat or water. Natalie Wick was living in France with her new husband when her house was seized by troops and she escaped on a coal barge with author Somerset Maugham. Anthony Abbing a former Cincinnati resident had lived in South Africa as a blacksmith for many years and was returning home to take care of his mother. For many years, he was just a name on the passenger list, but due to the authors efforts, we learn about his family and see his memorial stone. It says, ‘Died on the Titanic’.

 New survivors accounts by Lucy Ridsdale, a retired nurse with a club foot, and Jessie Trout, a young widow, give readers new insight about the happenings aboard Titanic. Jessie went on deck, but remembered a bracelet and a back comb that she felt she must save and returned to her cabin. Amelie Icard, the former maid of Martha Stone was interviewed late-in-life by a French newspaper and talks about her fears of traveling on such a large ship. Most of these stories are supplemented with photos of the passengers and their graves; many of these previously not seen in books.

 When I finished this book, I was amazed at the amount of research that was contained in these pages. And I know, people interested in the human side of the Titanic will enjoy this book as much as I did.

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