Madeleine Mellinger

Spelling and punctuation have been preserved where possible; some portions of the text were illegible during transcription and links to the original images are provided in the text. If you can suggest what these missing portions, indicated by ellipsis, could be, please email me.

The first letter in the file was to the publishers of "A Night To Remember", Henry Holt, on October 3rd, 1955 after reading the book in the Ladies Journal magazine:


I have just had the pleasure of reading "A Night To Remember" in the Ladies Home Journal for November and would like to tell you that I shall never forget that night. My mother and myself were survivors of that tragedy and tho' we are not mentioned by name in it we were passengers in the boat manned by Lightoller.

We were in two lifeboats the first one was the one sent back to "pick up" and the second one #14 was the one which picked up the people from a collapsible including Lightoller. He was almost frozen being only in a light navy suit with seaman's sweater uner it but soaking wet & almost stiff. My mother rubbed and tried to warm him up and she put a large cape with monks head, which she had saved around him and after a while he was able to get up and give orders. I still have this cape & hood in my possession. I also have our landing permits at N.Y Apr 18/12 and a menu card for R.M.S.Carpathia, Dinner , Monday Apr 15th 1912. We never did get that dinner tho' as food was pretty scarce. I also have a letter from Col.Gracie asking about a baby who was not with its parents. We were listed as Mrs.E.A.Mellenger & child as they thought I might I might be the child. I was at the time 13 years old and can remember it all as tho it were only yesterday. My mother is still living and is 85 years of age. We lost track of some very kind friends who were saved & went to settle in N.J. They are listed as Mrs Herman, Kate & Alice Newman, husband & nephew were drowned. I read the story this weekend and tho this first part was not too interesting to me the latter half was almost like living it over again. I am going around in a trance today thinking (?) of it all afresh. It is much more interesting and authentic than the picture "Titanic". I think that I am the little girl mentioned who was crying for her mother as we were separated when pulled up on the Carpathia & my mother was taken to the ship's hospital and I did not Know if she was on the boat. I cried all that day and did not find my mother until night when she was able to leave the hospital. My name was not Emily but Maddie. I also have a post card of the "Titanic" mailed at Southampton to my Grandma dated Apr 9th 1912 6.15 p.m. I would very much like to know from anyone who is still alive that travelled 2nd class and survived that awful night. There cannot be too many as most were so much older than myself and I think there were only about 105 children saved. I would like very much to have the book which you are publishing as I guess there is a lot left left out in the Ladies Journal story. The actual landing in New York was much more exciting to me than the accident. The noise commotion and search lights terrified me. I stood on the deck directly under the rigging on which Captain Arthur Rostron climbed to yell orders through a megaphone. These orders were to let no one on and off and close all openings. Our four and half month in the U.S at the time is a story in itself. We went back to Enland in Aug of the same year and came to Canada Oct 2nd 1913. I have quite a few other items of great interest connected with the tragedy. Please congratulate "Walter Lord" on my behalf for a real good story.


Madeleine V. Mann nee Mellenger

Dear Mr Lord

I wish I had an opportunity of talking with you before you published your story which excites me no end. I live it all over again and shall walk around in a daze for a few days. I was always and am still a very observing person and can recall most of what happened to me from the Sunday previous to our sailing at "high noon" on April 10th 1912 on the "Titanic." I was a girl of 13 (?) years at a girls school in Wimbledon not far from London when mother came up from Southampton to tell me I was to be ready to leave with her on the S.S.Titanic in the following week. You can imagine how excited I was as I had never been on a ship tho I had off-times seen them from the shore at Bournemouth, where we lived previously to 1910. What happened to me from that day is a most interesting story, that I had told to a few newspaper ... & one especially who is a historian who has advised me to write it. Perhaps you know of him as he is known on both sides of the border Dr.L.B.Duff of Williams Ont, late of Williams ... + telegraph. It is no use me trying to put all that is in my mind in a letter so I will get to the interesting list of things that I have re: the incident. The most authentic souvenir (?) I have is our landing card or permit at N.York. It names us as Mrs. E.Mellinger & child, list-5 No. on list-24 Carpathia ex Titanic S.ton Apr 10. also a heading from stationary "On board Cunard, R.M.S Carpathia attached to a menu card for Dinner R.M.S.Carpathia Monday Apr 15th 1912; we never did get the dinner tho and very little of anything. What happened to me on the Carpathia is another most interesting story and I would love to hear of the wonderful American lady ... who supplied mother and myself with two ... of ... gents underwear, two piece from the barber shop, also a pr [pair?] of beautiful french bedroom slippers black knitted with huge pink satin bows, for mother as she had no shoes. How I met these ... is another very funny incident. We could get so little of anything & mother had only her heavy coat over night gown, which was taken off her when she was taken to the hospital after landing. It was soaking. She had nothing on her but ... shoes (?) whereby stands another interesting story which includes the father of the little Hoffman boys (I have a snapshot of them too taken since the accident). They returned earlier with their mother to France on the same boat which we returned to Eng on ("Oceanic") the Aug following the sinking, the officer of said boat gave us the picture. Then again I have the P.C. which I before mentoned sent to my Grandmother, of the S.S. Ttanic. It is a much better picture than the broadside one in your book. R.M.S. Titanic (in mid ocean) it is plainly postmarked Southampton 6.15 P.M. April 9 12 1/2 penny stemps Yes V (?) This would be a collectors item eh? also have a letter written to my mother by Col.Archibald Gracie, Baellchers (?) Cottage, Long Beach, ... N.Y 9th Aug 1912 re a lady that he put into a life-boat thinking that it might have been me as I was reg. as Child. Then I have a letter from Kate & Alice Newman from the Somerset Mills (?) Country Club, Bernardsville, N.J. It is a heart breaking letter as their father and nephew about 16 were drowned. Their mother was quite old & had never been separated from her husband one night in all her married life. She was almost insane on the Carpathia I know as I was shut in someone's cabin with her all day not knowing where my mother was, as she had not been pulled up when they with ... away. Mrs Herman (?) threatened to commit suicide & to me, a child that was unforgettable. I cried all that day for my mother who was unconscious in hospital I learned later. I had no clothes but the little short under skirt so I could not get out of the bunk (?) which was still warm, when they put me in. To let you know how well I recall small details the bunk was draped with flowers about & curtains the same. After the beautful cabin we had on the "Titanic" 2nd class with 2 bunks, couch under the porthold (starboard side), wardrobe etc. it was humble. We were on E deck. The one reason to mention the fact that the elevator was not running but I remember for we had to walk up all those stairs. On the way up we met a beautiful man who had made friends with me. He was a professional gambler. He told mother he had had a big night (?) and I wondered what he ... until she told me what he was. I thought he was grand (me 13 years old). The service mentioned by Mrs Geo Darby (?) was so enjoyable I remember picking two hymns (which we were asked by the minister (?) to do) they were :- The day thou gavest Lord is ended and Work for the night is coming my favourite still. After this we went once around the deck & as it was so cold we went to bed. I can recall as tho' yesterday laying in upper bunk still singing some of the lovely hymns of that night, for those at sea in my going away gift Hymnal & Prayer Book Ch of England & hugging my lovely doll which I gently (?) put in the little hammock on the wall for trinkets etc. A beautiful & wealthy lady of New England whos family will never forget gave me her doll later as I was heartbroken about mine. Not for publication without permission. I will tell you the name of this family. Colgates of N.Y & Bennington Vt. What they did for us & why, is another story to remember forever. Yes, too I have an old brown & white checked wool cape & hood (monks) which my mother grabbed last thing. This she put on Lightoller when he was pulled into our lifeboat almost frozen, & my mother as I told you ... him up so that he was able to get up & give orders (2nd boat we were in). I told you also that she was the last one to leave that boat bar him & he said to her "you would be the last woman to leave". This action has stood the passage of time well. I also have my bracelet & my mother has quite a few pieces of jewelry which I saved for her. I think I mentioned too (?) that I slept beside Mrs.J.J.Astor the 1st night on Carpathia on the floor of the library. She had hurt her arm & was suffering & I loaned her a smelling bottle mother had saved in her small handbag. It was one with a fork (?) on the handles to slide into a ladys waist belt. The smelling bottle was two ended, one end had one kind of perfume (?) salts and the other lavendar. Red cut glass with gold snap lids. It was given my mother by a titled Eng. lady as a gift. Well I could go on and on but I would never get done and I have lot of work to do. My father was a newspaper man ( free ? ) so you know where I get it. He died in 1907. If you want to ask any questions I shall be delighted to answer. Oh yes another thing I have which is getting almost too frail to handle is a wonderful book - papers accounts of it all with wonderful illustraton written by "Philip Gibbs" "The Deathless Story of the Titanic". Have you seen this one? It really sould be done over but I don't know how. It is not dated but it must have been written that same year as my mother got it on our return to England in Aug 1912 from relations.


Madeleine V. Mann


It would be wonderful if some time we survivors could all get together, somewhere? There is another Toronoto lady now quite aged Mrs. Emma Bliss who survived I think she was a stewardeess. One, John Collins too, a stoker was here but I think he now is gone. I can't trace him but once had a small gathering at my home for them & relations of survivors near.

The final letter in the file elaborates on some elements in the above letter; time constraints meant that I had to omit the first page (it was a page full of pleasantries, with the main contents being on the following three pages)

... Home. I was in, rigged (?) up with clothes (as I wore uniform at the Home (?)) and were on our way to Southampton on the tuesday eve Apr 9th. We saw Mr.C.C.Jones at dinner that night (he was with other important gents - we ate alone). What a dining room & the millionaires (which of course I didn't know about). Had never been inside a place like it. Mr Jones came to our table which had been reserved & was with some other wealthy gents, he had on a fur coat full length & I had never seen such a thing on a man. He gave me a golden sovereign another 1st. We never saw them again till the Sunday before lunch, he came over to our cabin 2nd class to bring pictures of lovely Bennington in spring and to tell us what to do on landing. Another thing I could have told you about your book, which I don't suppose anyone else alive saw. Sunday Apr 14th after (a.m.) church service mum and I went down to fix up for lunch (our ... was on E deck 2nd class) we took elevator (which was not running night of disaster) and walking along the wide corridor which is mentioned as the only through the length of ship, wide corridor, a large door opened and I saw Capt Smith and his officers coming towards us in full regalia lots of gold braid, and I knew him as he looked so much like Edward VIIth beard small (?). I asked what they were doing & was told they were inspecting the Airtight Compartments & doors. That was his last inspection, eh? and those doors where he was that a.m. were only about 40 feet from our cabin. If I had not heard the 2nd class steward knock on our door and say "Put on warm clothes & life belts & hurry on deck" we would not be telling this tale as mother was hard of hearing and ... from shock and she never heard. She was standing on couch looking out of porthole as she had felt the hit. I had to tell her when I woke up suddenly, what the man (?) had said. I never had time to open the door she was gone - I took down the life-belts from top of wardroble at foot of my upper bunk before I got down, as I had figured out what they were, while lying in my bunk that night, singing the hymns out of my little going away gift - prayer book & hymnal that we had sung that night at the church service (Anglican) in the writing room, also had my lovely doll in the little net holder (that is mentioned in your story) on the wall beside each bunk. Guess she is still there petrified. Well I didn't intend all this again but it flows out


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