Titanic Survivor was Namesake of Widener College (Now University)

The RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912
Image via Wikimedia Commons
The RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912

The sinking of the RMS Titanic 111 years ago on April 15, 1912, left its mark on the ultra-wealthy Widener family here in Philadelphia that still resonates today, writes Avi Wolfman-Arent for Billy Penn.

Among the 1,500-plus Titanic dead were George Widener and his son Harry.

His wife, Eleanor Elkins Widener, survived.

George and Eleanor married in 1883. 

He was the oldest son of Peter Arrell Browne Widener who grew his fortune selling mutton to the Union Army, then made more money in street cars.

At one time, Peter Widener was considered one of the 30 richest Americans who had ever lived.

She was the daughter of Peter Widener’s business partner, William Elkins.

The couple was traveling in Europe in 1912 with their oldest son Harry and decided to return to America on the Titanic.

George and Harry died when the ship sank in the North Atlantic.

Eleanor survived along with two children who didn’t go on the trip.

Decades later, Eleanor became the namesake of Widener College in Chester (now Widener University).

The school was named in her honor at the request of her grandson, Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr.

Read more about the Titanic and the Widener family at Billy Penn.

Here’s a biography on Eleanor Elkins Widener.

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