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Moment 4: On the Titanic

In covering the tragedy, WWD focused on its impact on the fashion industry, including the fate of Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy's, who was onboard.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

"At the office of R.H. Macy & Co. no word had been received...regarding Isidor Straus, who, with his wife was returning from England on the ill-fated Titanic." That dispatch from April 16, 1912, was one of many that reflected the tragic loss of life in the disaster. As usual, the paper focused on the event's impact on the fashion industry. So in addition to the news of the Macy's co-owner, whose last moments would be later portrayed in the films A Night to Remember and Titanic, the paper reported on others missing in action: buyers from Jordan Marsh Co., a lace importer from Goldenberg Bros. & Co., the daughter of Andrew Saks. Also listed: the amount of merchandise lost, including "thousands of dollars worth of garments...large quantities of French silks and laces and an immense quantity of Manchester cotton," insured for nearly 2.4 million pounds sterling. Days later, on April 19, came a more stunning, highly personal account of the accident, that of WWD Paris correspondent Edith L. Rosenbaum, who had been on the ship. "Ten survivors were taken into our [rescue] boat very nearly half dead," she told another WWD reporter, while noting designer Lady Duff Gordon "made her escape in a very charming lavender bathrobe, very beautifully embroidered, together with a very pretty blue veil." Ever the reporter, Rosenbaum, who suffered "a blister in one eye," planned to take only a week off after the ordeal. "Miss Rosenbaum," WWD noted, "will then return to Paris as quickly as possible for, of course, she lost all the models and other merchandise she was bringing over in the Titanic."