Ella B. Holmes White (December 18, 1856 – January 31, 1942) was an American woman who was a survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.


Ella Bertha Holmes was born on December 18, 1856, in New York, the daughter of Edwin Holmes[1] and Eliza Ann Richardson. She had two brothers and a sister.[2] Holmes later moved to Briarcliff Manor, New York, staying at the Briarcliff Lodge (her apartment was The Oak Room),[3][4] and when in New York City she would stay at the Waldorf-Astoria or the Plaza Hotel.[5]

On December 12, 1894, she married John Stuart White.[1] White died on May 19, 1897.[6] Holmes never remarried. Until her death she lived and travelled with Marie Grice Young, a piano teacher and fellow Titanic survivor whose pupils included the children of President Theodore Roosevelt.[7][8]

Ella Holmes White died in New York City on January 31, 1942 whilst living at the Plaza Hotel (with Young).[5] Her will left to Young, personal effects and life estate in a trust to yield US$250 ($4,478 in 2022 dollars) per month for life.[9] Historian Jonathan Ned Katz has suggested that Holmes had an intimate relationship with Marie Grice Young, in a time when same-sex relationships were usually kept very quiet.[10]


Ella Holmes White boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg with her maid Amelia Bissette and manservant Sante Ringhini. She travelled first class sharing a cabin with Marie Young. They also brought along some exotic French-bred chickens, intending to keep them at their New York country home.[11] White and her maid were rescued in lifeboat 8. Her manservant Sante Ringhini died.[12] She later testified before the American Inquiry that the Titanic had broken in two before sinking.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Marriage Announcement (1) - Thursday 13th December 1894". New York Times. 1894. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  2. ^ Genealogy of the Holmes family
  3. ^ Rinaldi, Thomas E.; Yasinsac, Rob (2006). Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape. UPNE. ISBN 9781584655985. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. ^ Yasinsac, Rob. "Briarcliff Lodge and the Titanic". Hudson Valley Ruins and related topics. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Mrs Ella White (née Holmes)". encyclopedia-titanica. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  6. ^ "DEATH NOTICE OF JOHN STUART WHITE - Thursday 20th May 1897". New York Times. 1897. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  7. ^ "MISS MARIE YOUNG DIES - Wednesday 29th July 1959". New York Times. 1959. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Society: Miss Marie Grice Young - Thursday 17th August 1916". Washington Post. 1916. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Wills for Probate (1) - Friday 6th February 1942". New York Times. 1942. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  10. ^ White, Barrett (2015). "103 years later, OutSmart dives into the lives of LGBT passengers aboard the Titanic". OutSmart Houston's LGBTQ Magazine. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  11. ^ Geller, Judith B. (1998). Titanic: women and children first. Patrick Stephens. p. 104. ISBN 9781852605940. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Death Notice of Sante Reghini - Saturday 4th May 1912". New York Times. 1912.