George Dunton Widener
George D. Widener
Born(1861-06-16)June 16, 1861
DiedApril 15, 1912(1912-04-15) (aged 50)
Resting placeNorth Atlantic Ocean
41°43′55″N 49°56′45″W / 41.73194°N 49.94583°W / 41.73194; -49.94583
SpouseEleanor Elkins
ChildrenHarry Elkins Widener
George D. Widener Jr.
Eleanor Widener
Parent(s)Peter A. B. Widener
Hannah Josephine Dunton
RelativesFitz Eugene Dixon Jr. (grandson)

George Dunton Widener (June 16, 1861 – April 15, 1912) was an American businessman who died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic.[1]

Early life

Widener was born in Philadelphia on June 16, 1861. He was the eldest son of Hannah Josephine Dunton (1836–1896) and Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834–1915),[2] an extremely wealthy streetcar magnate.[3]


He joined his father's business and eventually took over the running of the Philadelphia Traction Company, overseeing the development of cable and electric streetcar operations. He also served on the board of directors of several important area businesses, including Philadelphia Traction Co., Land Title Bank and Trust Co., Electric Storage Battery Co., and Portland Cement Co. A patron of the arts, Widener was a director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

RMS Titanic

In 1912, Widener, his wife, and their son Harry traveled to Paris, France, with original intentions to find a chef for Widener's new Philadelphia hotel, The Ritz Carlton. The Wideners booked their return passage on RMS Titanic. After the ship struck an iceberg, Widener placed his wife and her maid Amalie Gieger[4] in a lifeboat. The women were rescued by the steamship RMS Carpathia, but Widener and his son Harry and their valet Edwin Keeping[5] perished on the Titanic.[6] The bodies of the father and son, if recovered, were not identified.[7]

Personal life

In 1883, he married Eleanor Elkins,[8] the daughter of his father's business partner, William Lukens Elkins.[9] Together, they had two sons and a daughter:

After Widener and his son's death aboard the Titanic, a memorial service was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where stained glass windows were dedicated in their memory.[20][21][22]


He was the maternal grandfather of Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr. (1923–2006).[17][18] Dixon, who lived in Philadelphia, owned the Philadelphia 76ers and was a part owner of the Eagles, the Phillies and the Flyers.[23]


Widener had commissioned Horace Trumbauer to design and oversee construction of Miramar, a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) French neoclassical-style mansion bordering Bellevue Avenue on Aquidneck Island at Newport, Rhode Island. Intended as a summer home, it was still in the design stage at the time of his death.[24]

In popular culture

Widener was played by Guy Standing, Jr. in the film Titanic (1953).

See also


  1. ^ "PETER A.B. WIDENER IS 78.; Memory of Drowned Son Overshadows Wealthy Philadelphian's Old Age". The New York Times. 14 November 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  2. ^ "P.A.B. WIDENER, CAPITALIST, DIES; Traction and Tobacco Financier Expires at 80 at His Home in Elkins Park. LEFT ABOUT $35,000,000 Philanthropist and Patron of the Arts Began His Career in Philadelphia as a Butcher". The New York Times. 7 November 1915. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  3. ^ "A CABLE TRACTION COMPANY". The New York Times. 23 August 1883. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Eleanor Widener : Titanic Survivor". Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  5. ^ "Eleanor Widener : Titanic Survivor". Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  6. ^ "42 OF THE TITANIC'S VICTIMS IDENTIFIED; Total Number of Bodies Recovered Near Scene of Disaster Reaches Seventy-seven". The New York Times. 24 April 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  7. ^ "FUNERAL SHIP NOW ON WAY TO HALIFAX; Sends Message That G.D. Widener's Body Is Among Those Recovered". The New York Times. 26 April 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  8. ^ "MRS. G. D. WIDENER TO MARRY DR. RICE; South American Explorer to Wed Widow of Titanic Victim in Boston on Oct. 14. HER MEMORIAL GIFTS Philadelphia Society Woman Noted for Her Beauty and Jewels;- Dr. Rice's Scientific Achievements". The New York Times. 6 October 1915. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  9. ^ "PEARLS FOR MRS. WIDENER.; Philadelphia Hears She Is to Get the $750,000 Necklace". The New York Times. 22 December 1909. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  10. ^ "MRS. A.H. RICE GIVES HILL SCHOOL $300,000; Memorial Building for Son, Harry Widener, Will Provide Means for Boys to Develop Hobbies". The New York Times. 5 April 1929. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  11. ^ "George Widener, Racing Figure, Dies at 82". The New York Times. 9 December 1971. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Mrs. George Widener, 84, Wife. of Sportsman, Dies". The New York Times. 12 March 1968. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  13. ^ "MRS. W. EARL DODGE WEDS G.D. WIDENER; Divorcee, the Elder Daughter of Henry T. Sloane, Is Married in Her Home. FEW AT THE CEREMONY Young Philadelphian, Son of Late Financier, and His Bride Leave for South on Honeymoon". The New York Times. 21 March 1917. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  14. ^ "MRS. WIDENER DIXON, PHILANTHROPIST, 74". The New York Times. 14 January 1966. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  15. ^ "MISS WIDENER ENGAGED.; Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George D. Widener to Marry Fitz Eugene Dixon". The New York Times. 3 February 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  16. ^ Times, Special To The New York (20 June 1912). "MISS E. E. WIDENER WEDS; Simple Ceremony for Daughter of Late G. D. Widener and F. E. Dixon". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  17. ^ a b "SUES FITZ EUGENE DIXON; Wife, Widener Kin, Asks Divorce at Norristown, Pa". The New York Times. 30 September 1936. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  18. ^ a b "MARRIES AFTER DIVORCE; Mrs. H. W. Road Weds Fitz E. Dixon in Reno". The New York Times. 28 March 1937. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  19. ^ "PHILADELPHIA YACHTS GO INTO NAVY SERVICE; Mrs. Eleanor Widener Dixon and H.L. Adams Turn Over Boats". The New York Times. 4 January 1942. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  20. ^ "P.A.B. WIDENER GIVES $4,000,000 TO SCHOOL; Endowment Is Announced Coincident with the Filing of His Son's and Grandson's Wills". The New York Times. 21 May 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  21. ^ "FOR WIDENER MEMORIAL.; Cornerstone Laid by Mother of Titanic Victim -- Harvard Prizes". The New York Times. 17 June 1913. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  22. ^ "WIDENER PLANS MEMORIAL.; Will Add to the Home for Crippled Children at Philadelphia". The New York Times. 28 April 1912. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Fitz Dixon Jr., Who Signed Dr. J, Dies at 82". The New York Times. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  24. ^ Providence Journal- December 2, 2006