J. Bruce Ismay (Joseph Bruce Ismay)

J. Bruce Ismay

Joseph Bruce Ismay was born in Liverpool, the eldest son of Thomas Henry Ismay, the owner of the White Star steamship company. He was educated at Elstree and Harrow. In 1888, he married Julia Florence Schieffelin of New York, the heiress to a pharmaceutical fortune. Upon the death of his father in 1899, Bruce gained control of the White Star Line but, within three years, was forced to sell to J. Pierpoint Morgan, although he remained as Chairman. He was, therefore, the owner of R.M.S Titanic and was on board during “the Night to Remember.” The commissions of inquiry in both Washington and London concluded that Ismay had helped to load women and children into the lifeboats until he could find no more women and children and that, if he had gone down with his ship, he would have done nothing more than to add one further name to the toll of death. However, the press needed a scapegoat, and any male passenger in the first class was assumed to be little better than a murderer. Due in no small part to William Randolph Hearst’s papers, which dubbed him “J. Brute Ismay”, he resigned from the board of directors. His entry in “Who’s Who” made no mention of the White Star Line or of the Titanic, although he described himself as a shipowner. Instead, he mentioned that he was a director of London, Midland and Scottish railways and the Birmingham Canal Navigation, and Chairman of the London and Liverpool War Risks Association. He spent most of his remaining years in retirement in Costelloe in County Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland, but died at his house in London. His wife, with whom he had two sons and two daughters, survived him by twenty-six years. She had not been on the voyage and would never allow her husband to talk about the disaster. (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine)  Family links:  Parents:  Thomas Henry Ismay (1837 – 1899)  Margaret Bruce Ismay (1837 – 1907)  Spouse:  Julia Florence Schieffelin Ismay (1871 – 1963)*  Children:  George Bruce Ismay (1902 – 1943)*  Sibling:  J. Bruce Ismay (1862 – 1937)  Charles Bower Ismay (1874 – 1924)* *Calculated relationship

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  • J B -


  • December, 12, 1862
  • Lancashire, England


  • October, 10, 1937
  • London, England

Cause of Death

  • a massive stroke


  • Putney Vale Cemetery and Crematorium
  • London, England

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