The passengers of the Titanic represented a diverse slice of society. Their lives and deaths illustrated extreme examples of sacrifice and cowardice. Titanic’s wealthiest passenger was John Jacob Astor IV, who was traveling with his pregnant new wife, 18-year-old Madeleine Force. As historians note, “he managed to kiss her goodbye” just as her lifeboat was lowered away. Denver millionaire Molly Brown, later known as “the unsinkable Molly Brown,” was forced into one of the last lifeboats after helping others to board.
Other luminaries of the time include Macy’s department store owner Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida. Straus was offered a place on a lifeboat due to his age. However, he gallantly refused to board before women and children. His wife, Ida, refused to leave him. Legend has it she told her husband, “Where you go, I go,” before giving her fur coat to her departing maid. Pictured here are the shoes of a Titanic victim in a debris field, as photographed in 2004 by a NOAA expedition.