Historical Photos

16 Famous People Who Were Supposed to Be Aboard Titanic


15 April 1912: Thousands gather to watch the Titanic depart on her maiden voyage.

Just before midnight on the night of April 15, 1912, the world’s most famous ship plowed sidelong into an iceberg and sank, sending 2,224 people into the icy black waters of the North Atlantic. Less than one-third of the ship’s passengers and crew would survive.

Here are 16 famous people who were grateful for missing that infamous voyage.

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George Washington Vanderbilt II

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., (1878-1944) was the donor of the Vanderbilt Cup. "Willie K" was the great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and heir to a railroad fortune. From 1900 to 1905, he raced his cars in races throughout Europe and the United States.

We often hear the stories of those who perished the night Titanic sank, but we don’t always read the stories of those who were supposed to be on board but were spared by fate and good fortune. George Washington Vanderbilt II was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of the Vanderbilt family railroad and industrial fortune. Vanderbilt had planned to travel on the Titanic with his wife, but received advice from a family member about the challenges that come with a maiden voyage on a ship of that size. The Vanderbilt’s followed the tip, canceled their trip, and possibly saved their own lives in the process.

George Washington Vanderbilt II