Auctions | January 14, 2015

Angry Letter from Titanic Survivor, Lady Duff-Gordon, Goes to Auction


BOSTON, MA—A letter written by Titanic survivor Lady Duff-Gordon will be featured at a live auction event by Boston, MA based RR Auction this January.

The phenomenal letter signed “Lucy Duff-Gordon,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, on personal letterhead, and is dated May 27, [1912].

The letter to a friend, in full: “How kind of you to send me a cable of sympathy from New York on our safety. According to the way we’ve been treated by England on our return we didn’t seem to have done the right thing in being saved at all!!!! Isn’t it disgraceful.”

This poignant letter was composed at her Knightsbridge residence during the British Wreck Commissioner's inquiry into the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which took place from May 2 to July 12, 1912.

Lady Duff-Gordon and her husband were rescued in lifeboat 1 which carried only 12 people despite having a capacity of 40.


The couple subsequently testified at the British Inquiry into the sinking; they were the only passengers who were called to testify.

Lucile, a prominent fashion designer with, and her husband Cosmo Duff-Gordon were aristocrats who controversially fled to safety on Titanic’s Lifeboat No. 1, occupied by a mere dozen people despite a capacity of forty.

The wealthy couple soon became a popular tabloid topic with allegations that Cosmo had bribed the crew to row away faster, rather than returning to rescue others; the press ultimately dubbed it the 'Money Boat.'

The only passengers to participate in the inquiry's hearings, it was deemed that the Duff-Gordons did not deter the crew from any attempt at rescue, but that the lifeboat might have been able to rescue others had it turned around.

Lady Duff-Gordon would later say that her husband was brokenhearted over the negative coverage for the rest of his life.

“Correspondence from prominent passengers with such exceptional Titanic content is rarely encountered—especially written so soon after the tragedy,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.  

Among other items to be featured at the Remarkable Rarities auction:

Jerry Garcia handwritten letter to Vogue Cover Model.

Albert Einstein signed postcard from Jerusalem that includes a rare self-portrait sketch.

Malcolm X letter about temptations of Jazz music scene.

Johnny Ramone’s Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures V1 Guitar. 

Scarce Titanic cup and saucer destined for the bottom of the Atlantic.

Bidding begins January 15-21, followed by a live auction event on January 22 that will take place at the Omni-Parker House in Boston, MA beginning at 1PM. More details can be found online at