ONE OF OVER 2,208 PASSENGER & CREW STORIES - CHARLOTTE DRAKE MARTINEZ CARDEZA, PASSED AWAY AUGUST 1, 1939
One of the wealthiest and most colorful characters on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, was Charlotte Cardeza of Philadelphia. Traveling with her only son, they boarded the ship on her 58th birthday and occupied the most expensive stateroom available. Mrs. Cardeza was divorced from the grandson of a Portuguese Count and had inherited a fortune from her father. She lived a life of extreme luxury and privilege and circumnavigated the world several times in her private yacht, often navigating the vessel herself.
Charlotte’s son Thomas owned a mansion in Hungary, and was married to a descendant of French dramatist Jean Racine. After a safari in 1911, they had joined her daughter-in-law in Hungary but Charlotte persuaded Thomas to return to America due to his ill health. His wife, Marie, remained in Hungary. Accompanying them were Charlotte’s maid and Thomas’s valet.
On the night of the sinking, all four members of the Cardeza party managed to enter a lifeboat and were rescued by the Carpathia. Mrs. Cardeza filed a claim against White Star Line for a staggering number of personal possessions, including clothing, jewels, furs and shoes. The most expensive item was a pink, 7-carat diamond valued at $20,000 in 1912.
After returning to Pennsylvania, Charlotte continued her life of luxury but was known to be quite generous, giving a fortune to the poor and needy. In her last will & testament she even provided funds for the future funeral arrangements of her servants and their relatives when their times came. She died in 1939 at the age of 85.