Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

April 14, 2012
Titanic disaster had local connections

Sacbee Titanic.JPGAlthough it happened 100 years ago, the sinking of the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic continues to fascinate people all around the world. The appetite for the story has been fed by many books, movies, TV shows and documentaries chronicling the tragedy.

A quick Google search shows the surprising wealth of information about the liner, its passengers/crew and the circumstances that led to the death of 1,500 people in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912. One website in particular, Encyclopedia Titanica, indexes information by place and reveals two local families connected to the disaster.

Stephen and Annie Holds were a British couple who immigrated to Sacramento. They were returning from an extended family visit in Cornwall, Wales. When the ship hit the iceberg Annie escaped on a lifeboat. Stephen did not. Annie returned to Sacramento and lived there for a few more years before moving back to Wales permanently.

Another victim was Herman Klaber, a Portland hops merchant returning from a long business trip in Europe. Waiting at home was his wife Gertrude, daughter of prominent Sacramento merchant Sam Kinsberg. Gertrude had urged Herman not to sail on the Titanic, it being on its maiden voyage. After the disaster, Gertrude and her young daughter lived in Sacramento for a time before moving to San Francisco.

The Davis Enterprise recently profiled Joan Randall, whose mother, grandparents, great aunt and uncle were steerage passengers on that fateful voyage. Only her grandparents and mother (age 4) survived. Randall has been the family's Titanic historian since her mom died in 1992. She has collected memorabilia and written on the subject, and she'll speak at the DMTC Performing Arts Center in Davis on April 25 after she returns from the 100th Anniversary Memorial Cruise. You can also hear Randall interviewed on the KXJZ Insight program.

While we're on the subject, check out The Bee's 100th anniversary Titanic photo gallery. It's filled with factoids and interesting images.

IMAGE CREDIT: April 15, 1912 front page of The Sacramento Bee. (Click on image for a bigger view.)

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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