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In One Ear: Holverson’s letter

Passenger’s letter gives a glimpse of life on the Titanic
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on October 20, 2017 12:01AM

Another auction of Titanic memorabilia is scheduled for Saturday by Henry Aldridge & Son in London, and one item is of particular interest to historians: A sea-stained letter from salesman Alexander Oskar Holverson to his mother, describing the Titanic’s amenities and what life aboard was like as a first-class passenger (

The letter, which is expected to fetch from $79,000 to $105,000, was recovered from a leather pocketbook that Holverson had on him when his body was found. The auction lot also includes a photo of him with his wife, Mary Alice, who survived. Both the letter, and the photo are shown, courtesy of Henry Aldridge & Son.

Of interest locally, Holverson mentions seeing John Jacob Astor IV and his wife, Madeleine, on the first-class deck. Astor, probably the most famous person aboard the Titanic, died in the disaster, as well, but Madeleine, who was pregnant, was saved.

“This letter represents one of the last known letters to have survived the sinking,” Andrew Aldridge noted, “and the last known letter written on board by a victim.”


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