The Lusitania Resource > People > Saloon (First Class) Passenger List > Miss Theodate Pope (Effie Brooks Pope)

Miss Theodate Pope (Effie Brooks Pope)

Theodate Pope Saloon Passenger Saved
Michael Poirier Collection/National Archives
Born Effie Brooks Pope 2 February 1867 Salem, Ohio, United States
Died 30 August 1946 (age 79) Farmington, Connecticut, United States
Age on Lusitania 48
Ticket number 46015
Cabin number D 54, then A 10
Traveling with - Edwin Friend (friend) - Emily Robinson (maid)
Lifeboat none
Rescued by Julia
Occupation Architect
Citizenship United States
Residence Farmington, Connecticut, United States
Other name(s) Theodate Pope Riddle (after marriage)
Spouse(s) John Wallace Riddle (1916 - 1941, his death)
Theodate Pope, 48, was born as Effie Brooks Pope, the only child of Alfred Atmore Pope and Ada Lunette Brooks in Salem, Ohio at midnight between 2 and 3 February 1867.  Effie changed her name to Theodate after her grandmother, Theodate Stackpole, when she was 19 and living on Euclid Avenue ("Millionaires' Row") in Cleveland.  Theodate Pope was an architect and spiritualist who later lived in Farmington, Connecticut.   This page will refer to Theodate Pope's experience on the Lusitania's last voyage.  For a more complete biography of Miss Pope, see Sharon Dunlap Smith's site, Theodate Pope Riddle:  Her Life and Architecture. Theodate Pope booked passage on the Lusitania with her maid Emily Robinson and friend Edwin Friend to gain support for starting their own society for psychical research from friends in England.  Both Theodate and Edwin had resigned from the American Society for Psychical Research after the society's then president, Professor James Hyslop of Columbia University, took back the position of editor of the society's journal that he had given to Edwin Friend. While in England, Theodate and Edwin were to be guests of England's leading spiritualist, Sir Oliver Lodge.  Theodate's original cabin on the Lusitania was D-54, but as the Cromptons with their six children were next door, she found her neighbors to be too "noisy" and after one night moved to A-10.  Theodate and Edwin's tablemates during meals for this crossing would be Dr. James Houghton and Marie Depage, more concerned about finding decent medical help along the Western Front than in matters of psychic phenomena.  All in all, Theodate had decided that their company was "a quiet shipload of passengers."  She was also convinced throughout the voyage that the Germans "intend to get us" but was comforted at the thought that "we would surely be convoyed when we reached the war zone." On Thursday, 6 May, Theodate was roused from her sleep by the ship's bugler at 5:30 that morning.  She looked out her window to see various members of the crew, including cooks, stewards, as well as sailors, "loosening the ship's boats and swinging them clear of the railing." Edwin and Theodate were also guests at George Kessler's party that day.  At lunch the next day, they were sitting down to ice cream when a table companion joked that "he would hate to have a torpedo get him before he ate it."  Their conversation then turned to how slowly the ship was running, almost as "though the engines had stopped."  They then left the dining room as the orchestra was playing "The Blue Danube," exchanging greetings with Oliver Bernard, and went out onto the B Deck promenade.  They agreed that the sea was a "marvelous blue" and very dazzling in the sunlight."  As they rounded the aft corner of the promenade, they heard a "dull explosion".  Water and timbers "flew" past the deck, and Friend struck his fist with his hand and remarked, "By Jove, they've got us!" The two ran inside, missing a shower of soot, only to be thrown against the wall of a corridor as the ship listed ominously to starboard.  Recovering their balance, they headed toward the Boat Deck portside, where they and other friends had agreed to meet in the case of an emergency.  The deck was crowded.  Theodate and Edwin passed two crying women "in a pitifully weak way" and heard an officer shout orders to stop lowering the boats and for passengers to go to B Deck level where the lifeboats would be hanging.  He was ignored. For a moment, before going down to B Deck, they saw a lifeboat being filled and lowered as the ship was still plowing ahead.  The lifeboat up-ended, spilling its load into the water (possibly lifeboat #12).  Sickened, the pair passed Margaret Mackworth and Dorothy Conner and went down to B Deck, starboard.  There, they watched another boat getting away safely, but as the ship was listing so far over and sinking so quickly, the Lusitania threatened to roll on top of the starboard lifeboats and anything or anyone on that side of the ship.  Theodate said to Edwin, "It's not a good place to jump from." Side by side and arms around each other's waists, the two made for the companionway leading back to the Boat Deck.  They passed Marie Depage, Dr. Houghton, and Matt Freeman along the way.  Theodate was throughly impressed by the expression of fearlessness in Marie's eyes.  Up top, they saw a boat being filled rapidly and Friend told Theodate, "You better get in." Theodate refused to get in without Edwin and he in turn would not get into one as long as there were women still on the ship.  They made for the stern as water came over the forecastle and Theodate's maid, Emily Robinson, appeared before them. "Lifebelts!" Edwin suddenly exclaimed. Ducking into the nearest room, they found themselves three lifejackets.  Edwin tied them onto the women.  The ship was going so rapidly that they could see the funnels move and the bare steel of where the waterline began.  They had to jump. "You go first."  Theodate urged Friend. Edwin Friend grabbed a rope from a davit of a departed lifeboat and jumped.  Theodate and Emily waited for Edwin to come back up before they jumped.  Seconds later, Friend resurfaced, smiling and encouraging the two women to join him.  Before jumping, Theodate then turned to Emily and said: "Come, Robinson." Upon entering the water, Theodate was sucked down and caught between decks.  Thinking that she would die at any moment, she sincerely hoped that during her life that she had "made good."  She then opened her eyes to see green water and the keel of a lifeboat right above her.  Floating up, she hit her head but her hair and straw hat saved her from serious injury, for the bump had temporarily affected her sight. Surfacing, she found herself and "hundred of frantic, screaming, shouting humans in this grey and watery inferno."  A panicked man without a lifebelt then jumped onto her shoulders, grabbing her for floatation.  The man weight was pushing her under and she pleaded, "Oh, please don't."  The man let go and losing consciousness, she went under again. Surfacing and on her back and regaining consciousness, Theodate saw people much farther from her and the sky still a brilliant blue.  A man on her right had a gash on his forehead.  Also nearby she could make out the back of a woman's head.  To her left was "an old man upright in the water," floating high above the water.  Theodate asked, "Do you see any rescue ships coming?" "No." was the response. Somewhere in the background came the sounds of those in the water singing "Tipperary." Theodate looked around for Edwin Friend, but he was nowhere in sight.  She then made her way to a nearby oar and deciding that the whole scene was "too horrible to be true" and could only be a dream, she lost consciousness. At evening, the trawler Julia discovered her, unconscious, lying across her oar.  Sailors fished her out with boat hooks and laid her on the deck with the dead.  Fellow Lusitania passenger Belle Naish saw her and could not believe that she was dead.  Belle encouraged the crew to try artifical respiration and after two hours Theodate's breathing became steady.  Although still semiconscious, the crew wrapped Theodate in a blanket and placed her on the floor beside the charcoal fire in the captain's cabin.  It was almost 10:30 before Theodate had regained sufficient consciousness to realize she was sitting in front of a fire.  Two women patted her and told her that the doctor was on his way. Theodate asked the women for their names but found talking too great an effort.  She was shaking violently despite the fire and had no recollection of the shipwreck. The doctor came aboard at Queenstown and examined her in the captain's cabin.  He then called two sailors to assist her ashore.  The two men made a chair out of their locked hands, but Theodate was unable to hold onto their shoulders and almost fell over backwards.  The doctor steadied her as they came down the gangplank into the city.  One of the sailors shouted, "Way, way!" Theodate was taken to a hotel which she considered "third-rate" and tried to stand, but could not support herself.  She was carried into the lounge and saw "men in all sorts of strange garments."  The proprietress gave her some brandy.  Theodate then saw the man who had been joking about the ice cream earlier now in a pink dressing gown.  He was unable to answer her questions on the fate of Edwin Friend. She was helped upstairs to share a room with other survivors but could not sleep.  All night she was hoping that Friend would appear looking for her and every time more survivors arrived in her room she was disappointed.  A concerned passenger went to check all the hotels, hospitals, and private houses that were housing survivors but found nothing of Edwin.  Theodate's hair began to fall out from the effects of shock. The following year Theodate held several séances where the spirits of Edwin Friend and Elbert Hubbard made appearances.  Edwin was reportedly "flushed" and thundering about the "dastardly deed" that ended his life. In gratitude for saving her life, Theodate awarded Belle Naish a pension for life. Belle paid this kindness forward and donated her land to the Boy Scouts to establish a camp as a memorial to her lost husband, Theodore. On 6 May 1916, Theodate married a former ambassador to Russia, 52-year-old John Wallace Riddle.  The Mixed Claims Commission awarded Theodate $25,000 for her suffering and discomfort and another $5,000 for the loss of her jewels and personal property.  She passed away on 30 August 1946, and her house, Hill-Stead, is now a museum that not only showcases her architecture, but also her collection of artwork. Theodate Pope Riddle was elected to the American Institute of Architects in 1981.

Related pages

Theodate Pope at the Mixed Claims Commission

Links of Interest

Theodate Pope Riddle:  Her Life and Architecture Hill-Stead Museum
References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster.  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981. Hoehling, A. A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.  Madison Books, 1956. Preston, Diana.  Lusitania:  An Epic Tragedy.  Berkeley Books, 2002. Theodate Pope Riddle.  Online.  <> Smith, Sharon Dunlap.  Theodate Pope Riddle:  Her Life and Architecture.  Online.  <>

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