Talk:Frederic Kimber Seward

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Biography (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.


I removed the speedy tag because it doesn't apply here. It can be argued that surviving Titanic is notable enough for inclusion (and I would). Would have to take it to AFD. Notability was implied in the article to begin with. Pharmboy (talk) 02:56, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

An enormous error puzzle solved[edit]

Frederic Kimber Seward (1878-1943) indeed has an obituary in the New York Times with all its facts repeated correctly in this article: unfortunately, much fiction has been spread by the erroneous assertion that he was a survivor of the Titanic disaster. Though the Times obituary is cited as the first and foremost source for this information, it says nothing of the sort. The obituary corroborates the bulk of this article but nowhere in it is any mention of the Titanic. (Yes, I am viewing the entire article with a NYT subscription.) The same is true of the cited Who's Whoarticle, published in 1918: despite the wealth of personal facts compressed into his and every entry, it says absolutely nothing about Mr. Seward being on the Titanic. I deduce that the name Frederick Seward (spelled with a "K", with no middle name given) was taken from the book Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic (Daniel Allen Butler; Da Capo Press. p. 92. ISBN 0306811103) and conflated with historical references to Frederic the lawyer. SteveStrummer (talk) 10:46, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

A further reason for believing this to be a conflation of names is the true assertion that a Frederic K. Seward was retained as a lawyer for one of the Titanic victims: the citation is already in the article but no mention is made of how, incredibly, the entire New York Times story concludes without ever mentioning that the lawyer was a survivor of the Titanic himself-! SteveStrummer (talk) 12:04, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
One more instance of conflation can be found in the possibly true assertion that Mr. Seward acted as "the chairman of a committee to honour the bravery of Captain Rostron and his crew". The source material is split between a curious document called the Locomotive Firemen's magazine, Volume 53 (the single mention of his name is spelled differently, as Frederick with a "K", and he is not described as a survivor) and an open-edit posting on Encyclopedia: Titanica (a forum of user-generated content that is permeated with material lifted from Wikipedia). Though the latter source is almost certainly mere plagiarism, the former is potentially true: the committee was in New York City (Mr. Seward's place of residence) and his eminence as a lawyer (particularly one barristering for another Titanic victim) would make him a perfectly plausible candidate for the job. However, I restate with emphasis that the magazine does not describe him as a survivor and I would instead take this source as another indicator of how names and events can get garbled by bad research, creating a frustrating but enduring myth. SteveStrummer (talk) 12:56, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I reckon it's the same guy. Taken to User talk:Richardcavell. Other users are invited too. - Richard Cavell (talk) 11:47, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

I have rewritten this article once again to reflect the new source which shows Frederick Kimber Seward was indeed a passenger on the Titanic. I would rather not have been proven wrong in front of the Wiki world, of course, but I have no regrets: it was to necessary to find a valid citation for the article, and I genuinely had fun doing the detective work. It wasn't easy. This is the only source I've found in 48 hours that connects Frederic of the New York Times obituary to Frederic of the Titanic, but it is definitive: all the personal information matches up with the other sources perfectly. The only mystery left is why the New York Times did not see fit to print this information in Seward's obituary. I've posted a cropped screenshot of the article which I believe would be fair use but in case someone deletes it, I am copying the text verbatim here:

Thanks for reading, SteveStrummer (talk) 17:35, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Request for name change of this article[edit]

Should this article survive its AfD (and I do believe it should, if only to rectify years of wiki misinformation),I respectfully request that an administrator change the name of this article to read "Frederic Kimber Seward" (dropping the "K" from "Frederick") because the the only reliable sources about this person (i.e. the NY Times and Who's Who) present it that way consistently. SteveStrummer (talk) 13:46, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Withdrawn - This man's name requires no change: though his legal name was actually "Frederic" he is commonly called "Frederick" (the New York Times & Who's Who notwithstanding), even in many contemporary legal documents. SteveStrummer (talk) 16:44, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, I'd like to propose it again. His name is and was Frederic. It was frequently misspelled as 'Frederick'. I think the article should be named 'Frederic'. - Richard Cavell (talk) 23:23, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Discussion of July 2010[edit]

This text is copied and pasted from my talk page. I place it here for future reference to show that we have exhaustively investigated this. - Richard Cavell (talk) 03:39, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi! I'm honestly trying to get thru to that site but I'm not getting through. Do you know of a mirror site? I'm having fun researching this and truly enjoy receiving your input. I wonder, if you are still looking into it, could we share notes here (or on my Talk page)? So far I've found several modern books that identify our lawyer Frederic as a passenger, but nothing in a primary or secondary source: some of them make brief mentions of a "Seward", "F. Seward", or "Frederick Seward", but nothing connects them to that Frederic. And as you know, I just cannot believe that his Who's Who or Times obituary would fail to mention something like that! I'll elaborate if you want :) SteveStrummer (talk) 10:14, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi. I'm having no trouble accessing the site. Try Google cache here here here and here. I'm happy to share notes here. I reckon the US Senate Inquiry would have been exhaustive - I can't imagine a better source for us to use. I reckon it's the same guy. - Richard Cavell (talk) 10:27, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I still can't view them. Are they definitely all mirrors of the same page? What's the actual name of the document? I'm continuing to look for passenger lists, but the only halfway scholarly-looking one I can find is from a Nova Scotia museum, and it just lists "F. Seward" as a 1st-class passenger. I thought the Historical Titanic Society would be the last visit I need to make, but their passenger list is offline too-?! Can you bring it up? SteveStrummer (talk) 12:17, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Steve, I'm not having any trouble accessing these sites. Maybe your browser is borked. If you email me your email address, I'll email you the pages offline. I'd like to stick with the Senate Inquiry pages. I would think that they would have exercised due diligence in their investigation, had power to compel evidence, etc, and they made their findings contemporaneously. - Richard Cavell (talk) 12:25, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I just emailed you now. Thanks again! —Preceding unsigned comment added by SteveStrummer (talkcontribs) 13:39, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Richard, thank you very much for all your encouraging interest in this research. I read the files you sent me and took note that they do indeed verify "Frederick K. Seward" as a 1st-class passenger (as well as a litigant in a suit against White Star). However, I still did not believe that necessarily made him the same man as "Frederic Kimber Seward", and I kept on looking. I can finally show something I believe settles the matter once and for all. Please see the new article: I've updated it to show that Frederic aka Frederick is indeed the same man. Why on earth his Times obituary didn't make note of it, I will never understand.... But conclusive proof is finally upon us and I guess we can consider the matter closed. I enjoyed this little mystery a lot! I hope you don't regret being involved. Again, many thanks to you for your help and interest. SteveStrummer (talk) 16:13, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

One last thing. You may notice that in one of the legal documents, he's referred to as Frederick (sic). I reckon that means that his real name is Frederic, without the K. Do you agree? - Richard Cavell (talk) 23:06, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, absolutely. The April 12th article was probably hastily written, but the obituary, Who's Who, and the school document all have it as "Frederic". I withdrew the request to change the article because I felt embarassed, but if you're willing to do so, I think it's the right thing. SteveStrummer (talk) 00:11, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

LOL. Don't be embarrassed. What matters is that you thought it through to the end. By the way, do you mind if I post this conversation on the talk page, for future reference? I'm going to request a move to Frederic. - Richard Cavell (talk) 00:15, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's OK with me. SteveStrummer (talk) 00:45, 12 July 2010 (UTC)