Son of Titanic Survivor Was Dedicated to Summit

Ralph E. Blank's father, Henry, was a world class jeweler who escaped the sinking ship.

This year's 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic has been marked with various television programs, and even a voyage that followed the same route as the original ship.

But many may not know about Summit's connection to the Titanic.

Ralph E. Blank, a resident for 45 years of the Hill City, was the son of Titanic survivor Henry Blank of Glen Ridge. Ralph took over his family's Newark-based jewelry business after earning a degree from Princeton University in 1928, and later his M.B.A from Harvard Business School in 1930.

Blank died at home in Summit in 1990, and throughout his life played a significant role in Summit's arts and culture scene. According to an article written for the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

His business career from 1930 to 1979 was entirely with a family firm, Henry Blank & Co., located in Newark, NJ. He was president of the company for many years. He was active in civic affairs, a trustee of the and the Summit Art Assn., and was president of the .

In an interview with The Newark Evening News in 1912, the elder Blank, who died of pneumonia in 1949, described being on the fateful journey:

Mr. Blank was enjoying a cigar in the smoking-room in the stern on the main deck when there came a jar. The shock was very slight so far aft and no one paid much attention to the incident. He said he had felt worse jars to the ship when her propeller had jumped out of the water.

“I stepped out of the smoking-room to the main deck, a distance of but a few feet,” said Mr. Blank. “Only a few people were there, but a few others came up later. I started down to see what had happened and when I got to the third deck, two decks below, I discovered that water was rushing in. It was then up to my ankles on the third deck.

Ralph E. Blank, one of five children, died at the age of 84. He was a longtime member of the  of Summit.


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