She was born as Maria Mathilda Gustafsson on July 28th, 1878 the daughter of Maria Lovisa Gustafsson. She lived in Kejtala, Strömfors (Ruotsinpyhtää); near Lovisa, (southern Finland)
Mathilda Gustafsson had made a previous visit to the USA but had returned to Finland and, in 1911, married her childhood friend Karl Alfred Backström.
The follow year Karl, Mathilda (33, 6 months pregnant) and her brothers Johan Birger Gustafsson and Anders Vilhelm Gustafsson travelled from Hangö to Hull on the Polaris. On April 3rd, Mathilda wrote a letter home saying that the trip had gone well thus far, one week later the party boarded the Titanic at Southampton.
On the night of the sinking she was not keen to enter any lifeboat, but was pursuaded by her husband to enter one of the last ones (Collapsible D) after he had promised to try to follow in the next one; she was trembling because she only had a nightdress and lifebelt on.
Karl was however unable to find another boat and died when the ship went down. Mathilda's brothers also perished.
After her arrival in New York Mathilda was quartered in Union League Home together with Erna Andersson. Mathilda did not want to stay in USA and White Star paid the trip back home. May 9 she returned to Finland on FÅA's "Urania". In June she gave born to a daughter, Alfhild Maria. In the New York Evening Journal a photo of "Maria Bickstrom (sic) and her son" was published a few days after the arrival of the Carpathia, a misunderstanding as she had no son.
Maria Mathilda Backström died at Kejtala June 30th, 1947.