The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Her Ties to West Baden
|Margaret "Molly" Brown|
She was a well-known American philanthropist, but is best remembered as the most famous survivor from the sinking of the Titanic.
Margaret “Maggie” Brown, better known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” was a passenger on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic when it struck an iceberg on the evening of April 14th 1912. Within three hours, the ship had sank, but Maggie did all she could to assist people into the lifeboats.
Once she was forced aboard Lifeboat No. 6, Maggie took an oar and helped row the boat away from the dangerous debris. And then she heard the crys for help behind her. After multiple urgings to Quartermaster Robert Hichens, the crewmember in charge of the lifeboat, that he return to save those people, Maggie lost her temper. She threatened to throw Hichens overboard if he didn’t turn the lifeboat around and go back for more survivors. No one ever determined if he did, but the story garnered Maggie a place in history.
But it was onboard the Carpathia, as it took survivors back to America, that her most significant work occurred. By the time the ship docked, Brown had established the Survivor’s Committee and had raised nearly $10,000 for the destitute Titanic survivors.
Once ashore in America, Maggie
wanted to escape from the
fame that had followed her onto land. Searching for some much needed rest, she
traveled to a small hotel in Southern Indiana to recuperate from the tragic
ordeal. Maggie Brown “took the waters” and rested at West Baden Springs Hotel
until she felt up to facing her public life again.
|West Baden Springs Hotel|
Thanks to mid-century writers, and Hollywood, working to capture the harrowing sinking of the Titanic, and the can-do spirit of this American socialite, Maggie became known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
Margaret Brown utilized her Titanic fame to promote the rights of workers, and early feminist issues, along with literacy and education for children, and historic preservation. Brown was one of the first women to run for public office. She ran for the Senate in 1914, but stopped her campaign in order to travel to France. It was during this trip, during World War 1 that she worked behind the scenes with the American Committee for Devastated France, tending to wounded French and American soldiers. Brown was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her activism and assistance.
Brown became an actress in later life, and helped erect the Titanic Memorial in Washington D.C. Margaret “Maggie” Brown died at the age of 65 of a brain tumor - well respected for her role in advocating for the poor.
Written by Joy Neighbors