Fascinating Facts About Molly Brown, The Real-Life Passenger From 'Titanic'
Fans of Titanic the movie might recognize Molly Brown as a character from the film, but she's actually a real person from the ship. "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" was a socialite and philanthropist who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Many people know facts about Molly Brown only from films and musicals, but there is so much more to her than meets the eye. For example, what was Molly Brown's life like? Who were the descendants of Molly Brown? And how did Molly Brown die? Here are some fascinating facts about the real-life Margaret Brown.
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She Had Been In Egypt Before Boarding The 'Titanic,' And Was Returning Home After Learning Of Her Grandson’s Illness
For Margaret Brown, boarding the Titanic was not a glamorous vacation like it was for others. She and her daughter Helen had been traveling in Europe and Egypt before the ship took off, and they were staying with the John Jacob Aster party in Cairo when Brown received a devastating call that her young grandson in the US was extremely ill.
Fearing for her grandson's life, Brown left Egypt to go to New York in a hurry. The Titanic was the next available ship, so Brown booked it. It was a quick decision, so many of her family members didn't even know she was aboard the Titanic at the time. Luckily, Helen chose to stay behind in London rather than board the ship.
- Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain22,335 VOTES
She Received The French Legion Of Honor For Her Charitable Efforts, Including Her Work To Help Rebuild France After WWI
Margaret Brown's campaign for the US Senate ended when WWI began. Instead of focusing on politics, she worked with the American Committee to rebuild a devastated France. She helped heal the wounded and repair broken buildings.
Because of her actions after WWI, along with her other charitable actions, Brown received the French Legion of Honor in 1932, the highest medal of honor in France.
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She Established A Survivor's Fund To Provide Money, Food, And Grief Support To Third-Class Passengers And Their Families
Margaret Brown's work to help those aboard the Titanic continued on the Carpathia, a ship that rescued survivors. During that time, she helped create the Titanic Survivor's Committee and raised nearly $10,000 for Titanic survivors.
Brown stayed on the Carpathia until every survivor was safe. She made sure that each individual met with a friend, family member, or doctor. Everyone was amazed by her kindness and dedication during such a difficult time. Brown wrote to her daughter:
After being brined, salted, and pickled in mid ocean I am now high and dry... I have had flowers, letters, telegrams... until I am befuddled. They are petitioning Congress to give me a medal... If I must call a specialist to examine my head it is due to the title of Heroine of the Titanic.
- Photo: The Unsinkable Molly Brown / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer42,245 VOTES
She Studied Language, Literature, And Acting; She Also Spoke Four Languages Fluently
Margaret Brown was a woman of many talents. In 1901, she attended the Carnegie Institute in New York, where she studied language, literature, and drama. She was also fluent in four different languages: English, French, German, and Russian.
These language skills were an asset for Brown on the Titanic. When rescuing survivors, she could communicate with them and command the lifeboat more easily by using all four languages.
- Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain52,381 VOTES
She Worked In A Soup Kitchen To Support The Families Of Miners Employed By Her Husband's Company
In 1886, Brown moved to a community close to the mines in Leadville, CO. She took her first job at a department store in the area when she was about 18 years old, and met her husband, James Joseph "J.J." Brown, an engineer who worked for the Ibex Mining Co.
Molly Brown helped establish soup kitchens to support the families of her husband's company. She was a humble, empathetic person throughout her life.
- Photo: Titanic / Paramount Pictures62,575 VOTES
She Used Her Newfound Fame To Speak Out For Women’s Suffrage And Workers’ Rights
Margaret Brown was always a dedicated feminist, and her fame after the Titanic incident gave her a bigger platform to speak out for women's rights as well as labor rights. Before the Titanic, she had been involved in an early feminist movement in Leadville, CO, and helped establish the Colorado Chapter of the National American Women's Suffrage Association.
In 1914, she was one of the first women to run for the US Senate, before women were even allowed to vote.