Margaret Tobin Brown presenting trophy cup award to Capt. Arthur Henry Rostron for his service in the rescue of the Titanic.
Although she is generally remembered as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” Margaret did not use the nickname Molly.
Wealthy, but born into a working class family, Margaret was known for her community involvement long before the sinking of the Titanic. She was an active suffragette and one of the founders of the Colorado branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Margaret was also a charter member of the Denver Woman’s Club which worked to improve women’s lives through philanthropy. She helped to develop the US’s first juvenile court, organized soup kitchens for miner’s families, and fundraised for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.
A passenger on the Titanic, Margaret was thrown into a lifeboat and immediately worked to aid others, stripping off her own stockings to warm under dressed survivors in the frigid cold. On board the Carpathia, Margaret spearheaded relief efforts, cajoling wealthy passengers to donate money for third class passengers who had lost family in the tragedy. She chaired the Survivor’s Committee and in addition to presenting the cup shown above, had a medal struck for each member of the Carpathia’s crew.
Against the idea of women and children first (“Women demand equal rights on land - why not at sea?”), Margaret advocated for the enlistment of female soldiers. During World War I, Margaret worked in France to aid allied soldiers and was awarded the French Legion of Honor. In her final years, she fulfilled a life long dream and briefly studied to become an actress.
More about Margaret “Molly” Brown:
We’ve got one thing that Voldemort doesn’t have. Something worth fighting for.
The 1940 Census is here! Available entirely online for the first time. Congratulations to all of our National Archives colleagues who made this possible.
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