Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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(The Unsinkable) Molly Brown


The woman who later became known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown was born Margaret Tobin in 1867. Her birthplace is at Denkler Alley and Butler Street in Hannibal, Missouri, U.S.A..

As a young girl, Molly learned to steer a boat on the Mississippi River and, for a while, she worked as a waitress at the Park Hotel. She then moved west to Denver, Colorado after one of her customers, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) told her about the riches of the Rocky Mountains. She married and, in 1890, her husband struck it rich in the mines of Leadville. They bought a sixteen-room house on 1340 Pennsylvania Street which is now a museum of Victoriana.

During the sinking of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland on April 14, 1912, Molly Brown was reputed to have rowed for seven and a half hours and delivered herself and her passengers to safety on Lifeboat No.6. She became known as the only woman to have done so and thus earned her nickname "Unsinkable". Later, she liked to entertain the society leaders with her picturesque descriptions of the event. Many historians, however, consider Molly Brown's story to be only a legend.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1998.

Susan B. Anthony Slept Here. A Guide to American Women's Landmarks by Lynn Sherr and Jurate Kazickas, Random House, 1994

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