I’ve wanted to write a story about Molly Brown for a long while. My introduction to her was the movie with Debbie Reynolds. I love musicals too. And she was bigger than life itself because she always showed up!
With the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the Titanic and the film’s revival, it seems the time is now to honor Molly Brown here. By honoring her, I am simply giving her a page on my blog. Her accomplishments are best described in the stage play, the movies and books written about her.
Her story is much bigger than my simple blog has room for. I have included the link to more. Below is just where it began and left off, a quick review.
In Leadville, she met and married James Joseph Brown (1854–1922), nicknamed “J.J.”, an imaginative, self-educated man. He was not a rich man, and she married J.J. for love. After his death she said,
I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown. I thought about how I wanted comfort for my father and how I had determined to stay single until a man presented himself who could give to the tired older man the things I longed for him. Jim was as poor as we were and had no better chance. I struggled hard with myself in those days. I loved Jim, but he was poor. Finally, I decided that I’d be better off with a poor man whom I loved than with a wealthy one whose money had attracted me. So, I married Jim Brown. Margaret and J.J. married in Leadville Annunciation Church on September 1, 1886.
The Brown family acquired great wealth when in 1893, J.J.’s mining engineering efforts proved instrumental in the exploration of a substantial ore seam at the Little Jonny Mine. His employer, Ibex Mining Company, awarded him 12,500 shares of stock and a seat on the board. In Leadville, Margaret helped by working in soup kitchens to assist miners’ families.
In 1894, the Browns bought a $30,000 Victorian mansion in Denver now known as the Molly Brown House. In 1897, they built a summer house, Avoca Lodge in Southwest Denver near Bear Creek, which gave the family more social opportunities. Margaret became a charter member of the Denver Woman’s Club, whose mission was the improvement of women’s lives by continuing education and philanthropy. Adjusting to the trappings of a society lady, Brown became immersed in the arts and fluent in French, German, Italian, and Russian, a skill that came in handy after WW1. Brown co-founded a branch in Denver of the Alliance Française to promote her love of French culture. She lobbied for women’s right to vote.
After her “badassery” as a Titanic survivor, the next twenty years gave her opportunities to continue helping others. Margaret’s fame as a Titanic survivor helped her promote the philanthropic and activism issues she felt strongly about. She was concerned about the rights of workers and women, education and literacy for children, historic preservation, and commemoration of the bravery and chivalry displayed by the men aboard the Titanic. This and so much more!
J.J. Brown died on September 5, 1922. Margaret told newspapers, that although she had met royalty and other great people around the world, “I’ve never met a finer, bigger, more worthwhile man than J.J. Brown.” In the 1920s, Margaret Brown focused her energy on personal passions, especially the theater. She died in her sleep at 10:55 p.m. on October 26, 1932, at age 65, in New York City’s Barbizon Hotel. Subsequent autopsy revealed a brain tumor. She was buried next to J.J. at St. Brigid’s cemetery, now known as Cemetery of the Holy Rood, in Westbury, New York, following a small ceremony on October 31, 1932, attended by close friends and family. There was singing, but no eulogy.
THIS IS How I will remember her badassery best 😊