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The descendant of a survivor of the Titanic will travel from England to America to share letters and photographs of her great-grandmother, who was a women’s rights advocate and journalist and wrote an account of her rescue.
As part of the centennial observance of the sinking of the Titanic, Rosemary Gillham of Hertfordshire, will visit Norwalk for an exhibit at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum titled Epic Voyage: The Extraordinary Life of Titanic Survivor Helen Churchill Candee, and will bring her great-grandmother’s papers. The exhibit runs from April 25 to October 14,2012.
“My great-grandmother has always been an inspiration for me,” said Gillham. “She was 53 when she traveled on the Titanic, and that tragic evening was just one night in a long and very full life. She had already achieved a huge amount and went on to travel and write extensively.”
Candee was in Europe when a family crisis forced her to return to America aboard the Titanic on its inaugural voyage to New York, when it struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, and sank, resulting in the death of 1,517 people.
She fractured her ankle as she boarded Lifeboat 6 with the ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown. Afterwards, she recuperated at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, where she received get-well letters from friends, including First Lady Helen Taft. She was interviewed by the Washington Herald and wrote an account of her rescue for Collier’s Weekly.
Candee, who attended school in Norwalk and published her first book, How Women May Earn a Living, in 1900, wrote for National Geographic, Atlantic Monthly and the Ladies’ Home Journal. She was an organizer in the “Votes for Women” rally in Washington. She became one of the first interior decorators and worked for President Theodore Roosevelt.
During World War I, she volunteered with the Red Cross in Italy and continued to write. Her work, Angkor the Magnificent, is considered the first study of the Khmer temple.
To kick off the exhibit April 21, Dr. Stephen Coan, President and CEO of Sea Research Foundation, will talk about the legacy of the Titanic and be joined on video by ocean explorer Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic in 1985. Portions of Mystic Aquarium’s new exhibit, “Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below,” will be displayed at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.