Cunningham and Jemima's Titanic The Last Survivor The Life Of Millvina Dean


Nov 23, 2008
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A new book is published by Kingfisher Productions in the UK about the life of Millvina Dean. Entitled 'Tianic - The Last Survivor, the book written by Anthony Cunningham and Sheila Jemmima is a glossy hardback with lots of colour and black & white photos depicting her life from just a few weeks old right up to today in her 97th year. Available from Kingfisher at http://www.railwayvideo.com/maritime.htm, or 0845 053 3464
 
Jul 23, 2008
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Thanks for your kind words, Jim!

As you know, the book has taken some years to come to fruition - with many ups and downs along the way. Millvina herself has been very supportive of the whole project which made it a pleasure to work on. It was lovely working with Sheila Jemima because I had so admired 'Titanic Voices'. Also, she has been a friend of Millvina's for at least twenty five years and so had plenty of interesting stories about her to include in the manuscript. Thanks must also go to Brian Ticehurst because he has been very encouraging throughout the whole process. What he and Sheila don't know about Millvina is nobody's business!!

Sheila and I also wanted to make sure that Millvina was contracted to receive a percentage of any proceeds from the book sales too. Ten years ago this wouldn't have interested her at all but as you know, her circumstances have changed since then.

By the way, congratulations to both you and Mike Poirier on your superb Lusitania article, 'Lest We Forget'. I'm awed by your capacity for finding fascinating stories about this disaster.
 

Taylor Marino

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Feb 3, 2007
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WOW!! I can't wait to read that book.... Millvina is a fascinating woman. I get to go visit her in late December ( I'm not kidding, i got the letter right in my hand, that was sent from her) and maybe she can share some of her thoughts on the book with me.
 
Jul 23, 2008
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Hi Taylor

Thanks for your enthusiasm! I'm really pleased you're going to visit Millvina this December. She loves getting visitors and you'll have plenty to chat about. How lovely of her to write to you personally too. I treasure all the correspondence I have received from her over the years.

Millvina has had such an interesting life hasn't she? It's clear that on Encyclopedia Titanica she has dozens of admirers and is well loved. It was great fun being able to put all her stories into a book. I hope you like it!
 
Dec 2, 2008
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Hi, I'm new to this website but since the film I have really got into reading about the passengers on the Titanic. I have heard that there is a new book coming out soon about the life of Milvina Dean which is something I'm interested in and so am quite excited about. Does anyone know about this book? It was reviewed in the papers about two months ago
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Lorraine, there is another thread about the book; will have to note website citation and post it for you.

Listmember Anthony Cunningham helped collaborate the book, for which Millvina will receive a share of the residuals.
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Lorraine, the book discussion can be found at:
[Link to this thread removed. MAB]
I recommend that any further inquiries be made at that thread.

The publishers website is:
http://www.railwayvideo.com/maritime.htm
You will find the book listed there.

I have ordered my copy of the book.

[Moderator's Note: This message and the two above it, originally posted to a different thread, have been moved to the thread mentioned in John Clifford's messages. MAB]
 
Dec 2, 2008
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Hi John

Thanks for your information about the book i was looking for. It's taken me some time to find my way around this message board so i definitely wouldn't have found the book on my own!

I'm interested to know about this lady because everyone who mentions her is so reverent about her. She must have led an extraordinary life!

I wonder if that was the reason for writing the book, does anyone know?

many thanks for your help so far,

Lorraine
 
Jul 23, 2008
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Hi Lorraine

You said: "...everyone who mentions her is so reverent about her. She must have led an extraordinary life!"

I need only to direct you to the thread on Titanic Passengers to see just how admired Millvina Dean is on this message board! I think the reason she is so popular is this:

1) She has always been very kind to people she meets who take an interest in Titanic passengers.

2) She has a bubbly, yet gracious personality which makes her a very attractive person to know.

3) She would happily talk about the Titanic and attend Titanic related functions when other Titanic survivors declined or were incapacitated by illness or age etc. That way she became very well known in Titanic circles (and to the international media).

4) She was THERE. She is the sole surviving link to that extraordinary event which each new generation 'discovers' for themselves. One of our last Edwardians; a bridge to another age.


The reason I wrote her biography was because I wondered what it was like to lead a life of complete anonymity and then suddenly have a post retirement life full of adventure! A life which is 'bookended' by the Titanic, if you like!

Anthony
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Great reasons to write a book, Anthony - I've often wondered how it would be to come to international fame comparatively late in life, under such circumstances. I know Millvina only through involvement in the BTS and through mutual friends and brief meetings, but she has always been the epitome of graciousness and humour...even when a few of those attracted to her, sometimes through overenthusiasm and sometimes through more mercenery motives, have sometimes fallen short of graciousness themselves. But she has attracted a cadre of sincere friends and admirers and high-minded defenders, which says much of her character.

Looking forward tremendously to the book - and I was delighted to hear that both you and Sheila had worked on it...I had some contact with Sheila on the recent re-release of Titanic Voices and the supplementary CD, and she was a pleasure to communicate with.
 
May 27, 2007
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quote:

The reason I wrote her biography was because I wondered what it was like to lead a life of complete anonymity and then suddenly have a post retirement life full of adventure! A life which is 'bookended' by the Titanic, if you like!
That is interesting now that I think on it.

I myself always wondered what her life would of been like if she'd made it to America with her family intact. I believe on another thread on this site it mentions that Millvina made a trip to the place where her parents were going to settle here in America if the ship didn't go down and it made the news and not only the area news but was also reported here in Missouri. I forget where the Dean Family was going to settle though? Somewhere in Kansas I think? More is the pity they didn't make it. Millvina would of loved growing up in the USA with her Dad but maybe the Deans might of got homesick and moved back to England. Chance is a funny thing.​
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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George, the Deans would have settled in and/or around the Kansas City area.

When Millvina came over here, on the QE2, in August 1997, her "Post-Tour" Guide was the (now-deceased) travel coordinator from Kansas City.
He showed her the various places that would have been part of her life, had the family made it to Kansas City; that included Millvina meeting distant relations.

One can only wonder what would have happened, if the family made it to Missouri/Kansas, to live.

BTW, one of Millvina's favorite stories, from the Kansas City area, was that of Jessie and Frank James.
I heard about Millvina's interest, and made sure to send her a "WANTED!!" poster, about the James brothers, during a visit to the Smithsonian Postal Museum in Washington DC; saw the poster in the Museum's Gift Shop.
I sent a copy to the travel agent/coordinator, in Kansas City. He recommended that I send one to Millvina; assured him I had done just that.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi John,

I figured it was in the Kansas/Missouri area. Which is probably why I remembered it and also why it made the local News here.

I never know Millvina was interested in the James Brothers. Supposedly my Great-great Grandfather was on a train they robbed. Small World.
 
Jul 23, 2008
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The whole episode of Millvina's trip to Kansas is, of course, included in the book. She told me it was both eerie and fascinating seeing the house she and her family would have lived in had they made it all those years ago.

Inger - you're right. Millvina's good nature has meant that dozens of people have, over the years, been less than honest with her. Fortunately most of these have got what they wanted and have slipped into the background. However, as you say, she is also lucky to have so many genuine friends with her best interests at heart.

Sheila Jemima was lovely to work with. I still think 'Titanic Voices; is one of the best Titanic books around. I was absolutely delighted when she agreed to work with me on Millvina's biography.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Anthony,

Eerie indeed. I very vaguely remember the house from the report and it looked nice and of a good size. A nice house for a little girl to grow up in with her brother. Millvina might of had a sense of crossing paths when she went to Kansas City. What I mean is on one path you have her going back to England with her Mom and brother and on another you have the ship not sinking or the whole Dean family making it off and them living in Kansas City. Crossing parallel lines. I wonder how they would of liked living there? I hope that she enjoyed her trip.
 
Jul 23, 2008
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My co-author, Sheila Jemima visited Millvina yesterday.

She told me tonight that Millvina is in very good spirits and excited about book coming out at the end of the week. For those of you in the Hampshire area I believe there is going to be a three day abridged serialisation of the book this week in the Southern Daily Echo.
 

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