Edward Austin Kent

Bill Parke

Member
Dec 29, 2003
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Hi Everyone,

Edward Austin Kent was a first class passenger from Buffalo, NY who perished on the Titanic. He was also, with his brother William, the architect of the First Unitarian Church of Buffalo, now called the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. By all accounts, Kent spent his last hours on the Titanic bravely, even heroically, assisting women and children into lifeboats and repeatedly going below to bring supplies up to the boat deck for the departing passengers.

In honor of the 150th Anniversary of his birth on February 19, 2004, I'd like to share with the ET Message Board two items about him:

First, a link to a picture of a plaque at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, NY which was erected in his memory.
http://ah.bfn.org/a/elmwd/695/source/7.html

Second, a link to a PDF document describing a new exhibit on Mr. Kent I have installed in the Parish Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. This exhibit is viewable on Sundays from 10am to 1pm until May, 2004.
http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2ghki/history/kent/kent_ET.pdf

Mr. Kent was a devoted member of our church, and the congregation is forever grateful for the beautiful building he and his brother William Winthrop Kent designed for us.

Rgds,

Bill Parke, Church Historian
Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
 
Jan 29, 2001
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That was very kind of you Sir...sharing those web-links with us.

And this is exactly what makes this site such an invaluable one!

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
May 12, 2005
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Mr. Page:

I also want to thank you for that. And what Michael says about ET is too true.

You are likely aware of Edward Kent's shipboard friendship with the decorator and writer, Helen Churchill Candee. He was one of the batch of decent fellows who elected to keep her company on the voyage - along with Bjornstrom Steffanson, Archibald Gracie and others. Candee wrote a beautiful (and absolutely haunting) account of her Titanic experiences for the popular weekly, Collier's, in May 1912. She refers anonymously throughout to her fellow passengers, most of whom are now easy to identify. I am assuming Kent is the "sensitive man" she refers to in her article.

Of her "coterie" of male admirers, following a concert by the band on the night of the disaster, Candee had this to say:

"At eleven, folk drifted off to their big cabins with happy 'see-you-in-the-mornings,' until a group formed itself alone, and the only sounds the musicians made were those of instruments being shut in their velvet beds.

The Two (she refers to herself and Hugh Woolner) had all their friends about them. It was early yet. There was the restaurant above, a more cozy place for a little crowd - and things to drink were there on the end of a word of order.

So they all strayed easily up the regal stairway - refusing this time the lift - and arrived at the littlest place where one might eat, and took a table large enough for the six. The only other table was made gay by the party of a president's aid.

"But how cold its is, how arctic," and she of the Two drew close her scarf.

"Something hot, then," said he to the waiter, and the steam savored of Scotch and lemon.

How gay they were, these six. The talkative man told stories, the sensitive man glowed and laughed, the two modest Irishmen forgot to be suppressed, the facile Norseman cracked American jokes, the cosmopolitan Englishman expanded, and the lady felt divinely flattered to be in such company..."

At least it's a comforting thought to know that Kent was happy in his last hours. And he would have been pleased to know, I'm sure, that his friendship was appreciated and remembered so sweetly.

Randy
 

Bill Parke

Member
Dec 29, 2003
5
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Michael - It is my pleasure to share the information about Mr. Kent. Thank you for your interest.

Randy - What an interesting article the Colliers one is. I'm going to try to get a copy from interlibrary loan. Because (according to my research) Mrs. Candee had been entrusted to Kent's care during the journey, I am sure there are more references to him in it, and since I know little about his demeanor or personality, I am very interested in the article. If you have a copy and wish to share it, you could send it to:
Bill Parke, Church Historian
Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
695 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222-1697

Rgds,

Bill Parke
 
May 12, 2005
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Bill:

I will send you a copy ASAP.

It was originally my thought that the "He of the Two" to whom Helen Candee refers so discreetly (and romantically) in this article was Kent rather than Woolner but others have told me it was the younger man (Woolner) who was more ardent in his attentions to her.

I would like to know more details of this myself. Ben Holme are you out there?

Randy
 

Ben Holme

Member
Feb 11, 2001
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Hi Randy,

Only just noticed this one! You are quite correct to say that "he of the two" referred to Woolner, rather than Kent. Walter Lord, who carried out the initial, and most memorable research into Helen Candee and her "Coterie" was adament that it was Woolner who was vying for her attentions most. In "The Night Lives On", Lord made specific reference to an incident where Woolner affectionately caressed Mrs. Candee's hand, she having just handled a lump of ice from the berg. This incident is referred to in the Colliers acount.

Having corresponded with Bill, and seen some of the fruits of his excellent research into the ill-fated Buffalo architect, I'm sure he will consider putting together an article on Edward Kent in the future. In the meantime, I'm sure Bill will enjoy the Candee account, which you kindly sent me, as much as I did.

Best wishes,
Ben