Helen Churchill Candee


Apr 11, 2001
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What a lovely Christmas present. A beautiful tribute to a remarkable lady, and how wonderful to see some fresh material and new images of Helen. Orchids to you, Randy.
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks Shelley, I appreciate that very much. Helen was great fun to research and there’s a lot more that could have been added. Merry Christmas to you and happy holidays to everyone.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Hi Randy,
That was all very interesting to readand the new pictures were great.What is your opinion ofthe Pellegrino website with the 'unpublished'account by Helen? He's had such a credibility problem with inventing dialogue in his books, I have no idea if that lengthy account is legit or not. Although,judging by the dialogue,I would lean towards no.
Mike
 
Apr 22, 2012
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Randy, I found your article to be terrific. I could tell from my first few minutes of reading that you'd written it, and it was another shining example of the thorough, fascinating research that I have come to expect from you. I was never a big admirer of Helen Churchill Candee, the reason not being that I didn't find her interesting, I just knew very little about her. I simply knew her as the lady who supposedly stood on Titanic's prow. Your biography of her was an eye-opener to me as to what a remarkable lady she was.

Would you happen to know the cause of her son's death?
 

Brian Ahern

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Dec 19, 2002
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I must echo everyone's praise. An excellent piece. And thank you, Randy, for including the piece she'd written herself. I had never seen it before. Now I know where so much of the information on her and quotes from her originated.
Thank you!

As an aside - does anyone else here automatically think of Alma Paulsen and her children as the steerage family? The Strauses are easy to identify, and I'm leaning to the Baxters for the other family. Obviously the "wife" was either Zette or Mme DeVilliers.
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks to you all for the kind words.

Michael —— I have my doubts about the authenticity of the article on Pellegrino’s site for the reason you mention. Also, the article isn’t worded as Helen would have written it; it’s just not her style. I suspect that it was written by someone else, perhaps drawing from Helen’s notes and/or letters. Helen did write some pulp-type fiction for magazines, which was well beneath her usual standard, but her writing style was never cheap as is the article in question.

Brandon —— Harold Candee died of pneumonia in England, where he was living by that time, being president of the Birmingham Working Boys Home. The Times ran a brief obit on July 11, 1925. He died on July 9.

Brian —— I don’t know about the Paulsens, but I think you’re right about the Baxters, although, like you, I wonder if the "adorable wife" was actually Quigg’s sister or else his mistress. If it was the latter, one can be sure Mamma Baxter was not aware of Mme. de Villiers’ vocation!
 
May 9, 2001
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Randy you've done an excellent job. What a talented man you are. Thank you for sharing your fascinating research into such a fascinating woman. Its because of Helen Candee and others like her that Titanic has become such a legend of our culture. What a full life she enjoyed and endured.
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks again for the kind comments, friends.

I wanted to share the following bit from the Washington Post’s society page of May 3, 1908; I’ll be submitting it for Helen’s ET bio, too. Because it gives such an interesting peak into her busy life I wanted to include it in the article but I decided to cut it for space:

"….Among those who will go (abroad) next month is Mrs. Churchill Candee who will be accompanied by her young son, now at college in Denver. Mrs. Candee will make a round of visits in England. She may return to this side before the end of the summer in order to make some visits among friends who have places in Northern resorts. Mrs. Candee returned from England in the fall and reopened her house in Rhode Island Avenue, which has been all winter the center of a charming and continuous, though quiet, hospitality. Its gracious chatelaine rarely dines without a small company of guests.

Herself an interesting woman, Mrs. Candee has gathered about her the most interesting people in Washington society. Notwithstanding her fondness for social and outdoor life, she gives much time to literary work. Her latest book is a history of decorative styles and periods. Mrs. Candee is of New England descent, tracing her ancestry to Elder Brewster of the Mayflower…."
 

Pat Winship

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May 8, 2001
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Randy, I notice something interesting in the photo of the suffragettes' parade in Washington. Every woman who is on a horse in that picture is riding astride, not side-saddle. Do you think it's a statement?
 
May 12, 2005
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Pat Winship wrote: Randy, I notice something interesting in the photo of the suffragettes' parade in Washington. Every woman who is on a horse in that picture is riding astride, not side-saddle. Do you think it's a statement?

Hi, Pat. You know, I didn’t notice that. Thanks for pointing it out. Seeing it now, I can’t imagine it being anything other than a statement.

This reminds me of a mistake I made in my article. Helen was one of SEVEN women riders, not six, who led the 1913 suffrage parade. Not shown in the picture is the beautiful young labor lawyer Inez Milholland, who wore a billowing white cape as she rode (yes, also astride) a huge white steed at the very front of the parade. She must have been just abreast of the camera when the picture I found was taken. She was followed by Helen Churchill Candee, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, Mrs. Roger Burleson and three others whose names I don’t recall off-hand.

I should add that at least two of Helen’s comrades that day, Milholland and Shaw, did not live to see women win the right to vote seven years later. Milholland suffered from anemia but it didn’t keep her off the campaign trail. She was only 30 years old when she collapsed and died after giving a speech in Los Angeles in 1916. Her last words couldn’t have been more powerful: "Mr. President, how long must women suffer for liberty?"

Dr. Shaw, who is on the horse to Helen’s right, had been a colleague of no less a figure than Susan B. Anthony. She later served on the Council of National Defense and was the first woman to be awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Sadly, she died in 1919, just a year before President Wilson finally passed the amendment granting all American women the right to vote.

Thanks again, Pat, for pointing out a very meaningful message indeed in that historic parade. It may be easy for us to miss today but I bet the spectators got it loud and clear in 1913!

Randy
 
Apr 11, 2001
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A very exciting observation, Pat- and one I had missed completely. These do not seem to be split skirts either, just regular riding habits bunched up on either side. Here is a postcard of Zena Dare (English Gilded Age stage actress) wearing a similar ensemble dated 1913, and a great link to the history of riding for women, both astride and aside. I always wondered how Annie Oakley stayed on her horse. Her skirts were quite short for her day, with many petticoats beneath it.
101212.jpg


http://www.newrider.com/Library/How_it_Was/femaleriding2.html
 
May 12, 2005
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Helen Churchill Candee’s great grandson Ian Barker has drawn my attention to two spelling inaccuracies in family names used in my article, and I want to correct those here. Helen’s daughter Edith’s married name was spelled "Mathews" (one "t") and Helen’s granddaughter Mary’s husband’s first name was spelled "Allon" ("o" not "a"). My apologies.
 

Lisa Kraner

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May 26, 2005
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Randy I have to say that is some wonderful work on your part.......thank you for opening my eyes to Helen Churchill Candee.......I had no idea this extraordinary women was on the titanic.........Aganin thanks, Lisa
 
Apr 11, 2001
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The NBC Today show featured the oil miniature and silver flask belonging to Helen this morning at 8 a.m., and tried to establish a parallel between Jack and Rose and Helen and Edward Kent, which seemed a bit feeble but it kept audiences tuned in with the teasers promising a hot scoop! It was wonderful to see her handwriting and to hear excerpts. The flask and portrait are in magnificent condition-it was also nice to see Mr. Aldrich!
 
May 12, 2005
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Thanks, Shelley. I’m sorry I missed this bit. Was way too groggy to care about much of anything at 8 a.m. I was actually contacted by someone for the morning show wanting info about that supposed parallel. I told them I was pretty sure Cameron did not use Helen as an inspiration for the "Rose & Jack in love on the bow" scene because he didn’t know of her account at the time. I guess that’s not what they wanted to hear so their proposed interview with me didn’t go forward! Lesson: If you lie or exaggerate you can get on TV!
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I understand the inspiration for that silly story came from something written by Charlie Pelligrino. Poor Mr. Kent- I imagine he would have been flabbergasted. Still, I was mildly happy about gals in their, uh, fifties being considered fodder for hot romance.
 

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