Woman who saw Titanic's last Sunrise


Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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I just viewed the movie and would like more information on a 1st Class passenger named, Helen Candy (or Candide?). She wrote about her experience aboard the ship, so I guess that she survived. I am seeking more information.

Cheers
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Hi Susan.

Yes, Helen Churchill Candee did survive the sinking; only four women in 1st Class perished (they were Bess Allison, Edith Evans, Anna Isham, and Ida Strauss).

Ms. Candee, I believe, had to pay the excess baggage charge, and she used her receipt as part of her claim for her losses in the sinking.

I am not certain, but I think she may have been the person who said, in regards to the loading of the lifeboats, "Just tell us what to do, and we'll do it".

Here is her ET Biography:
https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/biography.php/candee_helen_churchill_49.html
 

Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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Looks like she had many talents, too bad there is not a better picture of her posted. The movie made it seem like she wasn't married because she was traveling alone. I was interested in her writing of her experience on the Titanic.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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John, I recall those lines too, but I think they were from the Molly Brown character and she ads, "C'mon girls- we can row- it'll keep us warm!" Now to remember which film-I think it was ANTR. I know it was not Thelma Ritter nor Kathy Bates. Oh, Mrs. Candee was gorgeous-no wonder all the men were so chivalrous and attentive.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Shelley, it was ANTR, although I don't remember who played Molly Brown. Was it something MacGuire or something like that? I'll have to look at the cast list again.
 

Bob Godfrey

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John, you might be thinking of Marian Thayer's exasperated comment (after being led up and down stairs too many times) "Tell us where to go and we will follow". Something rather like it was scripted for a bit-part 1st Class passenger in ANTR: "First they tell us to go up, then they tell us to wait down here". But Tucker McGuire as Molly Brown did have the line about rowing to keep warm.
 
May 12, 2005
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Hi, Susan:

There’s a thread under the Gilded Age topic here on ET that I started a while ago called "Decorating With Helen Churchill Candee." You might find that of interest.

As to the story of Helen’s standing on the bow at sunset — I’m afraid it can’t be confirmed that she actually did that. The authenticity of the article that supposedly contained that story is in question. In fact, only Charles Pellegrino, somewhat notorious for fictionalizing history, is the only one who’s ever seen the "original." Pellegrino, whom I hope is a better biologist than he is a scholar, still has the Helen Candee story up on his website, I believe, if you want to read it. I’ve studied Helen’s career as an art and design critic, having read her books and almost all her articles on the subject, and I have to say that the pulp-fiction style of writing in the Pellegrino document doesn’t at all match the lilting, florid prose of Helen’s known published work.

Helen’s personal life is still an area I’ve yet to examine at length but I think she was a widow by 1912. She’d been separated from her husband, however, for some time, and may have been divorced. She was a popular figure in the Washington social scene, being the center of a brilliant literary and artistic circle that included Edith Galt, the future wife of President Wilson. Helen was very attractive and although in her 50s at the time of the Titanic disaster, she was still quite alluring to judge from various accounts. There is much about her in Walter Lord’s "A Night to Remember" and "The Night Lives On." A good reproduction of a portrait of Helen, taken about 1905, appears in Don Lynch’s "Titanic: An Illustrated History. "

The rather poetic story Helen wrote about her experiences on Titanic for Collier’s Weekly (May 4, 1912) is, in my opinion, one of the most hauntingly beautiful contemporary accounts by a survivor.

Here’s a brief sketch of her that I wrote sometime back:

Helen Churchill Candee (1859-1949) was a noted author and lecturer on the arts and travel as well as a successful interior decorator, textile design consultant, art critic and journalist. Her career spanned the 1890s through the 1930s. She contributed regularly to such prestigious publications as Scribner's, Atlantic Monthly, The Century, International Studio and National Geographic Magazine.

Helen Candee’s books on home design include "Decorative Styles and Periods" (1906), "The Tapestry Book" (1912), "Jacobean Furniture" (1916), and "Weaves and Draperies" (1930). Several of these titles, most notably "The Tapestry Book," were re-released in the 1930s.
She was also an editor for the magazine Arts and Decoration between 1918 and 1926.

Her first book, "How Women May Earn a Living" (1900), considered a pioneering work in business literature and feminist studies, is available for reading online, courtesy of Cornell University Library, at http://historical.library.cornell.edu/cdl/cdl_C.html. Her second book was fiction, one of only two of her published works in that genre, called "An Oklahoma Romance" (1901).

Candee’s books on travel in the East are regarded as classics in that field. They are "Angkor the Magnificent" (1924) and "New Joumeys in Old Asia" (1927).

The 1924 edition of the "Biographical Cyclopedia of Women" (now available online) contains a profile of Helen. It reads:

CANDEE, HELEN CHURCHILL, author, was born in New York City, October 5, 1868. She is a daughter of Henry Hungerford, a [p.160] descendant of Benjamin Hungerford, who came from England to Connecticut in 1640, and of Mary E. Churchill, descended from Elder William Brewster, who came to Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620. She was educated in private schools in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut, and was married, in Norwalk, to Edward W. Candee. Her travels in America, Europe, and the Far East have been extensive, and she was one of the survivors of the Titanic when that ship foundered on April 15, 1912. She has contributed many stories and essays to magazines, is on the editorial staff of Arts and Decoration, New York, and is the author of An Oklahoma Romance (1900), Susan Truslow (1901), How Women May Earn a Living (1902), Styles and Periods in Furniture and Decoration (1904), The Tapestry Book (1910), and Jacobean Furniture (1916). For her services in Italy during the World War she was decorated by the Royal Italian Red Cross and she has since been engaged in work on post-war help for ex-service men. She is a member of the Archaeological Society and the National Federation of Arts.

Helen Candee’s birthdate is incorrect in this entry. It was in fact 1859. Also the publication dates given for her books are wrong, except for Jacobean Furniture.

Best wishes for the holidays,
Randy
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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Bob, Shelly,
I remember Chloris Leachman's Molly Brown making the statement of "Just tell us what to do, and we'll do it" in SOS TITANIC. However, I thought it was equated with another 1st Class passenger.

As we know, the filmmakers would love to have all the classic lines equated with famous characters, such as Bruce Ismay imploring Isidore Strauss to get in to Lifeboat 8, in the 1996 mini-series.
 

Susan Alby

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Oct 22, 2004
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Thanks- You have given me a lot of solid information to chew on. Often, I am amazed by all of the knowledge and details of ET members posts. All this knowledge about the Titanic is out there, all we have to do is seek it. Even if one spends his (or her) whole life studying Titanic, there will still be more to learn!

Warmest Holiday wishes to you-
Susan
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Thanks John- that line has been driving me nuts -yes, it was indeed Cloris. She was a hoot in that film, a little over the top but memorable! I was just recently thinking of Susan St. James when her son was killed in that plane crash. She certainly did retire from the screen, after a stellar television career. Although I thought her school marm character in SOS was highly unlikely, and especially in the connection with Beesley,- I loved her great exit line, "You'll forgive me, but I'm waiting for a better offer"- I have impressed this pearl of wisdom on both my daughters!
 

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