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Mr Jacques Heath Futrelle

Jacques Heath Futrelle

Mr Jacques Heath Futrelle, 37, was born 9 April 1875 in Pike County, Georgia, the son of Wiley Harmon Heath Futrelle (a descendant of the French Huguenots) and Linnie (Bevill) Futrelle

He attended public schools in Pike County but was also schooled by his father (a teacher in an Atlanta College) in basic academics and French.

Futrelle began his career at the age of 18 when he took a job with the Atlanta Journal. The following year he went to work for the Boston Post but would soon after return to the Journal. Here he set up the magazine's first sports department.

He married Lily May Peel on 17 July 1895 in her parent's home. They would later have two children, John and Virginia.

Jacque's moved to the New York Herald. Soon after this, he began writing detective stories. In 1902, Jacques accepted the position of manager of a small repertory theater in Richmond, Virginia, where he wrote and acted in several plays. After a two year stint with the theater, he then took a job on the editorial staff of the Boston American. Around this period he began a series of stories around 'The Thinking Machine' - a detective character he created who would eventually appear in over forty stories - and had several of his stories printed in the "American". It has been suggested that his detective was an inspiration for Agatha Christie. Not being the only one in the family with a flair for writing, his wife, May, also authored several novels and magazine articles.

Jacques became a well known and respected novelist by the early 20th century - his best known works being: "The Thinking Machine", "The Thinking Machine On The Case", "The Diamond Master" and "The High Hand". Around this time he bought a house in Scituate, razed it and built a 'Cape Cod' for his wife and family.


In 1912 the couple travelled in Europe for several weeks while Jacques wrote a number of magazine articles. On the night before sailing, friends had gathered in London to celebrate Mr Futrelle's 37th birthday. The party did not end until 3:00 A.M. and the Futrelle's never went to bed but packed and headed for Southampton. Mrs Futrelle was later to lament that "if my husband had got drunk that night, he might not have sailed, and he might be alive today. But he never did drink much."

Travelling as first class passengergers they were possibly accomodated in cabin C-123 (ticket number 113803, £53, 2s)

After the collision with the iceberg, Jacques got his wife into lifeboat (Collapsible) D. May pleaded with him to get in the boat but he resisted, saying he would come later on in another lifeboat. May remembered the last she saw of him, he was smoking a cigarette with John J. Astor. Jacque's last work, "My Lady's Garter", was published posthumously later in 1912. May inscribed in the book, "To the heroes of the Titanic, I dedicate this my husband's book" under a photo of her late husband.




Jacques Futrelle with his family
Boston Sunday Post,  (1912) 
Portrait of Jacques Futrelle

Articles and Stories

New York Times (1912) 
Chicago Tribune (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
The Nation (1912) 
Worcester Telegram (1912) 
The Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
Washington Times (1912) 
Worcester Telegram (1912) 
Washington Herald (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 
New York Times (1912) 

Comment and discuss

May Peel Futrelle (22 posts)
Jacques Futrelle (10 posts)
Futrelle family photos and clippings (9 posts)
Two friends May Futrelle and Rene Harris (9 posts)
Jacques Futrelle online (4 posts)


Luis Velez
Eric-Jan Noomen
George Behe, USA
Phillip Gowan, USA

Link and cite this biography

Encyclopedia Titanica (2016) Jacques Heath Futrelle (ref: #127, last updated: 21st December 2016, accessed 20th January 2021 04:34:35 AM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/jacques-futrelle.html