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.

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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.

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Pictures

Jacques Futrelle with his family
Boston Sunday Post,  (1912) 
JACQUES FUTRELLE WITH HIS FAMILY
Portrait of Jacques Futrelle
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

  1. avatar

    Dave Gittins said:

    For those who wonder what the famous for a collection of stories. I've not read any yet. I wonder how he compares with Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes.

  2. Mike Herbold said:

    Dave: Your post inspired me to re-read "My Lady's Garter" on a recent long-distance flight. Futrelle struts his vocabulary like a peacock at times, but, all in all, he weaves a good tale, with numerous plot and character twists. He has a very subtle sense of humor that sneaks up on you. He also likes to incorporate his home area of Massachusetts into the story, including his own "Stepping Stones" address. Unfortunately Futrelle had only written a few books before his life was cut short by the Titanic disaster, so it's hard to compare his limited offerings to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's... Read full post

  3. Mike Herbold said:

    Dave, and also Phil Hind: Finally got on the Jacques Futrelle website: This is an excellent site, and should be linked both to his biography and in the Links section.

  4. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Mike, From what I've recently found, Jacques Futrelle had first risen to fame as a writer of short stories, literally hundreds of them for The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. It is very frank of you to admit that you assumed Futrelle was only well known AFTER the Titanic. This is the attitude of so many of us toward all of the better known figures on Titanic. Not that it applies to you, but for a lot of us I think this is because we are so caught up with the story of Titanic and know so little else about that era that we sometimes have a hard time imagining her people outside... Read full post

  5. Regina Arlene Wilson said:

    Virgin poster here! Hello. Can anyone assist me? I've been searching for stories and information on Jacques Futrelle. I was told of him and his works my my grandmother when I was growing up. I believe I am a descendent from what I've been told, how can I find this out? I also have an interest in writing as does my son and thought it could be interested to be placed on the family tree as I could fill in the last few generations of the tree...or at least help out. I am also interested in my son rewriting some of the work in a modern way and wondered if this is possible as we believe we are... Read full post

  6. Regina Arlene Wilson said:

    Hello. Can anyone assist me? I've been searching for stories and information on Jacques Futrelle. I was told of him and his works my my grandmother when I was growing up. I believe I am a descendent from what I've been told, how can I find this out? I also have an interest in writing as does my son and thought it could be interested to be placed on the family tree as I could fill in the last few generations of the tree...or at least help out. I am also interested in my son rewriting some of the work in a modern way and wondered if this is possible as we believe we are descendents from... Read full post

  7. avatar

    Dave Gittins said:

    Regina, the way to do this is to work backwards from yourself. Records of your ancestors will be on public records, though this varies quite a bit, depending on where you live. There is probably a genealogy club of some sort in your area that could guide you. Forget family traditions. What you need are documented facts. Be prepared to spend a good deal of time and a bit of money. Futrelle's work is out of copyright, so there's nothing to stop anybody reworking it. You can get an idea of his stories from the Internet, as most of them are online. I don't have the URL, but a search for... Read full post

  8. Deborah Russes said:

    Regina: If you are interested in any genealogical connections for Jacques Futrelle, I would suggest starting your search with sites specifically geared for such research. You can try . You can also do what I have done (with success)and that is to write to people with the Futrelle surname, explain your goals and see what happens. Do you know or have any idea how you are connected to him? Your posting says... Read full post

  9. George Behe said:

    Hi, Regina All my best, George

  10. Regina Arlene Wilson said:

    I believe that Jacque Futrelle is related to my grandmother, Vera May Futrelle, as she mentioned it when i was young and used to read me his stories. I believe hes her uncle and I can update alot of the family tree from my grandmothers side, tho she sadly passed on now. My grandmother was born May 21, 1910 and was an only child, dont know her mums name or dads name which could be a sibling to Jacque. How difficult this has been to try to learn the truth!!! Regi

  11. avatar

    Inger Sheil said:

    Hallo Regina, and welcome to the board. I've amalgamated your posts and the responses you've recieved so far into the one thread - this should enhance your chances of getting a response, and will keep the answers in the one place for anyone else who is interested at a future date in reading or responding to your post. I wish you every success in getting an answer to your query!

  12. David Huffaker said:

    His parents full names are Wiley Harmon Heath Futrelle (although you will usually see it as Wiley H.H. Futrelle or some variation) and Linnie Bevill. He had at least one sister, Alberta Futrelle, who married Charles Copeland. Good luck.

  13. Deborah Raymond said:

    This goes out to Regina Arlene Wilson who posted inquiries about Jacque Futrelle in May 2004. Jacque Futrelle was my great grandfather. Was wondering if you had been successful in finding out if you are in fact related?

  14. Vickey Gearring said:

    Need an interesting book to read??-I just finished reading Jacques Futrelle's My Lady's Garter. It wasnt what I'd call "couldn't put it down good" but still a good read. He definitely had a way with words!! Interesting twists in the story made it kinda fun. I just wanted to get to "know" him a little better and thought reading one of his books would be a good way to do that.

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Credits

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 27th February 2021 17:10:36 PM)
URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-victim/jacques-futrelle.html

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