• Margaret Tobin Brown was one of the most famous survivors of the Titanic. Brown was a wealthy, first-class passenger returning to the United States after a long trip to Egypt and Western Europe. (She and her husband, an engineer for a gold-mining company, made their fortune in the "boom town" of Denver, Colorado.)

    In this insurance claim, Brown lists (itemizes) all her valuable possessions that went down with the Titanic. With this claim, she is asking the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited (the owners of the Titanic) for a grand total of $27,887 as compensation for her losses. The claim, filed in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1913, demonstrates the Titanic disaster did not stop Brown from international travel!

    Margaret Brown did not spend most of her time outside the United States, however. She became a powerful voice for woman suffrage and labor reform, and twice ran for U.S. Senate in the state of Colorado. A fanciful musical based on her life was called The Unsinkable Molly Brown. (She was never called Molly in her lifetime.)

    • Margaret Brown claimed a Titanic loss of $27,887 in 1913. Adjusted for inflation (as of April 2012), her claims come to $636,238.
    • The most financially valuable item Brown lost on the Titanic was a necklace, valued at $20,000. Today, it would be worth $459,925.
    • The least-valuable items claimed by Brown were two pairs of slippers, valued at $16, or $8 a pair. That sounds fairly reasonable. However, today those slippers would cost $368, or $184 a pair.
    • Margaret Brown was probably the first philanthropist to raise money for destitute Titanic survivors and families of the victims. She began raising funds as soon as she boarded the Carpathia, the ship that raced to rescue Titanic survivors. By the time the Carpathia docked in New York City, Brown had raised $10,000—that's $230,000, adjusted for inflation.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    boom town Noun

    urban area that grows very rapidly due to economic opportunity.

    compensation Noun

    fee or money paid for goods, services, debt, loss, injury, or suffering.

    destitute Adjective

    very poor.

    engineer Noun

    person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

    fund Verb

    to give money to a program or project.

    heir Noun

    person who inherits property or money following the death of the property owner.

    inflation Noun

    increase in the price of goods and services.

    insurance Noun

    money paid in good health to guarantee financial or physical health if injury or damage occurs.

    labor Noun

    work or employment.

    mining Noun

    process of extracting ore from the Earth.

    philanthropist Noun

    person who donates money, goods, or services to those in need.

    textile Noun

    cloth or other woven fabric.

    Titanic Noun

    luxury cruise ship that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

    woman suffrage Noun

    right of women to vote.

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