Margaret Tobin Brown: Titanic survivor pursued social reforms
Although Margaret "The Unsinkable Molly" Brown is well known for her heroic efforts in surviving the Titanic disaster, that historic event doesn't begin to reveal the full measure of who she was or what she accomplished during her fascinating life. And Margaret—the name "Molly" was a Hollywood invention—was the subject of as many myths as Aesop had fables. The real Margaret Brown is often obscured by her characterization in blockbusters such as "Titanic" and, of course, the Broadway musical. And then there's the movie, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," in which Debbie Reynolds portrayed "Molly" on the screen in 1964. Margaret was born in 1867 in the "Irish Shanty Town" section of Hannibal, Mo., two months prematurely due to a "cyclone" that struck Hannibal, the earliest barometer of her remarkable resilience. Her father was a poor Irish immigrant who worked at the local gas works.