Margaret “Molly” Brown (née Tobin) (July 18, 1867 – October 26, 1932) was an American socialite, philanthropist, and activist who became famous due to her survival of the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, after exhorting the crew of Lifeboat No. 6 to return to look for survivors. It is unclear whether any survivors were found after Lifeboat No. 6 returned to search. She became known after her death as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, although she was not called Molly during her life. Her friends called her Maggie.
Margaret was conveyed to the passenger liner RMS Titanic as a first class passenger aboard the tender SS Nomadic at Cherbourg, France. The Titanic sank early on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg the night before. Margaret helped others board the lifeboats but was finally convinced to leave the ship in Lifeboat No. 6. She would later be regarded as a heroine for her efforts to get Lifeboat 6 to go back to search for survivors. Molly Brown was dubbed “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” by historians because she helped in the ship’s evacuation, taking an oar herself in her lifeboat and protesting for the lifeboat to go back to try to save more people.
This was met with strong opposition from Quartermaster Robert Hichens, the crewman in charge of Lifeboat 6, who was fearful that if they did go back, the lifeboat would either be pulled down due to suction, or the people in the water would swamp the boat in an effort to get inside. Sources vary as to whether the boat did go back and if they found anyone alive when they did. Some reports say that survivors were found.
Her fame as a well-known Titanic survivor helped her promote the issues she felt strongly about—the rights of workers and women, education and literacy for children, historic preservation, and commemoration of the bravery and chivalry displayed by the men aboard the Titanic. During World War I in France, she worked with the American Committee for Devastated France to rebuild areas behind the front line and helped wounded French and American soldiers. She was awarded the French Legion of Honour for her good citizenship including her activism and philanthropy in America. During the last years of her life, she was an actress.
After she died (during the Great Depression), her two children sold her estate for $6,000, equal to $107,722 today. She is buried in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, New York.
You can read more about Margaret and the Titanic here: