The Lusitania

LusitaniaAfter a long hiatus, Six Degrees of Millicent is back. And it’s only appropriate that there is a connection between today, May 7, and Millicent Fenwick. To historians and trivia lovers May 7, 1915 is the day a German U-Boat torpedoed the Lusitania, a British luxury liner. To Millicent Fenwick it was the day she lost her mother.

Her parents were among nearly 2,000 people who set sail on the Lusitania for the cross-Atlantic voyage from New York to Liverpool, England. Like the Titanic, the Lusitania was the biggest and best of its day. Unlike the Titanic, there were warnings that danger lay ahead. The Germany Embassy took out an ad in the New York Times warning passengers not to sail on the Lusitania because “a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies  … and travelers sailing in the war zone … do so at their own risk.“

Despite the warnings, Millicent’s mother, Mary Picton Stevens, would not alter her travel plans. She did, however, draft and sign a will prior to her departure. Millicent’s father, Ogden, tried to change his wife’s mind but to no avail. Realizing she was going no matter what, Ogden accompanied his wife as he didn’t want her to make the journey alone. As fate would have it, Mary was among the nearly 1,200 dead and her loyal husband, Ogden, survived. Millicent was just five-years-old when her mother died leaving a gaping hole in her young life.

In the current issue of Smithsonian there is an article about “8 Famous People Who Missed the Lusitania” and Millicent is included in that story. To read more about her and the other famous people who were not aboard the Lusitania that fateful day visit:




2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stephanie on May 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Fascinating (and tragic) story!


  2. Posted by BethKC on May 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

    And you’re quoted in the article, that’s awesome!


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