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This article is about an English orphan. For other uses, see Margaret.

"I hope that I can figure out some way to understand all of this. Why it happened, what could have prevented it, how to keep anything like this from ever taking place again. Most of all, I hope I can learn how to forgive myself for still being alive, when so many others are not."
—Margaret Ann[4]

Margaret Ann Ryan (née Brady; October 1898 – 1994) was the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brady. She was from the East End of London. Her parents passed away months apart in 1907, leaving her and her elder brother William orphans. Her brother later emigrated to the United States. In 1912, Margaret Ann traveled on the RMS Titanic as a traveling companion.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Margaret Ann was born in October 1898[1] in the Wapping district of East End of London, England. Her father was from Ireland, making her part Irish.[2] In February 1907, Margaret Ann's father died an accident at the docks. Her mother passed away of illness some time later.[5] Margaret Ann and her older brother, William, stayed with a neighbor for a short time, before living on the streets for several months.

In December 1907, Margaret Ann became ill and William dropped her off at St. Abernathy's Orphanage for Girls in Whitechapel.[6] She had a hard time adjusting to the new environment for a few months until William began visiting her regularly. In 1910, William traveled to America on a cargo steamer to look for more work opportunities. He planned to save money for Margaret Ann to eventually join him there.

Titanic[]

In late March 1912, Margaret Ann was presented with the opportunity to go to America as traveling companion. She went with Sister Catherine to meet the wealthy socialite, Evelyn Carstairs, whom was heading to America ahead of her husband. Mrs. Carstairs approved of Margaret Ann since her dog, Florence, had quickly taken to her. She sent a letter to William to hopefully notify him before her arrival. In preparation for the trip, she was fitted for an entire new wardrobe approved by Mrs. Carstairs. Before leaving, Margaret Ann gave mementoes to Sister Catherine and another orphan, Nora. On April 9, she went to Southampton with Mrs. Carstairs and boarded the RMS Titanic the following day.

On the first day, Margaret Ann became acquainted with her and Mrs. Carstairs' bedroom steward, Robert Merton. He often stopped to talk to her while going about his duties. She spent the next several days taking care of Florence, helping Mrs. Carstairs with various tasks, and exploring the first-class areas of the ship. On the night of April 14, Robert told Margaret Ann that passengers were required to put on the lifebelts and report to the boat deck. She hustled Mrs. Carstairs outside and insisted on taking Florence. Once the situation seemed serious, Margaret Ann and their acquaintance Mr. Hollings talked Mrs. Carstairs into getting onto one of the lifeboats with Florence.

Instead of waiting by the lifeboats, Margaret Ann went to look for Robert. She eventually found him alone. He made her realize that there were very few lifeboats on the ship and that they were likely to perish. He asked her for a kiss, which she obliged. Robert then told her to return to the lifeboat area before leaving. Margaret Ann met one of her and Mrs. Carstairs' dinner companions Thomas Prescott, whom helped her onto the last lifeboat. Shortly later, the Titanic sunk. Her lifeboat was saved several hours later by the RMS Carpathia. Margaret Ann reunited with Mrs. Carstairs on the Carpathia. On April 18, they finally arrived in New York where she was found by William.

Later life[]

Margaret Ann settled in Charlestown, Boston with William. She rarely spoke about her Titanic experience with others, though she did share her journal with William and Sister Catherine. Margaret Ann was never able to complete forgive herself for surviving. She graduated from high school and attended Wellesley College on a scholarship. After William was wounded during World War I, Margaret dropped out to nurse William and to work in order to support him. She never returned to college. In 1923, she met Stanley Ryan at a bookstore in Cambridge. They married in June of that year and were together for forty-four years. They had three children, named Dorothy, Harriet, and Robert.

Margaret Ann devoted much of her time to volunteering and served as the head of a halfway house for unwed mothers until retiring in 1965. She corresponded with Nora and Sister Catherine for several years, and eventually reunited with both of them. Margaret Ann returned to England only once in 1963 to attend Sister Catherine's funeral. In 1994, she died in her sleep at the age of ninety-five.

Personality and traits[]

Margaret Ann tended to say whatever came to mind, which sometimes got her into trouble. Her sense of humor, which leaned towards sarcasm, was not appreciated by most and regarded by some as "impudent." Sister Catherine often called her "Saucy Girl," though usually teasingly. Margaret Ann was intelligent, though she did not particularly enjoy school. She was familiar with poetry, which was likely her father's influence. Margaret Ann was able to quote poems by William Blake, Robert Browning, and John Keats. She also enjoyed reading novels and essays, such as those by Henry James and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Family tree[]

The Brady-Ryan Family Tree
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mr. Brady
(d. 1907)
 
Mrs. Brady
(d. 1907)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
William Brady
(b. 1896)
 
Margaret Ann
Brady

(1898-1994)
 
Stanley Ryan
(d. 1967)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dorothy Ryan
 
Harriet Ryan
 
Robert Ryan

Behind the scenes[]

Margaret-doll

Margaret Ann doll

Appearances[]

References[]

See also[]


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