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Dear America Wiki

"A very strange thing just happened. My hand seemed perfectly steady, and yet I spilled part of my hot chocolate. It was as though there was a jolt, and the hot liquid just slopped right over the edge. Perhaps the seas are beginning to get rough? Oh, I hope not, after such a tranquil time so far."
Margaret Ann Brady[1]

Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady is a historical fiction book by Ellen Emerson White. It is the twelfth book in the Dear America series and was first published in September 1998. The book was republished in November 2010 with new cover art. It was also published in the My Story series by Scholastic UK.

Thirteen-year-old orphan Margaret Ann Brady boards the ill-fated RMS Titanic as a traveling companion to the wealthy Mrs. Carstairs.


"For Holly"

Book description[]

"Monday, 15 April 1912
It was after midnight, and I could still hear people moving about in the passageway. Before I had time to go out and join them, there was a sharp knock on my door. I opened it to see Robert. He was smiling, but his eyes looked urgent.
"Good evening, Miss Brady," he said. "You need to put on something warm, and report to the Boat Deck with your life belt."
Miss Brady? When I heard that, I felt alarmed for the first time, but I was also startled....
"A routine drill," he said. "No need to fret."
I knew he needed to get on with his duties, so I found a smile for him and nodded.... Robert started for the next stateroom, but then stopped.
"You'll not want to take your time, Margaret," he said in a very quiet voice.
It did not seem possible—but maybe this was
not a drill."

"My name is Margaret. This is my story....
Five years ago, Margaret Ann Brady's older brother left her in the care of an orphanage and immigrated to America. When the orphanage receives an unusual request for a traveling companion, Margaret's teachers agree that she is the perfect candidate to accompany Mrs. Carstairs on the
Titanic. Once Margaret arrives in the United States, she can then be reunited with her brother. But the luxury liner is destined for an astonishing tragedy of the most terrifying proportions, and Margaret's journey becomes a nightmare when the ship collides with an iceberg.
Will she live to see her brother again?

"Monday 15th April, 1912
It was after midnight, and I could still hear people moving about in the passageway. Before I had time to go out and join them, there was a sharp knock on my door. I opened it to see Robert. His eyes looked urgent. "Good evening, Miss Brady," he said, "You need to put on something warm, and report to the Boat Deck with your life belt."
Miss Brady? When I heard that, I felt alarmed for the first time. "A routine drill," he said. "No need to fret." I knew he needed to get on with his duties, so I found a smile for him and nodded...
"You'll not want to take your time, Margaret," he said in a very quiet voice.
It did not seem possible, but maybe this was not a drill.

"Margaret Anne dreams of leaving the orphanage behind, and she can hardly believe her luck when she is chosen to accompany wealthy Mrs Carstairs aboard the great Titanic.
But when the passengers are woken on a freezing night in April 1912, she finds herself caught up in an unimaginable nightmare...

""You need to put on something warm," Robert said. His eyes looked urgent. "You'll not want to take your time, Margaret," he said in a very quiet voice.
Margaret Anne can't believe her luck when she's chosen to accompany Mrs Carstairs on board the great ship,
Titanic. But when she's woken on a freezing night in April 1912, Margaret Anne finds herself caught up in an unimaginable nightmare.
Will she be able to get to a lifeboat in time? Will Robert?


Thirteen-year-old Margaret Ann Brady is living at St. Abernathy's Orphanage for Girls in Whitechapel, London. One day in late March 1912, Sister Mary Gregoria asks Margaret Ann if she wants to go to America as a traveling companion. Sister Catherine takes her to meet an America socialite, Evelyn Carstairs, the next day. She approves of Margaret Ann after her dog Florence takes to her. In her diary, Margaret Ann begins to relate how her parents died five years previously. She and her older brother William lived on the streets until she fell ill. William then left her at the orphanage, but came to visit often until he immigrated to America two years earlier. He planned to send for her when he earned enough.

Preparations for the trip soon begin. Mrs. Carstairs insists upon fitting Margaret Ann for an entire new wardrobe. For Easter, Sister Catherine takes her to pray at the St. Botolph parish. She suddenly tells Margaret Ann "We shouldn't have favorites." Before leaving, she gifts a china cat to the five-year-old Nora, whom she has become fond of. Margaret Ann then meets with Mrs. Carstairs and they travel to Southampton via train. She takes Florence for a walk in order to glimpse the RMS Titanic. They board the ship the next day on April 10. Margaret Ann and Mrs. Carstairs settle into their separate cabins. Their bedroom steward, Robert Merton, introduces himself. Margaret Ann instantly likes him.

Margaret Ann soon settles into a routine on the Titanic. She takes Florence out on frequent walks, allowing her to explore much of the ship. On the night of April 14, she feels a sudden jolt and goes to investigate. She returns to her cabin after hearing others speculate that the Titanic may have grazed an iceberg. Robert then knocks on her door and tells her to put on her life belt and report to the boat deck. Margaret Ann hustles Mrs. Carstairs and Florence outside, despite her grumbling. The lifeboats are uncovered, but their is not yet a sense of urgency. Mrs. Carstairs goes back inside until Margaret Ann and their acquaintance, Mr. Hollings, convince her to board a lifeboat with Florence.

Margaret Ann goes to look for Robert and eventually finds him below decks. He reveals that there are no other lifeboats, making Margaret Ann realize the dire situation that they are in. Robert makes her promise to return back to the top, though asks for a kiss as a small favor before they part. On boat deck again, Margaret Ann is ready to accept her fate until another acquaintance, Thomas Prescott, helps onto the last lifeboat. They row away the boat just as the Titanic sinks. Hours later, they are helped onto the Carpathia. Margaret Ann is reunited with Mrs. Carstairs, who sits with her in silence. The Carpathia arrives in New York on April 18 and Margaret Ann finally meets William again.


Margaret Ann never spoke about the Titanic in public and rarely talked about it in private. She allowed William to read her diary and later sent it to Sister Catherine, whom returned it. After completing her high school education, Margaret Ann received a scholarship to Wellesley College. In 1914, William volunteered to fight in World War I. When he returned home wounded, Margaret Ann dropped out of college to nurse him back to health. William eventually recovered and obtained a job at the Boston Police Department. In 1923, Margaret Ann met Stanley Ryan, a history teacher, at a bookstore. After marrying that June, they were together fort forty-four years. They had three children, named Dorothy, Harriet, and Robert.

After parting, Margaret Ann and Mrs. Carstairs corresponded a couple of times but never saw each other again. Margaret Ann regularly wrote to Sister Catherine and Nora. She persuaded Sister Catherine to visit her in America twice. In 1962, Margaret Ann returned to England for her funeral. At nineteen, Nora immigrated to America with her husband. She and Margaret Ann had a "joyous reunion." For much of her later life, Margaret Ann devoted her time to volunteer work. She headed a halfway house for unwed mothers until retiring in 1965. Margaret Ann never "set foot on another boat ever again." She died in her sleep at the age of ninety-five in 1994.

Historical Note[]

The historical note begins by discussing the strong class system of the time, elaborating a bit on the differences of the upper-, middle-, and lower-classes (or working class). In the early 1900s, White Star Line was one of the companies vying to dominate the passenger liner business. J. Bruce Ismay and William James Pirrie wanted to rise to the challenge by building the "three biggest ships in the entire world:" the Olympic, the Titanic, and the Gigantic. The Titanic was over 882 feet long, 92.5 feet wide, and over 100 feet tall. Furthermore, the ship had nine decks, three propellers, and weighed more than 45,000 tons. The Titanic also had a number of unique features, such as a swimming pool and gymnasium.

The Titanic had an approximate number of 900 crew members and 1,320 passengers. Among the first-class passengers were wealthy socialites like Margaret Brown ("The Unsinkable Molly Brown") and John Jacob Astor. The second-class were comprised of successful professionals and middle-class families, and the the third-class were mostly immigrants. On April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail from Southampton under the command of Edward J. Smith. The following days were mostly "uneventful." However, on April 14 at 11:40 PM, the Titanic struck an ice berg. The damage was inspected and the ship designer Thomas Andrews realized that the Titanic would sink within an hour or two.

Ultimately, just over 700 people survived the disaster and over 1,500 people died. The survivors were brought onto the Carpathia, which arrived at the scene around 4:30 AM. The section includes twenty-three photographs and illustrations along with two maps. It concludes with a detailed timeline of the events surrounding the Titanic and its sinking.


Main article: List of Voyage on the Great Titanic characters
  • Margaret Ann Brady, a thirteen-year-old orphan who boards the Titanic as a companion to Mrs. Carstairs. She looks forward to reuniting with her older brother William in America.
  • Evelyn Carstairs is a wealthy socialite from America. She hires Margaret Ann as a traveling companion since her husband has to stay behind in London.
  • Robert Merton is the sixteen-year-old bedroom steward for Margaret and Mrs. Carstairs. Shortly after meeting, he and Margaret Ann quickly feel comfortable around each other.


Main article: Ellen Emerson White

Ellen Emerson White is a children's and young adult fiction writer. She is well known for her The President's Daughter series. White is also the author of Where Have All the Flowers Gone? in Dear America, Kaiulani: The People's Princess in The Royal Diaries, and The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty in My Name Is America. For Voyage on the Great Titanic, White read several accounts of first and third class passengers on the Titanic. She decided "it would be interesting" to write about a working class girl who "by a stroke of luck" gets to travel in first class.





  • The portrait on the cover of the first edition is a detail from the painting The Fair Spinner by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. The background is a detail from a poster advertising the Titanic by Montague Birrell Black.[16][17][18]
  • Tim O'Brien illustrated the portrait on the cover of the 2010 reprint. The background is a photograph licensed from Popperfoto/Getty Images.[19]
  • The first My Story edition of Voyage on the Great Titanic uses a photo by Popperfoto.[20]
  • The cover of the second My Story edition was illustrated by Richard Jones.
  • The third My Story edition uses a photograph taken by Jeff Cottenden.
  • Euan Cook illustrated the cover of the fourth My Story edition.[21]


See also[]

Arts & Crafts, File:Voyage on the Great Titanic Discussion Guide.pdf, File:Voyage on the Great Titanic Paper Doll.pdf, File:Titanic Book Talk.pdf

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