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Last Survivor of the Titanic Dies, at 97

June 1, 2009

Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the Titanic disaster, has passed away in Southampton, England at the age of 97.

The youngest of the ship’s 705 survivors, Ms. Dean was only 9 weeks old when the Titanic hit an iceberg in waters off Newfoundland on the night of April 14, 1912, setting off what was then considered the greatest maritime disaster in history.

Aside from the naturally compelling story of such a young girl surviving in catastrophic circumstances, I was struck by the notion that Ms. Dean had lived through so much change: she was alive both in the era of transoceanic steamships and the space shuttle; was alive at a time when General Motors was a four year old company and at a time where General Motors was an American institution about to go bankrupt; was alive in an era where Fenway park in Boston, now one of the nation’s oldest baseball stadiums, was a few weeks away from opening; and was alive when William Howard Taft was the Republican nominee for President and Woodrow Wilson was the nominee of the Democrats.

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