Titanic ties: Iowa author discusses state’s connection to infamous ship at Kothe Memorial Library

Author Darcy Dougherty Maulsby of Lake City speaks at the Kothe Memorial Library last Thursday afternoon to celebrate the library’s 50th anniversary. Her most recent book is titled Iowa’s Lost History on the Titanic. (Robert Maharry/Eclipse News-Review photo)

When the average person thinks of the Titanic, its collapse or James Cameron’s iconic 1997 film of the same name, they don’t associate it with Iowa. But unbeknownst to most, the ship was full of individuals with connections to the Hawkeye State, and Lake City author Darcy Maulsby’s latest book, Iowa’s Lost History on the Titanic, examines these stories in detail and commemorates the lives of both survivors and those who perished.

As part of the Kothe Memorial Library’s 50th anniversary celebration, Maulsby presented to a group of local readers last Thursday with her unique perspective on the state’s history and a treasure trove of fascinating anecdotes about the passengers and crew.

The Titanic has often been noted for the vast societal divide between the wealthy first class passengers and the common people who rode third class, and the riders with Iowa ties were no different: they included an orphan train rider, a kidnapper, a missionary and his family, a businessman and his wife, a wedding guest, a betrayed wife and a farmer who recruited immigrants in his spare times. There were sinners and saints, criminals and heroes alike.

Bertha Lehmann was on her way to Central City, Iowa, and unwittingly wound up sitting next to a European man who had abducted his children from his estranged wife. The children, who were orphaned after their father died, were later reunited with their mother, and Lehmann made it to Iowa before later remarrying and moving to North Dakota and Minnesota.

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