Profile of the Day: Colonel Archibald Gracie, IV
Colonel Archibald Gracie, IV was an American writer, amateur historian and a first class passenger aboard the Titanic. He spent much of the voyage chaperoning various unaccompanied women, including American author Helen Churchill Candee. After the Titanic struck the iceberg, Gracie put on his life-jacket and helped escort the women he had chaperoned into the lifeboats.
Once all the regular boats had launched, Gracie assisted Second Officer Charles Lightoller in freeing the four collapsible boats that were stored on top of the crew’s quarters. However, as he was freeing Collapsible “B,” he was suddenly struck by a rush of water. As the ship sunk, Gracie was pulled under. He was able to free himself from the pull of the water and found his way to the overturned Collapsible “B” shortly after the Titanic sank below the surface. The slick keel was nearly impossible to hold onto for the exhausted survivors. Gracie would later recount that over half of the men who had originally reached the collapsible slipped off the upturned keel during the night.
After his rescue, Gracie immediately started writing a detailed account of his experience during the disaster. Sadly, Gracie died from complications of diabetes just eight months after the sinking. His book, The Truth about the Titanic, was published after his death in 1913 and is still considered one of the most valuable resources for Titanic researchers and historians.
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