Iowans on the Titanic topic April 28 at Churdan library

Darcy Maulsby

What do an orphan train rider, a kidnapper, a betrayed wife, church missionaries, wealthy businessmen, a land baron’s wife, a maid, a farmer, a college student, immigrants and a newspaper reporter have in common?

They all had ties to Iowa and the legendary Titanic, which struck an iceberg and plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic in 1912.

Lake City author Darcy Dougherty Maulsby will bring these stories to life Sunday, April 28, at the Churdan public library for the free Iowa’s Lost History on the Titanic program and book signing starting at 2 pm.

“The humanity of these captivating stories is more complex, intriguing and poignant than any work of fiction,” said Maulsby, Iowa’s Storyteller, who has been featured in the Iowa History Journal, Our Iowa magazine, Iowa Public Radio and more. “These true tales also reflect the long reach of history. Even though the Titanic sank more than a century ago, the aftershocks continue to reverberate today.”

During this unforgettable program, Maulsby serves up fascinating tidbits and remarkable true stories gleaned from her extensive research, from century-old newspapers to Titanic museums across the nation.

More than 20 men, women and children from all walks of life shared ties to Iowa and the Titanic. Some were wealthy first-class passengers like Cedar Rapids natives Walter and Mahala Douglas returning home from an extended vacation in Europe.

Others were second-class passengers, including the Caldwell family, church missionaries who were returning to the Midwest from Asia. Still others were third-class immigrants seeking a new start in America, lured by jobs in Iowa’s farms and coal mines.

Before dawn on April 15, 1912, some of these people would perish. Others would demonstrate the one thing they had in common—courage. Some survivors would manage to chart a new course for their future, while others would struggle with haunting questions and shattered dreams for the rest of their lives.

“I’m passionate about helping people reconnect with Iowa history,” said Maulsby, who has been captivated by the Titanic since age 11 when oceanographer Robert Ballard found the luxury liner in 1985. “As you explore these largely forgotten Iowa stories related to the Titanic, you’ll discover there’s something endlessly spellbinding about the Titanic. Once it grabs ahold of you, there is no turning back.”

Signed copies of Iowa’s Lost History on the Titanic will be available during the event, along with Maulsby’s other non-fiction, illustrated Iowa history books (A Culinary History of Iowa, Calhoun County and Dallas County) and her postcard collections featuring rural Iowa images.
Persons who want more information can contact Shari Minnehan at the Churdan public library, 515-389-3423, or visit Maulsby online at

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