Daniel Warner Marvin: A Touching Titanic Tale With Ties to Silent Movies

Thorough as this blog is, we can pre-emptively and categorically state that we will never compose and publish biographies of all 1,500+ victims who went down with the Titanic. We have, however written about a half dozen or so of them, most with connections to show business, or other themes of relevance. Thus with Daniel Warner Marvin (1894-1912), who had a strong show business connection and is at the center of a touching tale besides.

Daniel was the son of Henry Norton Marvin (1862-1940), one of the founders of Biograph Studios (a.k.a. the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company), which as you know was an apple off of Edison’s tree, and the place where major early auteurs of cinema like D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett got their starts. Do the math — Daniel was only 18 at the time of his death. He was returning from a European honeymoon with his new bride, the former Mary Graham Carmichael Farquharson (1894-1975). Mary was a middle-class Scottish girl who had moved to New York with her parents at age six. Her father was a carpenter; her mother a dressmaker. Both skills are needed on movie sets. I deduce that is how Daniel and Mary met, and will go with that until I am enlightened otherwise. It was wisely publicized at the time that theirs was the first marriage ever to be captured by the motion picture camera, although the film that was taken was actually of a re-enactment, not the actual ceremony.

Daniel’s heartbreaking final words to his new wife as he put her on a lifeboat were “It’s alright, little girl. You go. I will stay.” He went down with the ship. Mary not only survived, but gave birth to the daughter she was then carrying Mary Margaret “Peggy” Marvin (1912-1993). She later remarried and lived for a time in Great Neck, New York (near my present digs!)

For more on silent and early film please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.