Daisy Gordon was a striking young woman, merry of heart and encircled by a large contingent of friends, male and female. Her schooling and her family’s summer outings took her up and down the eastern seaboard, so she was well traveled for someone of her age and gender. At the Charbonnier School in New York, she met two women who would remain close friends her entire life, Mary and Abby.* Abby hailed from a large Rhode Island family that included a congenial older brother complete with a retinue of handsome male friends.

Because of them, at an 1883 outing in Providence, Abby and Daisy admitted to a jealous Mary that “We do not lack beaux at present.” (1) Among the young Yale grads paying especial attention to the pert, 22-year-old Georgian was Arthur Ryerson. Ryerson was an attractive attorney, ten years older than Daisy. He made a fair bid for her attention. She noticed him positively, but he didn’t really stand a chance, as her heart was already set on the Englishman, William Low.

In 1889 Arthur married Emily Borie and the couple raised their children in Haverford, Pennsylvania. He became a partner in a Chicago-based law firm and was the CEO of the Ryerson Steel Company. In 1912, Arthur and Emily were dealt the hardest blow a parent can face—the death of their son Arthur, Jr., in a fatal car crash. Rushing home for his funeral, the Ryerson family—Arthur, Emily, and three of their children—booked the first transatlantic passage they could. The first ship leaving was the R.M.S. Titanic. They embarked with heavy hearts for America

As we know, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912. Arthur Ryerson was among the many men who refused to take a seat on a lifeboat until all the women and children were first rescued. As a result, he lost his life in the icy waters of the Atlantic, courageously throwing kisses to his family as went down.

Daisy was terribly saddened by the tragic shipwreck that claimed over 1500 lives, and particularly grieved by Arthur’s death. Two weeks after the ship was lost, Daisy was on her way to see her sister Eleanor and her brother-in-law Wayne Parker in New Jersey.  In her typical, compassionate way, she stopped first in Haverford to comfort Emily Ryerson. No doubt Daisy tried to console his widow with the words she had written on a clipping that she kept in her Bible to the day she died: “Arthur Ryerson was drowned a true Christian, a gallant gentleman, a faithful friend.” (2)

In an interesting footnote to the story, Arthur and Emily’s daughter, Emily Ryerson, married George Hyde Clarke, who was the son of Daisy and Abby’s friend Mary. George Hyde Clarke was the brother of Anne Hyde Clarke Choate, Daisy’s goddaughter and the second president of the Girl Scouts.
* I promise more blogs on this trio of friends in the future.
(1) Juliette Gordon Low to Mary Gale Carter, 24 August 1883, Clarke Family Papers, MS2800/6/6, Cornell University.
(2) Peggy Leigh Graves, “In Proud Memory of My Aunt Juliette Gordon Low,” undated, Juliette Gordon Low Gen’l Info-Pubs, National Historic Preservation Center, New York City.

Photo of ship:  http://www.starway.org/Titanic; photo of Arthur Ryerson from Findagrave.com.