Thank you to my dear friend Jay for inspiring me to write this story. While I love Kate Winslet, I must confess I did not enjoy the movie Titanic, nor did the love story interest me. However, there is a perspective I would like to share with TSM readers regarding an actual love story with a very sad ending and the sinking of the Titanic.
Major Archibald Butt, who was a military advisor for President Taft, saved many lives on the Titanic on April 15. In fact, President Taft wept openly upon the news of Archibald Butt’s death. Butt, during his lifetime, was the object of many cruel jokes regarding his name–a name now associated with courage and heroism. Sadly, Butt was able to save so many lives but he was not able to save the life of his spouse.
Too often stories of history leave out important details about people’s lives. Our hero Archibald Butt was gay and had a long-time partner, Frank Millet. Millet graduated from Harvard and became an international war correspondent. Butt and Millet shared a home in D.C. where they lived a happy life together until their deaths aboard the Titanic.
The couple had set sail on the Titanic, but neither would return to America alive. What is more sad, is that the couple did not have the chance to be together at the very end. Butt was busy saving other people’s lives, and Millet was not seen before being lost to the cold sea.
I love this story because it reminds us that there are narratives that neglect to be told and are expunged from history, and I have the fortunate opportunity to share these stories. Can you imagine how Butt and Millet’s story might affect LGBT youth?
Today, there is a memorial in Washington Square called the Butt-Millet Fountain.
For more detailed information and to see another great blog, click here.