Daniel Marvin and Mary Farquharson, both 17, were madly in love. Instead of waiting a year or two to get married as their families wished, they went to New York City Hall for a civil ceremony, then each returned to their family’s homes with their secret. But two months later, Mary’s pregnancy could no longer be hidden. A religious ceremony was quickly planned by their parents, and on March 12, 1912, Daniel and Mary were married for the second time.
Frame from movie of Daniel and Mary Marvin's wedding, perhaps the first wedding ever filmed
Daniel’s father owned the Biograph Company, America’s oldest motion picture company, begun in 1895 by a former employee of Thomas Edison. As a wedding gift to his son and his new bride, Mr. Marvin gave them a large, hand-cranked movie camera to take with them on their honeymoon. Daniel planned to join the family business and make movies as soon as he returned.
The newlyweds left the next day for a 5-week tour of Europe, and Daniel enjoyed taking movies of Mary at all the places they visited. When she was just over 3 months pregnant, they bought first class tickets back to New York on Titanic. They paid roughly the equivalent of $4,550 in today’s money.
Mary and Daniel Marvin
Daniel filmed the launch from Titanic’s decks, capturing the moment when the ship nearly collided with the New York in Southampton’s harbor. He and Mary were inseparable during the voyage, filming each other in various parts of the ship. Several survivors later remembered them as high-spirited and frequently embracing.
On the night of April 14, Daniel and Mary felt the collision but didn’t think much of it. Forty-five minutes later, a steward knocked on their door and told them lifeboats were being loaded as a precaution, and to wear their warmest clothes. Daniel calmed Mary as they dressed, and decided to bring along the film from his camera. She grabbed her fur coat.
They were led to the port side of the boat dock, where the call went out for women and children to board the lifeboats. Frantic and not wanting to leave her husband, Mary was nevertheless helped into Lifeboat 10. Daniel then tossed her the heavy film canister and blew her a kiss. Mary desperately looked for him as she scanned the ship’s railings from the water, hoping he’d found a seat in another lifeboat.
Safe on the Carpathia but with no sign of Daniel, Mary refused to eat or drink. Some passengers thought perhaps another ship had come to the rescue, and Mary held out hope. But back in New York, Mary and her mother checked all the survivor lists until the worst was finally confirmed; Daniel Marvin had not survived. His body was never found.
In a newspaper interview shortly afterward, Mary said, “My God, don’t ask me too much. Tell me, have you any news from Dan? He grabbed me in his arms and knocked down men to get me into the boat. As I was put in the boat he cried ‘It’s alright, little girl, you go and I will stay a while. I’ll put on a life preserver and jump off and follow your boat.’ As our boat shoved off, he threw a kiss at me, and that is the last I saw of him.”
Mary hid herself from the public at her parents’ home to grieve and prepare for motherhood. Six months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl and named her Mary Margaret Elizabeth Marvin. She remarried a year later, and her new husband adopted the baby, called Peggy. They moved to Long Island, and had two more children. Mary died in 1975 at the age of 81.
The whereabouts of the film Daniel tossed to his bride from the Titanic is unknown. One theory is that Mary gave it to her father-in-law, who may have saved it in the archives of the Biograph Company. Perhaps it will turn up one day, and Daniel Marvin’s honeymoon movie will become a great historical treasure.