"Titanic" author tells family story

Only a fourth of the families who boarded the "unsinkable" Titanic in 1912 survived. Hear the story of one of them when author Julie Hedgepeth Williams talks about her book, "A Rare Titanic Family," on Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Main Library.

Julie Hedgepeth WilliamsWilliams will have books available for sale and signing. Admission is free.

Presbyterian missionaries Albert and Sylvia Caldwell and their 10-month-old son, Alden, were on the Titanic and were rescued from Lifeboat 13. Williams, Albert's great-niece, uses first-person accounts as well as extensive research to tell the story of the Titanic tragedy through the eyes of a young family on the run.

Horrific as it was, the Titanic disaster was just one of the perils facing the Caldwells. Albert and Sylvia had set out for their missionary post in Bangkok, Siam, on their wedding day in 1909. The idealistic couple were eager to serve God and see the world, but their dreams went awry. Sylvia became ill, and they decided they must leave Bangkok to save her health. But fellow missionaries thought they were reneging on their contract and cheating the church. So the Caldwells’ trip around the world became a desperate flight to safety with representatives of the church in pursuit.

Williams, a journalism professor at Samford University, is also the author of "Wings of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers in Montgomery, Alabama, 1910."