Helen Churchill Candee

Portrait of Helen   Churchill Candee

Helen Churchill Candee (1858, New York City – 1949, York Harbor, Main) was an American author, journalist, interior designer, active feminist, geographer, whose book about Angkor, Angkor The Magnificent (1924), is regarded as the first major English-language study of the ancient Khmer temples.

A determined and independent traveler, Helen Candee escaped death during the sinking of the HMS Titanic in 1912 -- a part of her account of the disaster is said to have inspired the world-famous "sunset scene" in the eponymous movie. As a nurse with the Italian Red Cross during WWI, she attended wounded soldiers and reporters, among them Ernest Hemingway.

Already renowned for her books and press articles on women's rights and decorative arts, Helen Candee traveled to the Far East after the war and wrote a major description of Angkorian ruins. While this book was publicly lauded by the French government and the King of Cambodia, she was invited to read parts of it to King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace. In 1927, she followed up with another essay, New Journeys in Old Asia.

In Helen Candee's biography by Randy Bryan Bigham for The Encyclopedia Titanica, we can see a photo of the author leading the 1913 suffrage parade "Votes for Women" on horseback in Washington, D.C.