Born in Bangor, Maine, Kent moved with his family to Buffalo after the Civil War, where his father opened a successful department store, Flint & Kent. Kent was educated at Yale and then at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Returning to the U.S. in 1877, he became junior partner in the Syracuse, New York firm of Sillsbee and Kent. In 1884 he returned to Buffalo and remained there for the rest of his career, helping to found the Buffalo Society of Architects and receiving many prominent commissions, including Flint & Kent.
In 1912, he took a two-month vacation to France and Egypt and planned on retiring after returning home. He decided to delay his trip home so he could travel on the maiden voyage of the new and luxurious ocean liner, the RMS Titanic.
Aboard the TitanicEdit
A frequent traveller across the Atlantic, Kent had just spent two months in Europe when he boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number 11771 which cost £29, 14s). He occupied cabin B-37. Whilst aboard he was acquainted with a group of other first class passengers which fellow member Col. Archibald Gracie termed "Our coterie." The group included Helen Churchill Candee, Edward Pomeroy Colley, Hugh Woolner, James Clinch Smith and Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson.
On the night of April 14th, just after the collision, Mrs Candee was running upstairs to the boat deck when she ran into Kent who was dashing topside as well. She persuaded him to keep an ivory and gold miniature of her mother. He didn't believe he would survive, but he slipped it in his pocket in any case. Later, as Archibald Gracie was looking for Candee, Kent told him "She is safe and in a boat, Mr Gracie." Kent had escorted Candee into Lifeboat 6 with the help of Woolner and Björnström-Steffansson.
At 2:20am, Kent made no struggle to jump as the seas closed over him. He was lost and his body was later found by the crew of the MacKay Bennett (#258). The miniature was still in his pocket, and it was eventually returned to Mrs Candee.
|NO. 258 - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 56. - HAIR FAIR; GREY MOUSTACHE
CLOTHING - Grey coat; dress suit pants.
EFFECTS - Silver flask; two gold signet rings; gold watch; gold eye glasses; gold frame miniature of "Mary Churchill Hungerford"; knife; a pocket books; 48 francs, 75; 2 studs, one link.
NAME - EDWARD A. KENT
On May 1st, 1912 the body was delivered to H. K. White of Boston for transportation back to Buffalo.