He died a hero when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in 1912. He was an aide to President Teddy Roosevelt and when William Howard Taft became president in 1908, Major Archibald Butt continued with Taft.
He developed a strong friendship with both, but in the last year of Taft's presidency Butt's loyalties were torn. Taft had become unpopular and Roosevelt was considering running again to defeat Taft. Butt took a leave of absence to travel to consider the campaign.
On the Titanic, the friend of presidents became an example of heroism before the world. "He showed some of the other men how to behave when women and children were suffering that awful mental fear that came when we had to be huddled into those boats," said a woman survivor.