Partner Edward Vaughan

Queer Places:
56 Shadow Lake Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877
Chuck Howard Restaurant, 355 West 46th St, New York, NY 10036

Charles “Chuck” Howard was George Platt-Lynes’s lover. While serving in the U.S. Navy, Chuck Howard had met the painter Bernard Perlin in Miami Beach. Howard had come to New York after the war and met Platt-Lynes there at a farewell party for Perlin, who had received a grant to study in Rome. Shortly thereafter Howard moved into Platt-Lynes’s apartment. Platt-Lynes now found himself with plenty of work and plenty of people to see. His old coterie of Monroe Wheeler, Glenway Wescott, Paul Cadmus, Jared and Margaret French, and Lincoln and Fidelma Kirstein welcomed Chuck Howard, in part because he had a beneficial and organizing influence upon the photographer. (…)

As the decade ended, Dr. Alfred Kinsey, whose Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and its statistics on homosexual activity had caused enormous controversy when published in 1948, entered the lives of the Platt-Lynes circle. He had first met Wheeler and Wescott, and although his book on male sexuality was completed, he wanted to interview and record information on the sex lives of this exotic coterie of friends. When interviewing George Platt-Lynes, Kinsey discussed the erotic in art and the role it played in the artists’ lives. Financially, Kinsey was a great help to Platt-Lynes as he commissioned over one hundred prints to be made for the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. And purchased many more.

by George Platt Lynes

In addition to interviews, Dr. Kinsey was interested in observing sexual intercourse. Glenway Wescott, an avid voyeur, arranged a number of homosexual couplings for him to observe. Large orgies were also arranged by Wescott at which the doctor was present. A number of men traveled to Bloomington, where they performed sexually for the institute’s film camera. Among them were Charles “Chuck” Howard and William Christian “Bill” Miller. Miller, who had been a lover of Monroe Wheeler’s, was favored by Wheeler, and Howard was the preferred candidate of Glenway Wescott. There was little chemistry between the two men, and Howard has said, “It wasn’t Hollywood.” When Dr. Kinsey published his book on female sexuality, he included a lot of this new information pertaining to males. This sexual research in the Wescott circle was to continue well into the 1950s. (…)

Chuck Howard was a favorite model for the artists he met in the post-war years and his unusual sculpted features and beautiful body appealed to many in this group. In addition to Paul Cadmus, he posed for Jared French, Bernard Perlin, and George Tooker and was sculpted by John LaFarge, the son and namesake of the well-known nineteenth-century painter. Howard was also photographed by his lover George Platt-Lynes and the PaJaMa group. (…)

In 1951, George Platt-Lynes’s financial situation worsened, as did his personal life. Although he had clients that were loyal to him, such as the stores Sacks Fifth Avenue and Bendel’s, his income was not enough to sustain his accustomed lifestyle: the lavish entertaining, the gifts of jewelry to favorites, the keeping up with his society friends. At the same time his relationship with Chuck Howard ended, which removed Chuck’s steadying effect on his life. In January 1951, his letter to his mother reported, “Late last week, Chuck decided to go off and live by himself. It’s a pity, for I shall miss him; but I don’t disapprove… I’m afraid that my influence is too often all-pervading, all-inclusive.”

Chuck Howard, one of the adventurous young designers who put a distinctly non-Parisian accent on American clothing in the 1950's and 60's, died on September 30, 2002, at a hospital in Albuquerque. He was 75 and most recently lived in Santa Fe and on the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his partner, Edward Vaughan.

For a time in the late 1960's, he produced his own line of sporty, colorful coats, tunics, pants and jersey shirts. Doing so, he helped start the career of Donna Karan, who worked for him, and whom he introduced to Anne Klein. Eventually he tried his luck in the restaurant business in Manhattan before moving to the Caribbean in the early 1980's.

Charles Howard was born in Cochran, Ga., attended college in Florida and was a tail gunner in the Navy Air Corps in World War II, stationed in Hawaii. Helped by the G.I. Bill, he studied dress design in Paris after the war and settled in New York.

His eye-catching appearance made him a natural photographer's model. His own fashion career took shape in the late 1950's, when he was discussed in reviews along with young American designers like Frank Smith, John Norman, Pembroke Squires and John Weitz, a friend, who died on Thursday at 79.

He did sketches for Bill Blass, another close friend, and worked with Anne Klein at Junior Sophisticates. For a time, in the 1960's, he did business under his own name. It was then that he introduced Donna Karan, a Parsons design student working for him, to Anne Klein.

On Klein's death in 1974, Donna Karan succeeded her as designer for the Anne Klein studio. Mr. Howard closed his company and became a designer and creative coordinator at the studio, and was responsible for several of its collections.

After he quit the fashion business, he and Mr. Vaughan operated Chuck Howard, a theater district restaurant on West 46th Street in Manhattan until they moved to Saba.

My published books:

See my published books


  1. Intimate Companions: A Triography of George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle by David Leddick