Queer Places:
Princeton University, 110 West College, Princeton, NJ 08544
University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PA
2 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028
Woodlawn Cemetery Elmira, Chemung County, New York, USA

Parker Lloyd Smith (July 10, 1902 - September 16, 1931) was son of the late Supreme Court Justice Walter Lloyd-Smith, a graduate of Princeton and a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. He worked on the Knickerbocker Press and the Albany Evening News from 1926 to 1928. First assigned the obituaries, within six months he was covering City Hall, where he was well-liked, and a little later he was editor of the Sunday magazine section. A forward thinker and local activist, he was Secretary of the Albany Air Board, lobbying hard for what would become Albany Airport; he also spearheaded the effort to install a carillon atop Albany’s City Hall. Russell Wheeler "Mitch" Davenport and Max Foster were immortalized in Phelps Putnam’s poetry (and in a painting by Russell Cheney) as “Les Enfants Pendus,” which the poet translated as “the hung-up children.” The number of suicides in Putnam’s circle is striking: Farwell Knapp put a gun to his head; Parker Lloyd-Smith, boon companion of Mitch Davenport, leaped from the twenty-third floor of a building. Even F.O. Matthiessen, the most grounded of the whole group, plunged from the twelfth floor of a Boston hotel in 1950, depressed over Cheney’s death and weary of being hounded for both his homosexuality and his political views. Mitch Davenport professed to be in love with Laura Barney Harding and probably would have divorced his wife if Laura had given the nod. But Mitch’s anguish over the suicide of his friend Parker Lloyd-Smith, with whom he admitted he’d been “more than intimate,” seems to have given Laura pause.

Parker Lloyd Smith was the son of Judge Walter Lloyd Smith (1856–1928) and Jessie E. Gonzales (1865-1932).

In 1928, Time Magazine offered Parker a job as Associate Editor, and in 1930, as Managing Editor, he helped Henry Luce launch Fortune Magazine. Thomas Maitland Cleland, was one of America's foremost authorities on both type and design. While drinking with Parker Lloyd-Smith one night at Bruno's, a speakeasy on East 12th Street, Cleland sketched on the tablecloth his vision of the first cover of Fortune Magazine, right down to the serifs on the logotype. The illustration was remarkably close to the cover that would appear on the inaugural issue in February 1930. What the remaining fragment of linen doesn't show is that Cleland drew it upside down--so that Lloyd-Smith, sitting across the table, wouldn't have to turn his head or rise from his chair to appreciate it.

Late at night on September 16, 1931, Parker Lloyd-Smith jumped naked to his death from the 23rd floor of his fashionable apartment house at Adams Apartment Hotel, 2 E. 86th Street, just off Fifth Avenue, New York, where he lived with his widowed mother. He left her this note:

“Mother Charm: The heat is frightful – but this is a farewell – if this is waiting – I will wait for you. My love and gratitude always. Parker.”

He was 29. Largely forgotten today, the classicist writer left behind a modest legacy of poems, magazine articles, and newspaper pieces. The gift to the Nassau Library of Parker Lloyd-Smith, together with a fund to increase the University collection in the English drama, reflected his undergraduate enthusiasms for the drama and the theatre and gave evidence of his own excellent literary tastes. Sometime before his death he had begun to collect rare items, so the University came in possession of such treasures as the 1853 "Poems of Arnold" and some important first editions of Emerson. The more general works in the collection provided duplicates of books that were always in demand for general reading.


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