Queer Places:
1073 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Shore Acres, Narragansett Pier, RI

Talbot Smith Hanan (June 21, 1892 - January 29, 1920) was a connoisseur of Oriental art and interior decoration and prominent in society at Miami, Newport and Narragansett Pier.

Talbot Smith Hanan was born June 21, 1892, at Newport, RI. His parents were Charles Talbot Smith and Edith Evelyn Briggs, who later married John Henry Hanan I, the shoe manufacturer, by whom Talbot Smith was adopted. His ancestry included such names as Francis Cooke and Richard Warren, of the Mayflower, and many Rhode Island pioneers. He attended St. Paul's School, Garden City, LI, and afterward travelled extensively, making two trips around the world on the Hanan yacht Surf.

On January 19, 1911, he married Miss Florence Amelia Perkins, daughter of Isaac Rodman Perkins, of Boston. A son, John Henry Hanan II, was born in 1915.

Hanan devoted considerable time to the study and collecting of Egyptian art works and then took up interior decorating. For several successive seasons Hanan managed the midsummer fancy dress balls at Shore Acres, Narragansett Pier, which were held for the benefit of the Herald's Free Ice Fund. In Miami Paul Chalfin and Louis Koons partook in and mimicked the gay and gaudy lifestyle popularized in cities like New York and Chicago, flaunting their open secret to those in the city. While Talbot S. Hanan of the shoe manufacturing fortune was probably best known for hosting extravagant balls in Narragansett Pier, his family also built a winter home in Miami known as the “Hanania.” Much like the “Hawaiian Ball” he threw in Rhode Island, Hanan presented the “A Night in Japan” ball in Miami on March 8, 1917. This event was representative of the remnants of wealth and excess of the Gilded Age and reveals the upper-class fetishization of the exoticized “Other.” For his Miami ball, Hanan promised “beautiful silver cups” awarded for the “best costumes.” Many of the area’s social elite attended and contributed to the event. James Deering, for example, donated $250. Feminist and Miami Herald columnist Marjory Stoneman Douglas described the ball’s lavish nature and its attendees’ costumes. Not all the costumes recalled Japan; several attendees—including Chalfin and Koons—dressed in Chinese-inspired clothes. “Among the Chinese costumes, those of Mr. Paul Chalfin and Mr. Louis Koons attracted much attention,” reported Douglas. In addition to suggesting they attended the ball as a couple, Douglas meticulously detailed their extravagant and ornate outfits: “The former wore an embroidered coat in soft blue and rose, with rose pongee trousers, carefully folded in at the ankle, while the latter was resplendent in a coat of dull blue and gold embroidery, cream trousers and gold embroidered scarf.” Her description stands out, as it more closely resembled costumes worn by women at the dance, even as the white elite’s obsession with the “exotic” may have diminished, or made more permissible, any feminine associations. Louis Koons won a silver cup for the best costume.

He died on January 29, 1920, of pneumonia at his home, No. 1073 Fifth avenue, New York. His mother, Mrs. John Henry Hanan, had died on January 11.


My published books:

See my published books

BACBACK TO HOME PAGE