October 14, 2010
Hunting for Hansen
I often receive emails from readers. Sometimes they are notes of support (those are my favorites). Other readers are writing to request that I help them trace their Chicago ancestry (which I don't do) or provide a valuation on some bit of historical Chicago memorabilia (which I also don't do). But, I recently heard from a reader who had found an object in his deceased grandfather's effects and was hoping for more information. Alas, I came up empty, but the item really intrigued me and wanted to learn the back story.
The item in question is an embossed brass tray (see above), 7 1/4" x 4 7/8, that states "Commemorating Harry M. Hansen's Annual Wild Duck Dinner of 1924." It originally belonged to the reader's great-great-grandfather, Edward F Bryant, who was at one time president of the Pullman Loan and Savings Bank.[At the time of the 1894 Pullman Strike, Bryant was a cashier and manager and testified at the strike's investigation] We are guessing that the "I.A.C." in the corner near the date refers to the "Illinois Athletic Club", a club which dominated sports in the United States until after World War II and was home to Johnny Weissmuller in the early 1920s.
What, of course, caught my eye was the name "Harry Hansen." Was this THE Harry Hansen (1884-1977), reporter for the Chicago Daily News, author of numerous books, friend of Ben Hecht, a Chicagoan for two decades before settling in New York? That was my initial thought. But, there is a problem. I have never seen a middle name or initial associated with the famous Harry Hansen plus it was not an uncommon name. I did find a "Harry M. Hansen," who lived at 7210 St. Lawrence Ave., listed in the 1909 Chicago Blue Book.
But, I'm sorry to say, that's all I've got. I'm hoping one you knowledgeable readers can help me out. Anyone ever read about such an event? Was this the famous Harry or a lesser known Harry M.? If you have any information on this event/tray please contact me or leave a comment. It's driving me nuts!
Posted by Chicagobookbabe
Labels: Harry Hansen