Aubrey Hancock and William A. Fontaine Jr. papers
Papers document the professional and personal lives of Aubrey Hancock and William A. Fontaine, Jr. The collection includes business records, personal and miscellaneous correspondence, documentation of their properties, guest books, and assorted ephemera on Charleston, social, and local LGBTQ life. The material documents to some extent, their lives before they met, but focuses mostly on their lives together. While some of the correspondence is personal from family members and friends, including Alicia Rhett, much is from guests who stayed at their bed-and-breakfast, Villa de la Fontaine, located at 138 Wentworth Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Of particular interest are the images (approximately 1950s-1960s) of gay life in the lowcountry, including Stereo Easymount slides of Hancock and Fontaine in drag, and images of their life together including images of their homes and businesses in Walterboro, South Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina. Clippings and other ephemeral materials (1980s-2000s) document a variety of LGBTQ and Charleston topics, with some obituaries of gay men. A portion of the papers include the papers of Gladys Fletcher, stenographer to author and biographer Dawn Langley Hall. Materials include wedding images of Hall and John Paul Simmons and assorted materials relating to Fletcher and the Fletcher family. Also included are materials relating to Wilbur Fontaine of Walterboro, South Carolina, Bill Fontaine’s brother.
- Majority of material found within 1935-2002
Language of Material
Materials in English.
This collection is open for research.
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Aubrey Hancock (1929-2019) was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 1950, while both were studying interior design at Virginia Commonwealth University, Hancock met William A. Fontaine, Jr. (1920-2005), of Walterboro, South Carolina. It was there that Hancock and Fontaine entered into a long-term relationship as an out couple that lasted 55 years. After college, the couple moved to Walterboro, South Carolina, and opened their interior design firm, Fontaine-Hancock Interiors, before moving the firm to Charleston, South Carolina. Hancock was a founding member of the American Society of Interior Designers and both he and Fontaine taught interior design at the University of South Carolina. Together they restored two historic properties in Charleston, the first at 37 State Street, and the second, at 138 Wentworth Street. Hancock and Fontaine ran both properties as bed and breakfasts; the latter operating as the Villa de la Fontaine for over twenty years.
6.85 linear feet (4 cartons, 1 slim document box, 1 oversize flat box, 1 slide box)
Papers document the professional and personal lives of Aubrey Hancock and William A. Fontaine, Jr. The collection includes business records, personal and miscellaneous correspondence, documentation of their properties, guest books, and assorted ephemera on Charleston, social, and local LGBTQ life.
- Biographical materials, 1850-2019
- Photographs and slides, 1948-2000
- Fontaine-Hancock Interiors and interior design, 1935-1991
- Villa de la Fontaine, 1966-2018
- Correspondence, 1948-2019
- Gladys Fletcher and Dawn Langley Simmons, 1938-2012
- Published materials, 1865, 1951-2009
Materials were donated in 2022 by the family of Aubrey Hancock.
Processed by Josh Minor, October 2022.
- Bed and breakfast accommodations -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Fontaine, William A. (William Alvin), 1920-2005
- Fontaine-Hancock Interiors
- Gay couples -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Gay men, White -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Gays -- Social life and customs
- Hancock, Aubrey, 1929-2019
- Hospitality industry -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Interior decorators -- South Carolina -- Charleston
- Interior decorators -- South Carolina -- Walterboro
- Simmons, Dawn Langley
- Transgender women
- Villa de la Fontaine (Charleston, S.C.)
- black-and-white photographs
- clippings (information artifacts)
- color slides
- drawings (visual works)
- human hair
- publications (documents)
- school records
- school yearbooks
- slides (photographs)
- visitors' books
- Inventory of the Aubrey Hancock and William A. Fontaine, Jr. Papers, 1865-2020
- Processed by: Josh Minor; finding aid created by: Josh Minor
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Script of description