Miss Hannah Riordan was born in Glenalougha, Kilmeen, Co Cork, Ireland on 27 January 1891.1
She was the daughter of Peter Riordan (b. 1857), a farmer, and Mary O'Connor and she had six known siblings: Julia (b. 1885), Ellen (b. 1888), Mary (b. 1892), Norah (b. 1894), James (b. 1896) and Eugene (b. 1898). Her mother died sometime before 1901 and her maternal grandmother Julia O'Connor (b. 1827) stepped in to help care for the family.
Hannah and her family appear on the 1901 census living at 7 Glenalougha, Kilmeen. By the time of the 1911 census Hannah was described as a single domestic servant and still living with her widowed father and siblings, now at 9 Shanavoher in Kilmeen, Co Cork.
Hannah boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a third class passenger (ticket number 334915 which cost £7, 14s, 5d). Her destination was 319 Lexington Avenue, New York City where her sister Ellen Riordan Lenihan lived. Ellen was holding a position she had found for Hannah as a domestic worker. Travelling with Hannah were several others from the Kingwilliamstown (now Ballydesmond), Cork area, among them her cousin Patrick O'Connor and Daniel Buckley, Bridget Bradley, Patrick Denis O'Connell, Nora O'Leary and Michael Linehan. It is likely she shared a cabin with her fellow Cork girls.
Hannah remained in New York for the rest of her life and only returned to Ireland once for a visit in the 1920s. She worked as a domestic maid and was naturalised as a US citizen on 10 May 1928 in Manhattan. In her application, she is described as a maid, 150 pounds, brown hair, grey eyes, 5 feet, 9 inches tall with fair complexion. At the time she was living at 109 E. 72nd Street in New York City.
On St Patrick's Day (17 March) 1936, Hannah was married in St Anselm's Church in the Bronx to John Spollen (b. 11 September 1899), also an Irish immigrant who hailed from Co Offaly and who was the son of James and Margaret Tilvius Spollen. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to 14 Whitesboro Street in Utica, New York but they later returned to the Bronx and lived the rest of their lives there. The couple had no children.
Hannah Spollen (née Riordan) rarely spoke about the Titanic disaster in later life and refused to grant interviews or even discuss it with family and friends. She died on 29 September 1982 aged 92. Her widower John died less than a year later on 4 April 1983.