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The Founder of America’s Earliest Lesbian Bar Was Deported for Obscenity

The Founder of America’s Earliest Lesbian Bar Was Deported for Obscenity

Humanosity says…A fascinating insight into the history of the struggle for the LGBT community for acceptance. The article reveals just how hard that fight was and many might say still is…


It took Officer Margaret Leonard three tries to get her hands on Eve Adams’ book of lesbian short stories. We don’t know what, exactly, the New York Police Department officer experienced when she first slunk undercover into Eve Adams’ Tearoom at 129 MacDougal Street. But it’s easy to imagine a group of artists gathered under gleaming electric lights on a hot June night, reciting poetry or discussing the latest performances in the Provincetown Playhouse next door. Leonard’s mission was simple: to “catch” Adams “in the act” of lesbianism, either by eliciting a romantic move or by finding evidence of obscenity. Lesbian Love, a book of short stories Adams had self-published and distributed among friends, was just the evidence Leonard needed to have the tearoom proprietor arrested.

Eve Adams’ Tearoom was founded in 1925 and quickly became a hangout for Jewish and Immigrant intellectuals who weren’t always welcome in the xenophobic atmosphere of New York at the time. The tea room also became known as a safe space for women, who at the time couldn’t go to a restaurant without a male guardian.

The hangout quickly developed a reputation as a safe space for lesbians as evidenced by a sign that greeted patrons. “Men are admitted but not welcome.” Despite the popularity of the venue, the story of its owner was largely lost and researchers trying to flesh out the LGBT history of New York are aiming to change this.

Click here to read the full article at www.atlasobscura.com

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