"To Fight for the Poor with My Pen" is the first exhibition to explore the legacy of Gilded Age author and reformer Zoe Anderson Norris (1860- 1914). Writer and publisher of the magazine The East Side (bimonthly, 1909-1914), Norris focused on immigrants and outcasts in dire straits, sometimes working undercover to expose issues that still resonate: street peddlers harassed by corrupt policemen, powerful men going unpunished for sexual harassment, and trafficked sex workers pleading for help escaping the streets. Known as a Queen of Bohemia, Norris also founded the Ragged Edge Klub, which met for weekly dinners combining activism and dancing. A few days after completing the last issue of The East Side, which described her recent dream that she would die soon, she suffered fatal heart failure—and her prediction made headlines in newspapers nationwide.
In addition to showcasing The East Side’s full publication run, the exhibition features Norris’s novels, short stories, and journalism in periodicals ranging from Harper's Weekly to short-lived proto-zines like The Thistle; writings by Norris’s fellow reformers like Emma Goldman; and ephemera including dinnerware from the Ragged Edgers’ favorite restaurants. The exhibition is curated by independent scholar and Grolier Club member Eve M. Kahn, whose next book is provisionally titled Queen of Bohemia Predicts Own Death: The Forgotten Journalist Zoe Anderson Norris, 1860-1914.
Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm
Free & open to the public
Second Floor Gallery
The Grolier Club of New York
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY
To Fight for the Poor with My Pen: Zoe Anderson Norris, Queen of Bohemia