Mabel Dodge’s bohemian salons in the Village

Greenwich Village in the teens was a forward-thinking place, populated by artists and writers, anarchists and free-love practitioners, labor leaders and birth-control proponents. Bringing them together each week in her apartment at 23 Fifth Avenue was 33-year-old Mabel Dodge.

Was she really interested in new ideas, or just a celebrity hound? It’s hard to say; she simply proclaimed that she “wanted to know everybody.”

MabeldodgeBorn rich in Buffalo, she found herself in the Village in 1912 after spending years in Italy with her second husband, where she mixed with the European culturati.

In New York, now divorced, Mabel decided to gather the city’s “movers and shakers” together during weekly salons, where ideas could be presented and debated. 

Mabel’s salons were legendary. Anarchist Emma Goldman talked to poet Edward Arlington Robinson, while Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger chatted up artist Alfred Stieglitz.

Writer John Reed, who later became her lover, also was a regular. She held nights devoted to  “dangerous characters,” “sex antagonism,” and “evenings of art and unrest.”  

The salons came to and end after a few years. Mabel wrote for various publications and put out her memoirs in the 1930s. By then she was living in Taos, New Mexico, with her fourth husband. She died there in 1962.

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3 Responses to “Mabel Dodge’s bohemian salons in the Village”

  1. Nabe News: October 12 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] Dodge and her bohemian salons in Greenwich Village during the early 1900s.  The weekly get-togethers provided a forum for debate […]

  2. Ideas Worth Sharing « Five Directions Says:

    […] The format is simple — each presenter has 18 minutes to convey their story and their idea. This short time frame seems to help people to pack the most into their presentation and to distill the essence of their idea in a powerful way. The presenters come from diverse fields — engineering, art, politics, and more — so it’s kind of like sitting in a fascinating salon and receiving a liberal education, in the tradition of lively gatherings like the ones that Mabel Dodge held in Greenwich Village nearly a century ago. […]

  3. 1.28.13 … happy birthday P&P … a day in the big onion … « Dennard's Clipping Service Says:

    […] via Mabel Dodge’s bohemian salons in the Village « Ephemeral New York. […]

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