Eve Adams Introduction

     In this exhibit, historian Jonathan Ned Katz documents the story of radical lesbian Eve Adams and her long-lost book Lesbian Love.
     Born Chava Zloczewer into a Jewish family in Poland, in 1891, Adams emigrated to the United States in 1912 and began five or six years of factory work in New York City's garment industry, its "rag trade."
The twenty-one-year-old befriended anarchist Emma Goldman and worked at her publication, Mother Earth, as an assistant to Goldman's lover and publicist Ben Lewis Reitman.
     Taking the name Eve Adams, she went on the road selling radical newspapers and magazines. In a repressive era, when American women had just gained the right to vote, Adams’s bold activism caught the attention of the young J. Edgar Hoover and the US Bureau of Investigation, leading to her surveillance.
     In Chicago, Adams, with a romantic partner, artist Ruth Norlander, ran a bohemian and queer-friendly cafe. Moving to New York, Adams ran a lesbian-and-gay-friendly speakeasy in Greenwich Village.
     Then, in 1925, Adams risked all to write and publish a book titled Lesbian Love, presenting short character studies of women she had known, constituting an early community study by a participant observer.
      In 1926, Adams was arrested, and in a case that pitted immigration officials, the New York City police, and a biased informer against her, convicted of publishing an obscene book.
     She was also convicted of attempted sex with a policewoman sent to entrap her. Adams was jailed for a year and a half, then deported back to Europe.
     Adams lived ten years in Paris selling "dirty books" by Anaïs Nin, D.H. Lawrence, and Henry Miller, with whom she became friends. In 1933, she met and began to live with a singer, Hella Olstein, who performed in cafes and cabarets as Nora Waren, helping to support them. 
     When the Nazis invaded Paris in the north of France, in 1940, Adams and Olstein moved south to Nice. After evading the Nazis for three years, they were arrested in 1943 and murdered by Nazis in Auschwitz.
     In The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams (2021), historian Jonathan Ned Katz recoveres the extraordinary story of this early, daring activist. Drawing on startling evidence and carefully distinguishing fact from fiction, Katz presents the first biography of Adams and reprints the long-lost text of Adams’s rare and unique book Lesbian Love.