Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Eve Adams

Eve Adams was born Chava Zloczewer to Jewish parents in Mława, Poland, allegedly on June 15, 1891. In 1912 Adams immigrated to the United States, where she worked in a factory in New York City’s garment district. In 1913 Adams worked for the anarchist journal Mother Earth, where she befriended founder and anarchist Emma Goldman. In 1918 Adams traveled across the United States selling copies of the Yiddish language journal Der Groyser Kundes and the socialist magazine The Liberator. In 1919 Adams was identified as an “agitator” and “radical” by John Edgar Hoover and the Bureau of Investigation for her alleged involvement in the Industrial Workers of the World and for distributing communist literature. In 1922, Adams opened the Grey Cottage Cafe with her lover Ruth Norlander, a gathering place for LGBTQ people in Chicago. In 1923, Adams moved back to New York City, where she signed a “declaration of intention” to become a U.S. citizen. In 1925, using the pseudonym Evelyn Addams, Adams published 150 copies of Lesbian Love, which featured short stories about different women Adams knew. Adams also opened Eve’s Hangout, a nightclub for LGBTQ people, artists, intellectuals, and working-class people where her book Lesbian Love was distributed. After being profiled by local New York City law enforcement, anti-vice organizations, and the Bureau of Investigation, Adams was arrested in 1926 after a sting operation. Adams was charged with obscenity for her book Lesbian Love and disorderly conduct for allegedly trying to have sex with an undercover policewoman. She was sentenced to a one-year prison term and deportation. On December 7, 1927, Adams was deported to Poland. In 1930, she moved to Paris and began selling “dirty” books for money and befriending various authors, including Anaïs Nin, D.H. Lawrence, and Henry Miller. She also began a relationship with Jewish singer Hella Olstein Soldner, who helped to support Adams. In the late 1930s, Adams and Soldner made numerous attempts to leave Europe and relocate to Palestine or the United States, but they were unable to do so due to a lack of funds. In 1940, when Nazis invaded France, Adams and Soldner moved to Nice, France. They were arrested in 1943 and sent to Drancy Internment Camp and Auschwitz concentration camp, where Adams and Soldner were murdered. Since her death, Adams has become an iconic figure in LGBTQ history in the United States and Europe. In Paris, Rue Eva Kotchever in the 18th arrondissement of Paris was named after Adams. In 1999, Nina Alvarez recovered a copy of Lesbian Love, previously thought to be lost. In 2021, Jonathan Ned Katz published the first biography of Adams, titled The Daring Life and the Dangerous Times of Eve Adams; the book features a transcript of the rediscovered Lesbian Love.For more on Eve Adams, see Eve Adams Archive by Jonathan Ned Katz