Craig Rodwell, activist, bookstore owner

Craig L. Rodwell (1940 – 1993) was a gay rights activist known for founding the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in 1967, the first bookstore in the United States devoted to gay and lesbian authors. He was one of the founders of the Pride Celebration in New York City and at the forefront of the movement in the early 1960’s. Mr. Rockwell grew up in Chicago, moved to Boston after high school to study ballet and ended up in New York City in 1958. It was in New York that he first volunteered for a gay rights organization, The Mattachine Society of New York. When Rodwell opened… Read More

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Hippolyte Havel, writer, anarchist

Hippolyte Havel (1871–1950) was a anarchist from Czechoslovakia. He was friends with Emma Goldman. He lived in Greenwich Village, which he declared to be “a spiritual zone of mind”. When young, he had been imprisoned by the Austria-Hungary government for his anarchistic activities and declared insane. He was imprisoned, eventually moved from the insane asylum to a regular prison and escaped to England. Ms. Goldman brought him to NYC. Mr. Havel was married to the anarchist Polly Holliday, who with him ran a restaurant on Washington Square in Greenwich Village frequented by radicals and artists. He worked there as a waiter, often calling customers “bourgeois… Read More

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Guido Bruno, Bruno’s Garrett

Guido Bruno (1884–1942) was a well-known Greenwich Village character, and small press publisher and editor, sometimes called ‘the Barnum of Bohemia’. He emigrated to the United States from Prague as a second cabin class passenger under the name Kurt Kisch in December 1906. He was based at his “Garret on Washington Square” where for an admission fee tourists could observe “genuine Bohemian” artists at work. He staged “bohemian” working environments with painters, writers and models” and charged admission for the expectant visitors. He produced a series of little magazine publications from there and sold them to the tourists and others. From July 1915 to December 1916, Bruno’s Weekly published poems, short stories,… Read More

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General Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott (1786 – 1866) was a United States Army general and the unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852 against General William Henry Harrison (winner) and Senator Henry Clay. He served on active duty as a general longer than any other person in American history, is rated as one of the Army’s most senior commissioned officers, and is ranked by many historians as the best American commander of his time. Over the course of his 53-year career, he commanded forces in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Mexican–American War, and the Second Seminole War. He developed many strategic plans for the wars as well as… Read More

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Romany Marie, Bohemian Cafe proprietor

Marie Marchand (May 17, 1885—February 20, 1961), known as Romany Marie, was a Greenwich Village restaurateur who played a key role in bohemianism from the early 1900s (decade) through the late 1950s in Manhattan. She arrived in New York City in 1901 from Romania. Her cafés were considered among the most interesting in New York’s Bohemia and had an extensive following. More salons than taverns, they were places for the interchange and pollination of ideas and compared to the cafes of Paris.   Marie’s “centers” for her “circle of thinking people” began in 1912 in a three-room apartment on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village and later in a rented house in The Bronx, before opening… Read More

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Gertrude Drick, poet

On January 23, 1917, a group of artists, led by Gertrude Drick, snuck into the Washington Arch in Washington Square Park, climbed the spiral staircase that leads to its roof, and had a drunken picnic there; they also tied paper lanterns and balloons to the arch, and recited poetry. They declared Greenwich Village “The Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square”. Drick was an artist and poet. She had come to Greenwich Village from Texas to study under painter John Sloan. She had gained notoriety in the Village under the self-imposed nickname ‘Woe’, so that when asked her name she would respond ‘Woe… Read More

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Marion Tanner, the inspiration for Auntie Mame

Marion Tanner (1891-1985), self-described as ”the ultimate Greenwich Village eccentric” and the apparent model for the madcap fictional character Auntie Mame. Known as one of Greenwich Village’s most colorful inhabitants, Miss Tanner, in 1927, bought a red brick house at 72 Bank Street, and for many years it was a haven and salon for struggling artists, writers, freethinkers, radicals and a wide spectrum of what Miss Tanner sometimes called ”Bohemian types.” Miss Tanner devoted much of her life to caring for children from broken homes, and, although she had none of her own, she always had homeless children living with… Read More

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