If anyone comes across references to Chicago’s Seven Arts Club in the 1920s-1940s (or its attempted revival later), please let me know. It was a moving salon important in the alternative scene. I’m writing about sex and gender stuff of the time, but figured it might pop up in general nightlife reports too.
Well I did run across this rather cheeky line!
(from Love’s Next Meeting: The Forgotten History of Homosexuality and the Left in American Culture by Aaron S. Lecklider)
Thank you! I know that quote of Eddie’s but hadn’t seen that book. I appreciate the reference very much. He is quoted a lot of places but I can’t seem to find any reliable sources for the quotes. I’ll track this down. Much obliged
Here’s a little rundown of the state of the club in 1940, from the Chicago Tribune (October 12, p. 17), in case you haven’t seen it.
Thanks I do have all the Tribune blurbs. I’ve done newspaper searches in Chicago on the Seven Arts and the Dill Pickle. I think going through Ben Reitman’s papers at the Newberry is next. But I had this thought that perhaps the Seven Arts and Eddie Clasby might show up in some obscure piece of drink writing. Or obscure to anyone other than you all on here. I know for a fact they served drinks at the club during prohibition – and since it was filled with writers I was hoping someone wrote something down about the club itself while they were talking about James Joyce and labor unions and integration and free love.
Apologies; I should have figured. Do you have Patricia Bronte’s wonderful 1952 portrait of Chicago’s Near North Side, Vittles and Vice? It’s mostly devoted to restaurant histories/portraits, but there is a great chapter called “The Search for ‘Chicago’s Great Soul’” that includes the following:
Ooh I do not! This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to find. I was researching for a book on the Cultural History of Prostitution and stumbled upon the Seven Arts while reading about Box Car Bertha. Eddie was my uncle and I’m just finding out now that he also ran this club. He helped raise my mom (on the south side) but she never mentioned any of this to me until last week.