In the 1910s, the block of MacDougal Street just south of Washington Square emerged as a cultural and social center of Greenwich Village’s Bohemian set, with the Liberal Club, radical feminist Heterodoxy Club, Washington Square Bookshop, and Provincetown Playhouse, a serious amateur theater. By the 1920s, the Village became one of the first neighborhoods in New York that allowed, and gradually accepted, an open gay and lesbian presence. This block was an important LGBT nucleus, especially after a series of police crackdowns on spots elsewhere in the Village in 1924 and 1925.
Historian George Chauncey discovered one such place on the block, a tearoom and popular after-theater club run in 1925 and 1926 by “Eve Adams,” a Polish-Jewish émigré whose real name was Chawe Zlocsewer (with other variations, such as Eva Kotchever or Eva Czlotcheber). Though her adopted name has often been cited as “Eve Addams,” historian Jonathan Ned Katz, in his research for his forthcoming book, Eve Adams Living, uncovered a 1919 newspaper article with her last name spelled “Adams.” The tearoom had a sign that read:
“Men are admitted but not welcome.”
A Village columnist in 1931 reminisced that her club was “one of the most delightful hang-outs the Village ever had.” After a police raid, Zlocsewer was convicted of obscenity (for Lesbian Love, a collection of her short stories) and disorderly conduct, and was deported.
After starting a club in Paris and selling literature, she joined the civil war effort against General Francisco Franco in Spain in the 1930s. Upon returning to France, she was detained in 1943 and was later murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp.