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Grolier Club Exhibitions

Ragged Edge Klub

Celebration at Café Boulevard

Zoe’s intentionally disorganized organization, the Ragged Edge Klub, met for weekly uninhibited coed dinners at various restaurants. Speeches were discouraged, and no officers were ever elected. This celebration at Café Boulevard (156 Second Avenue at 10th Street) of the writer Leita Kildare’s novel Such a Woman (see "Colleagues and Competitors") appeared in the May 1911 East Side. At the foreground central table, Leita is dressed in white and smiling broadly, and one man separates her from hatless Zoe in a dark gown and white gloves.

Postcards from Ragged Edgers’ favorite restaurants, clockwise from top left: 

  • Café Boulevard (156 2nd Avenue at 10th Street, where Zoe enjoyed her last Klub party) 
  • Little Hungary (255-263 East Houston Street)
  • Brighton Beach Hotel 
  • Joel’s Bohemia (206 West 41st Street) 

Brighton Beach was among the Klub’s favorite summer escapes, while Joel’s—where a sketch of Zoe hung on the wall—was renowned for its chili con carne and Blue Moon cocktails—recipes alas lost to the mists of time. The proprietor Joel Rinaldo was also a self-published philosopher, whose works include an anti-prohibitionist screed and an anti-Darwinist treatise on "polygeneric theory," attributing species diversity to "latent electricity," among other forces.

William J. Lampton. Yawps and Other Things. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Co., 1900. 

The writer William Lampton called himself “merely a Yawpist yawping his simple yawp.” These folksy poems (with uncut pages indicating previous owners’ incuriosity) pay homage to the likes of Easter eggs painted “in curious, chaotic chromes” and towpath mules “dethroned, uncrowned” when replaced by machinery. An Ohioan with Kentucky roots (Mark Twain was a cousin), William Lampton received an honorary “Kentucky Colonel” designation from the state government. He read a memorial poem at Zoe’s funeral. 

View the text online.

Lee Fairchild. The Tippler’s Vow. New York: Croscup & Sterling, 1901. Drypoint illustrations by Romanian artist Jean Paleologue.  

Like many of Zoe’s hard-partying friends, Lee Fairchild (best man at her 1902 wedding) was penniless despite prolifically publishing. This 25-stanza poem (modeled after circa-1900 editions of Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám) muses on alcohol’s ruinous temptations. Lee Fairchild also issued a Tippler’s Vow edition with his own company, Ye Olde Arden Press, and wrote a library catalog (published by Edwin C. Hill) for Massachusetts bibliophile Caroline Furbush. His magazine The Thistle is in "Colleagues and Competitors". 

View the text online.

Marion Mills Miller. Practical Suggestions for Mother and Housewife. New York: Christian Herald, 1910. 

Princeton-educated scholar Marion Miller published Zoe’s works in his magazine The Manuscript (1901-1902); encouraged Funk & Wagnalls to publish her 1902 novel; and persuaded her to launch The East Side, reassuring her that her opinions would be perhaps not always “worth anything … but they are original.” Although unmarried and childless, he filled this book with tips for women. He advised budding writers (inaccurately), “There is no discrimination on account of sex in the newspaper world.” 

View the text online.

Pleiades Club Year Book. New York: Self-published, 1910. Title page illustration by Robert S. Ament. 

Zoe ranked as “a rising star” in bohemian Pleiades constellations early in her career. From 1896 into the 1930s, its weekly restaurant dinners—coed, unlike more upstanding institutions like the Grolier Club—attracted speakers as prominent as Mark Twain. Pleiades yearbooks contained members’ works and signatures; this edition’s authors include Zoe’s friends Lee Fairchild, William J. Lampton, Richard Le Gallienne, and Mabel Herbert Urner. Among this copy’s signers is Florence Foster Jenkins, known as her era’s “worst opera singer.” 

View the text online.

Louis H. Chalif. The Chalif Text Book of Dancing. New York: Self-published, 1914. 

Zoe described Louis Chalif, an immigrant from Czarist Russia, as the New York dance world’s “niftiest exponent.” His school on West 57th Street was called the Temple to Terpsichore. He helped Zoe’s friends master the popular Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear, and her party guests tried out the new Airship Quadrille and Banana Peel Slide—the latter required slitted yellow gowns. This textbook, in addition to dance tips, gives advice to teachers for inspiring students rather than constantly faultfinding. 

View the text online.

Sheet music for songs performed by Zoe’s vaudevillian friend Libby Blondell (the last name was invented by her first husband, Levi Bluestein—better known as Ed Blondell, father of actor Joan Blondell).

Ted Snyder, composer; Carter DeHaven and George E. Whiting, lyricists. “Beautiful Eyes.” New York: Ted Snyder Co., 1909. Illustration by Edward H. Pfeiffer.  

Belying the cover’s scarved temptress, this is a woman’s lament over a mesmerizing, duplicitous suitor—the kind of men Zoe’s writings excoriated.  

Listen via the Library of UC Santa Barbara.

Raymond A. Browne, composer and lyricist. “The Man in the Overalls.” New York: Harry Von Tilzer, 1903.  

A tribute to the workingman who “never gets the nation’s thanks”—resembling Zoe’s odes to infrastructure builders and factory workers risking their lives on the job.  

Listen via Library of Congress.

Thomas S. Allen, composer and lyricist. “Strawberries (Here Comes the Strawberry Man).” Boston: Daly Music Publisher, 1909. Illustration by William and Frederick Starmer.  

The song mimics Italian immigrant produce peddlers—just as Zoe often praised sidewalk vendors. 

Listen via Library of Congress.