Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

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by Carla Kaplan
     
 

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Celebrated scholar Carla Kaplan’s cultural biography, Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance, focuses on white women, collectively called “Miss Anne,” who became Harlem Renaissance insiders.
 
The 1920s in New York City was a time of freedom, experimentation, and passion—with Harlem at the epicenter

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Overview

Celebrated scholar Carla Kaplan’s cultural biography, Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance, focuses on white women, collectively called “Miss Anne,” who became Harlem Renaissance insiders.
 
The 1920s in New York City was a time of freedom, experimentation, and passion—with Harlem at the epicenter. White men could go uptown to see jazz and modern dance, but women who embraced black culture too enthusiastically could be ostracized.
 
Miss Anne in Harlem focuses on six of the unconventional, free-thinking women, some from Manhattan high society, many Jewish, who crossed race lines and defied social conventions to become a part of the culture and heartbeat of Harlem.
 
Ethnic and gender studies professor Carla Kaplan brings the interracial history of the Harlem Renaissance to life with vivid prose, extensive research, and period photographs.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Martha A. Sandweiss
In this remarkable work of historical recovery, Carla Kaplan…does well by a group of women who got so much wrong. She resurrects Miss Anne as a cultural figure and explores the messy contradictions of her life, moving her from the periphery of a story about white patronage and boundary-testing interracial liaisons to the center. With a focus on six of the roughly 60 white women active in the Harlem Renaissance, Kaplan delineates Miss Anne as a counterpart to the better known flapper or "new woman" of the Roaring Twenties. But this is really a collection of individual stories, a group biography that lets the idiosyncrasies of the individual women shine through…The book is full of fresh discoveries.
Publishers Weekly
Northeastern University literature and gender studies scholar Kaplan (Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters) shares the previously untold story of a group of notable white women who embraced black culture—and life—in Harlem in the 1920s and ’30s. Collectively known as “Miss Anne,” these women served as hostesses, patrons, activists, comrades, lovers, writers, and editors at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was at its height, and when a white woman who became intimate with a “Negro” faced almost certain ostracism. A captivating group biography and social history, the book focuses on six women: Lillian Wood (Let My People Go), a teacher at a small black college; Josephine Cogdell Schuyler, a Texan heiress who married black journalist George Schuyler and became a writer herself, yet had to keep her interracial marriage hidden from her family; Barnard college founder Annie Nathan Meyer; influential patron Charlotte Osgood Mason; novelist Fannie Hurst; and English heiress Nancy Cunard. An empathetic and skillful writer, Kaplan has produced a valuable addition to the history of the period. As she shows, Miss Anne defied categorization, transcending her race, class, and gender, and introducing many of the ideas we hold today about inclusiveness and self-reinvention. 54 b&w photos and two 8-page color inserts. Agent: Brettne Bloom, Kneerim & Williams. (Sept.)
Gilbert King
“Endlessly fascinating, Miss Anne in Harlem reveals a whole new perspective on the Harlem Renaissance, and Carla Kaplan delivers an essential and absorbing portrait of race and sex in 20th century America.”
Arnold Rampersad
“With superb, exhaustive research and finely dramatic writing, Carla Kaplan’s brilliant Miss Anne in Harlem fills an aching void in our knowledge of the Harlem Renaissance. It also significantly deepens our understanding of American culture in the 1920s and American feminism in general.”
Megan Marshall
“A work of meticulous and far-ranging scholarship, Miss Anne in Harlem matches its characters’ shocking and subversive lives with explosive revelations and subtle insights. . . . Kaplan’s haunting narrative forces a rethinking of race and gender.”
Nell Irvin Painter
“[An] utterly fascinating and deeply insightful account. . . . This fine book takes the Misses Anne seriously and goes further, to reveal the workings of interracial networks in one of the most important cultural phenomena in American history.”
Debby Applegate
“The fact that white women played a pivotal role in creating the Harlem Renaissance was a secret hiding in plain sight, but it took Carla Kaplan’s keen eye, rigorous research, and crystal clear prose to reveal it. A surprising, delightful book.”
Diane McWhorter
“Carla Kaplan has taken on a dauntingly liminal topic and by force of scholarly rigor and narrative compassion rendered it central to our understanding of an era. Lush, original, and vigorously argued....”
Boston Globe
“[R]ichly researched, thoughtful new book.”
NPR's Fresh Air
“[A] revelatory book. . . . Aside from its significance as cultural history, Miss Anne in Harlem is packed with amazing life stories.”
Daily Beast
“In her clear-sighted, empathetic assessment of a half-dozen of these women, Carla Kaplan casts a fresh eye over people and relationships too often reduced to stereotypes.”
Washington Post Book World
“[An] intriguing new book.”
New York Journal of Books
“Carla Kaplan has given us and history a great gift.”
New York Times
“Professor Kaplan, a biographer of the writer Zora Neale Hurston, captivatingly illuminates and places in overdue perspective.”
Hilton Als
“Kaplan always writes from inside her characters, and with a novelist’s sense of scope—and compassion.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Kaplan’s meticulously documented and intrepid history of Miss Anne encompasses a unique vantage on the complexities of race and gender and a dramatic study in paradox.”
New York Times Book Review
“In this remarkable work of historical recovery . . . [Kaplan] resurrects Miss Anne as a cultural figure and explores the messy contradictions of her life . . . deeply researched.”
NPR.org
“(Kaplan’s) extensive research has given life to a critical period in black American history-and given credit to the white women who, for various reasons, helped the Harlem Renaissance flourish.”
Library Journal
Miss Anne refers collectively to the white women who participated in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, generally upper-crust types considered scandalous by whites and disdained by some blacks. An authority on modernism, women's and African American history, and race relations, Kaplan is surely the woman to write this book. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062199126
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
173,586
File size:
11 MB
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