NOVEMBER 24: Margaret C. Anderson (1886-1973)


Writer, publisher, and overall icon
of the literary world, Margaret C. Anderson, was born on this day in 1886. She is
most well-known for founding the literary and arts magazine The Little Review.

Margaret C. Anderson photographed by Man Ray (x).

Margaret Caroline Anderson was
born on November 24, 1886 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was the oldest of three
daughters born to Arthur and Jessie Anderson and raised in a middle-class
family. After graduating from high school in 1903, Margaret went to Western College
for Women in Oxford, Ohio; however, she dropped out at the end of her freshman
year and moved back home to pursue a career as a pianist. Finding little luck
in the music world of Indianapolis, she then moved to Chicago in 1908 and found
her niche in writing.

She arrived in Chicago right in
time for the city’s impending literary renaissance that would take off in the
1910s. In March of 1914, Margaret founded The Little Review. The very first issue
featured articles on Nietzsche, psychoanalysis, the concept of feminism, and
described itself as “an organ of two interests: art and good talk about
art.” The Little Review eventually became a part of the foundation of Chicago’s
art world. When Margaret met her partner Jane Heap in 1914, Jane became the new
co-president of The Little Review and the magazine’s content became even more

A copy of The Little Review featuring Ulysses by James Joyce. The title of the magazine reads “The Little Review: A Magazine of the Arts – Making No Compromise with the Public Taste (x).

Throughout the 1920s, The Little
 published such literary juggernauts as William Butler Yeats, Ernest
Hemingway, Emma Goldman, and Gertrude Stein. Its most published writer was Baroness
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
. Beginning in 1918, The Little Review became one of the very first American publishers
to publish James Joyce’s Ulysses via serialization, resulting in a scandalous
obscenity trial against the magazine which resulted in both Margaret and Jane having to pay a heavy fine. Partly in response to the obscenity trial,
Margaret and Jane would spend the second half of the 1920s living in Paris. It
was in Paris – at Hotel St. Germain-Des-Pres, 36 rue Bonaparte – where the very
last issue of The Little Review was edited.

In 1942, Margaret’s relationship
with Jane was broken off. The two would remain friends until their deaths and
Margaret eventually found a new lover in Dorothy Caruso, who was the widow of
the famous singer Enrico Caruso. They lived together in the U.S. until Dorothy’s
death in 1955, after which Margaret would move back to Le Cannet in
southeastern France. Margaret herself would pass away of emphysema on October 19, 1973.