History

Women's History Month

Greenwich Village has been home to some of the most important and iconic women in history.

At start of Women's History Month we take a look back at some of the women who have lived and worked in the Village and their legacies of which still affect our live's today, as well as major events in women's history.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay, the famed Pulitzer prize winning poet and playwrite lived in the Village during the 1920's. Her residence at 75 Bedford Street remains to this day the narrowest house in the Village at just 9.5 feet wide! 

Learn more here.

Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs was an urban activist, thinker, and author, who lived in both New York City and Toronto. While she had no formal training in architecture or planning, Jacobs was very engaged in civic life in New York City. 

She opposed efforts like “slum clearance” planning practices of the 1950s and 1960s. Her most notable (and successful) campaign was in opposition to the Lower Manhattan Expressway project proposed by City and State official Robert Moses and the “Moses Men.” 

She was the author of a number of books, but her best known work was “The Death and Life of American Cities” published in 1961.

Learn more here.

Emma Lazarus 

Emma Lazurus was an American author of poetry, prose, and translations, as well as an activist. She wrote the sonnet The New Colossus in 1883, which includes "lines of world-wide welcome". These lines appear inscribed on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, installed in 1903, a decade and a half after Lazarus's death.

She was a friend and admirer of the American political economist Henry George. She believed deeply in Georgist economic reforms and became active in the "single tax" movement for land value tax. She published a poem in the New York Times named after George's book, Progress and Poverty.

Lazarus died a "reclusive spinster"on November 19,1887, most likely from Hodgkin's lymphoma, and is buried in Beth Olam Cemetery in Cypress Hills, Queens. In 1992, she was named as a Women's History Month Honoree by the National Women's History Project and in March 2008 her home on West 10th Street was included on a map of Women's Rights Historic Sites.

In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Learn more here.

Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson, founder and editor of the avant-garde literary journal The Little Review (1914-1929), and her partner and assistant Jane Heap shared a top-floor apartment at 27 West 8th Street from 1918 to 1920, when they serialized James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, then considered to be obscene literature.  Both were prosecuted and fined, and offending issues of the magazine were destroyed by the U.S. Post Office.

Learn more here.

Louisa May Alcott

130 MacDougal Street is now home to part of NYU’s Law School, but in 1868, Louisa May Alcott wrote the final paragraph of her beloved classic Little Women at the residence. Alcott is said to have lived in the home, which belonged to her uncle, between 1867 and 1870.

Learn more here.

Emily Post

The queen of manners and etiquette lived at 12 West 10th Street as a teenager. Emily Post moved with her architect father to the resdience  in the 1880s. She later went on to write Etiquette,a book on social skills and lessons.

Learn more here.

Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton

In its original state, the 19th century building at 4 St. Marks Place was an elegant townhouse in the Federal style on one of the city’s most fashionable blocks. From 1833-1842, No. 4 was the residence of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the widow of Alexander Hamilton, killed years earlier in a duel with Aaron Burr. From the 1970’s until early 2017, the lower floors have been home to Trash & Vaudeville, the trendy rock ‘n’ roll fashion outlet to stars such as Bruce Springsteen, members of The Ramones, Marie Presley and Cher.

BONUS POINTS: Emma Goldman, feminist, anarchist, revolutionary and all-around trouble maker, founded The Modern School intellectual group here in 1911.

Learn more here.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was the longest serving First Lady of the United States. While her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was in office, she became an outspoken figure on controversial issues, including race relations and women’s rights.

Following the death of her husband in April 1945, she moved into an apartment at 29 Washington Square, living there for five years before moving uptown.

Roosevelt remained active in politics following her husband’s death, becoming a delegate to the United Nations and serving as Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and chairing President John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Listen to her speech in honor of Human Rights Day.  

Learn more here.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

Originally a private lane of 19th century stables belonging to adjacent townhouses.  With the advent of the automobile in the early 20thcentury, most of the stables became studio workshops for artists.  In 1907 wealthy socialite and sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney—future founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art—leased a stable here for her workshop, and soon became a patron of less-affluent artists in the Village. She went on to create the Whitney Museum in its first location at 8 West 8th Street. 

Learn more here.

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in US history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 menwho died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths.

Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and "Sara" Rosaria Maltese.

Find out more about this tragedy and it's enduring legacy. Click here.

And of course there have been several very well known fictional women to have lived in the Village...

Rachel Green

Rachel of Friends lives in the West Village with room mate Monica Geller. The apartment building featured in all the exterior shots is located on the corner of Grove Street & Bedford Street. Friends premiered on NBC in 1994 and became a quick hit, going on to air for 10 seasons. Its cultural impacts in the 90s were wide ranging, including the infamous “Rachel” haircut and one catchy theme song. You can watch a clip of the show's opening credits by clicking here.  

Carrie Bradshaw 

The beautiful and glamorous Carrie Bradshaw lived in the Village at 64 Perry Street. Along with Carrie’s home, the four leading ladies of Sex and the City spent quite a bit of time hanging out in and around the area, making certain eateries and shops hits for tourists and locals alike. During the show’s 6 years it gained critical acclaim for tackling social issues facing women today.

There are of course many other highly accomplished and famous women who've called Greenwich Village home. Who would you add to the list? 

Women's History Month

Comments

Comments are closed.