Daniel Crouch Rare Books LLP
Night Club Map of 1930's Harlem- Price Upon Request
A NIGHT CLUB MAP OF 1930’S HARLEM SIMMS CAMPBELL, E. A Night-Club Map of Harlem The stars indicate the places that are open all night. The only important omission is the location of the various speakeasies but since there are about 500 of them, you won’t have much trouble. Manhattan, A Weekly for Wakeful New Yorkers, No.1 Vol. 1, January 18th, 1933. xxxx 410 by 610mm (16.25 by 24 inches). To succeed in a white-dominated society, Campbell, the first nationally-prominent African-American cartoonist (see 1931 listing above), rarely used Black themes in his drawings. But he had close ties to Harlem’s cultural “Renaissance” and this map was his most important early Black-related work, forgotten for decades because it appeared in the first issue of an obscure magazine for Manhattan night-owls which failed in a month. The map itself, embellished with numerous small cartoon vignettes, illustrating a wide range of Harlem street scenes (including “the Reefer man”, selling “Marihuana “Cigarettes, 2 for $25”) highlights the Cotton Club with Cab Calloway’s band (“one of the fastest stepping revues in New York”), the Savoy Ballroom, Lafayette Theatre (“Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, the world’s greatest tap-dancer”), the Theatrical Grill, Gladys’ Clam House, the Radium Club (“Big breakfast dance every Sunday morning, 4 or 5 A.M.), the “Yeah Man!”, and other establishments in the vicinity of Lenox and Seventh Avenues. “Knowing asides” on the map, from praise of musicians like pianist Garland Wilson to insider tips (“Nothing happens before 2 A.M. Ask for Clarence”) convey a sense of intimate knowledge which must have appealed to white New York socialites who frequented Harlem hot spots for chic entertainment. While resurrected by reproduction in the 1976 autobiography of Cab Calloway – who asserted that Simms’ art provided "a better idea of what Harlem was like in those days that I can give you with all these words" - the map was not really “rediscovered” by collectors until a 1993 exhibit at the New York Public Library, one of only two institutions.
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