Mabel Ganson was the heiress of a wealthy banker from Buffalo, New York. Her first marriage, at the age of 21, was to Karl Evans, the son of a steamship owner in 1900. They had one son, and Karl died in a hunting accident two-and-half years later leaving her a widow at the age of 23. In the Spring of 1904, an oval portrait of her in mourning dress was painted by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury for her paternal grandmother Nancy Ganson of Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Later that year she married Edwin Dodge, a wealthy architect.
She was actively bisexual during her early life and frankly details her passionate physical encounters with young women in her autobiography Intimate Memories (1933).
Mabel and Edwin lived in Florence from 1905 to 1912. At her palatial Medici villa — the Villa Curonia — in Arcetri, not far from Florence she entertained local artists, as well as Gertrude Stein, her brother Leo, Alice B. Toklas, and other visitors from Paris, including André Gide. A troubled liaison with her chauffeur led to two suicide attempts: the first was by eating figs with shards of glass; the second with laudanum.
Mabel Dodge Luhan was a wealthy American patron of the arts, friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, André Gide, Carl Van Vechten, Margarett Sargent, Emma Goldman, Charles Demuth and many others. She was actively bisexual during her early life and frankly detailed her passionate physical encounters with young women in her autobiography Intimate Memories (1933). After several marriages and lovers in the "society", in 1923 she married Tony Luhan, a Native American. The couple lived together in Taos, New Mexico, until Mabel died in 1962, a year before Tony did.
Mabel Dodge Luhan by Mary Foote
In mid-1912, Mabel and Edwin (who by this time were becoming estranged) returned to America, and she began to set herself up as a patron of the arts, holding a weekly 'salon' in her new apartment at 23 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Often in attendance were such luminaries as Carl Van Vechten, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, Charles Demuth, "Big Bill" Haywood, Max Eastman, Lincoln Steffens, Hutchins Hapgood, Neith Boyce, and John Reed. Van Vechten took Dodge as the model for the character "Edith Dale" in his novel Peter Whiffle. Anthropologist Raymond Harrington introduced Dodge and her friends to peyote in an impromptu "ceremony" there.
Mabel Dodge Luhan with Karl and John Evans, 1902
Mabel Dodge Luhan with Edwin Dodge and John Evans, 1905
She was involved in mounting the Armory Show of new European Modern Art in 1913, and she published in pamphlet form a piece by Gertrude Stein, "Portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia", which Mabel distributed at the exhibition. This brought her to public attention.
She sailed to Europe at the end of June 1913. Her new acquaintance John Reed ('Jack') — worn out from having recently organized the Paterson Pageant — travelled with her. They became lovers after arriving in Paris, where they socialized with Stein and Pablo Picasso. They moved down to the Villa Curonia, where the guests this time included Arthur Rubinstein. At first this was a very happy time for the couple, but then tension grew between the two as Jack grew uncomfortable with the affluent isolation and Mabel saw his interests in the world of people and achievements as a rejection of her. They returned to New York in late September 1913. In October 1913 Jack was sent to report on the Mexican Revolution by The Masses magazine. Mabel followed him to Presidio, a border town, but left after a few days. In 1915, she returned to Provincetown with painter Maurice Sterne. (Picture: John Reed, 1914, Provincetown)
Over 1914-16 a deep and continuing relationship developed between the intelligentsia of Greenwich Village and Provincetown. Jack Reed contributed to the start of the Provincetown Players, and Mabel had a rivalry with Mary Heaton Vorse.
Mabel became a nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst organization.
She moved to Finney Farm, a large Croton estate. Sterne, who was to become Mabel's third husband, was staying in a cottage behind the main house. Mabel offered Jack the third floor of the house as a writing studio; he moved in for a short period but the situation was untenable. Later that year, 1916, Mabel married Maurice. (Picture: Maurice Sterne)
Around this period of time Mabel Dodge Sterne spent a great deal of time living in Santa Barbara, California where her friend Lincoln Steffens had relatives who were living at the time. Lincoln Steffens sister Lottie was married to local rancher John J. Hollister.
In 1919 Mabel Dodge Sterne, her husband Maurice, and Elsie Clews Parsons moved to Taos, New Mexico and started a literary colony there. On the advice of Tony Luhan, a Native American whom she would marry in 1923, she bought a 12-acre (49,000 m2) property. Tony set up a teepee in front of the small house and drummed there each night until Mabel came to him. Maurice bought a shotgun with the intention of chasing Tony off the property, but he was unable to use it, and simply took to insulting Mabel. Mabel sent Maurice away, and supported him with monthly payments until their divorce four years later.
D. H. Lawrence, the English author, accepted an invitation from her to stay in Taos and he arrived, with Frieda his wife, in early September 1922. He had a fraught relationship with his hostess and wrote about this in his fiction. Mabel later published a memoir about his visit entitled, Lorenzo in Taos (1932).
Mabel and Tony hosted a number of influential artists and poets including Marsden Hartley, Arnold Ronnebeck, Louise Emerson Ronnebeck, Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Robinson Jeffers and his wife Una, Florence McClung, Georgia O'Keeffe, Mary Hunter Austin, Frank Waters, and others. (Picture: Tony Luhan)
Mabel Dodge Luhan died at her home in Taos in 1962 and was buried in Kit Carson Cemetery. The Mabel Dodge Luhan House has been designated a national historic landmark and is a historic inn and conference center. Natalie Goldberg frequently teaches at Mabel Dodge Luhan House, where Dennis Hopper wrote the script for Easy Rider.
The Mabel Dodge Luhan Papers Collection—a collection of letters, manuscripts, photographs and personal papers documenting the life and works of Mabel Dodge Luhan—is housed at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/1252258.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.