Carla Kaplan, a pro­fessor of Amer­ican lit­er­a­ture at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, offers a joint biog­raphy of six largely for­gotten women (win­nowed down from five dozen whom she researched) in “Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renais­sance” (Harper, $28.99).

The convention-​​bending women included phil­an­thropists, edu­ca­tors, heiresses and nov­el­ists who fig­ured in the Harlem Renais­sance of the 1920s and 1930s as patrons, muses and edi­tors and in assorted other roles that Pro­fessor Kaplan, a biog­ra­pher of the writer Zora Neale Hurston, cap­ti­vat­ingly illu­mi­nates and places in overdue perspective.

We have doc­u­mented every other imag­in­able form of female iden­tity in the Jazz Age — the New Woman, the spin­ster, the flapper, the Gibson Girl, the bach­elor girl, the bohemian, the twen­ties ‘man­nish’ les­bian, the suf­fragist, the invert and so on,” she writes. “But until now, the full story of the white women of black Harlem, the women col­lec­tively referred to as ‘Miss Anne,’ has never been told.”

Read the article at The New York Times →