Heterodoxy (group)

Heterodoxy was the name adopted by a feminist debating group in Greenwich Village, New York City, in the early 20th century.[1] It was notable for providing a forum for the development of more radical conceptions of feminism than the suffrage and women's club movements of the time.[2] The group was considered important in the origins of American feminism.[3]

Heterodoxy was founded in 1912 by Marie Jenney Howe, who specified only one requirement for membership: that the applicant "not be orthodox in her opinion".[2] The club's members had diverse political views. The membership also included bisexual and lesbian women, in addition to heterosexuals.[2] The luncheon club, which started with 25 members, met every two weeks on Saturdays.[2] The club was disestablished in the 1940s. Group members referred to themselves as "Heterodites".[4]

Among the notable members were Susan Glaspell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ida Rauh.[5] Heterodites Alice Kimball, Alison Turnbull Hopkins, Doris Stevens, and Paula Jakobi were arrested in 1917 and 1918 suffrage protests, and served time in the Occoquan Workhouse, jail, or prison psychiatric wards. Grace Nail Johnson was the only African American woman who belonged to Heterodoxy.

Heterodoxy meetings were valuable sources of information on the struggles for women's rights for its members. Many non-members addressed the group, including Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, Emma Goldman, and Amy Lowell.[6]


The members of Heterodoxy lived primarily in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and the Lower East Side.[7] While some Heterodites were famous in their own right, little is known of many of them.[8]


  1. ^ William A Taylor, "The Power of the Word: Greenwich Village Writers and the Golden Fleece" chapter 8 of In Pursuit of Gotham: Culture and Commerce in New York Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 127
  2. ^ a b c d Margaret Smith Crocco (1998). "Heterodoxy". Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States. pp. 193-194. ISBN 0313293236.
  3. ^ carol anne douglas Review of Radical feminists of Heterodoxy : Greenwich Village, 1912-1940. In: Off Our Backs, v12 n10 (November 1982): 23
  4. ^ Schwarz 1986, p. 107
  5. ^ Judith Schwarz, Radical feminists of Heterodoxy : Greenwich Village, 1912-1940 Norwich, Vt. : New Victoria Publishers, 1986. ISBN 978-0-934678-08-7
  6. ^ Schwarz 1986, p. 19
  7. ^ Schwarz 1986, p. 1
  8. ^ Schwarz 1986, pp. 115–128
  9. ^ Weisberger, Bernard A. (2013). The La Follettes of Wisconsin: Love and Politics in Progressive America. University of Wisconsin Pres. p. 361. Retrieved 20 January 2020.