1886 - 1973

“I have always fought for ideas - until I learned that it isn't ideas but grief, struggle, and flashes of vision which enlighten.”

– Margaret C. Anderson

Born to prosperity in Indianapolis, Margaret Caroline Anderson yearned for a life “beautiful as no life had ever been.”  In 1908 she moved to Chicago where she wrote reviews for several publications. In 1914 she founded the avant-garde literary magazine ‘The Little Review,’ a journal of immense importance for artists and thinkers worldwide. In 1916 Anderson met Jane Heap – whom she called “the world’s greatest talker” – and the two soon became lovers and co-editors of the magazine. After first relocating to Muir Woods near San Francisco, and then New York, ‘The Little Review’ was soon publishing the most innovative writers, artists and thinkers of the time. Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Wallace Stevens, Max Ernst, Emma Goldman, William Carlos Williams, Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound, T.S.  Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, and many others graced its pages. In 1918 the magazine began serializing James Joyce’s Ulysses, which resulted in the U.S. Post Office seizing and burning four issues of the magazine. Anderson and Heap were convicted of obscenity charges, fingerprinted and fined. In 1923, Anderson moved to France where, in 1924, she met, studied with, and became a devotee of influential spiritual teacher Gurdjieff. During this time she also became involved with French soprano Georgette Leblanc. In 1929 Anderson edited the final issue of ‘The Little Review,’ followed in 1930 by her autobiography My Thirty Years’ War. The accompanying volumes The Fiery Fountains and The Strange Necessity were published in 1951 and 1962, respectively. After the death of Leblanc in 1941, Anderson entered into a relationship with Dorothy Caruso, widow of famous tenor Enrico Caruso. Anderson wrote the lesbian novel/memoir Forbidden Fires in the 1950s which remained unpublished until 1996. She also authored the spiritual memoir The Unknowable Gurdjieff in 1962. Margaret C. Anderson died of emphysema at age 86 on October 19, 1973 in Le Cannet on the French Riviera. She is buried with Leblanc at her side.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Lesbian

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States France

Era/Epoch First-wave Feminism (1848-1930) Interwar Period (1918-1939)

Field(s) of Contribution



Commemorations & Honors

Posthumous Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Inductee With Jane Heap (2006)

Posthumous Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)



Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell