University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Florence Reynolds Collection related to
Jane Heap and The Little Review

1881 - 1978
(bulk dates 1908 - 1947, 1976 - 1978)

Manuscript Collection Number: 258
Accessioned: Purchase, September 1991.
Extent: 5 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, photographs, poetry, essays, translations, short stories,
artwork, books, magazines, research notes, scrapbook, jewelry, and taped interview.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1991 - 1992 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Florence Reynolds

Florence Reynolds, lifelong friend and benefactor of Jane Heap, was born February 12, 1879 in Stanton, Michigan. In the 1880s her father, Montgomery Reynolds, moved the family to Edgewater, a suburb of Chicago. In Chicago he established a prosperous insurance business. It was in Chicago that Florence Reynolds first met Jane Heap in 1908.

Florence, known to her family and friends as Ho, had a private income as a young woman and enjoyed traveling. A European trip with Jane Heap in 1910 was the first of several she and Heap would take together over the years. Her last trip abroad occurred in 1947 when she visited Jane Heap in London.

Florence Reynolds was graduated from the Lewis Institute in Chicago in 1901. Early in the 1930s she was a counselor and administrator at Andrebrook, an exclusive girls school in Tarrytown, New York. When the school closed in 1942, she worked in New York briefly before moving to live with her sister (Hattie Mack) and her brother-in-law in Hollywood, California.

Florence Reynolds shared a lifelong relationship with Jane Heap, providing financial as well as emotional support. Jane Heap met and began a relationship with Margaret Anderson around 1915, and joined Anderson in her creative efforts to produce The Little Review, a small modernist magazine which was published from 1914-1929. Florence Reynolds was called "Mother" by Heap, a term of affection as reflected in letters dating from 1917.

Reynolds was also involved in The Little Review, offering financial support and translating the work of several French contributors to the magazine when Heap and Anderson moved to Paris.

When Florence Reynolds died in Hollywood, California on December 2, 1949, her personal income was transferred to Jane Heap for her lifetime use.

Jane Heap

Jennie (Jane) Heap was born in November 1883 in Topeka, Kansas. Her father, George Heap, worked as an "engineer" at the Insane Asylum (later known as the Topeka State Hospital). Although precise dates are unknown, the Heap family lived for a period of time on the grounds of the asylum (see F61 for a story by Heap about the hospital).

Jane Heap graduated from Topeka High School on May 28, 1901. In October 1901, at the age of 17, she enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago. She later became a student at the Lewis Institute in Chicago, where Marie Blanke became her mentor and close friend. Marie Blanke and Heap organized and operated "Blanke and Heap's Nickel Theatre" at the Lewis Institute. Marie Blanke was the "James" to whom Jane Heap refers in her letters to Reynolds in 1908-1909. Jane Heap met Florence Reynolds through Marie Blanke's "Chicago group," a circle of friends which included Esther Blanke, Florence Reynolds, Elsa Koop, and Olive Garnet. The "Chicago group" was comprised of young women from affluent families who shared an interest in the arts.

As an artist, Jane Heap received recognition for her watercolor drawings. In a 1911 Chicago Tribune review of an exhibition which included Heap's work, Harriet Monroe favorably mentioned Jane Heap's watercolors. An article in the December 15, 1915 issue of the Topeka Capital noted that Heap had established a studio in Chicago and had received several commissions for murals. Heap also designed scenery and costumes for Maurice Brown's "Little Theatre" in Chicago, as well as acting in their productions.

Around 1915, Jane Heap met and became intricately involved in the life of Margaret Anderson, creator and editor of The Little Review. Jane Heap's first appearance as a writer occurred in the June-July 1915 issue of The Little Review, with a review titled "The Nine." Heap used a number of pseudonyms, such as "R" and "Garnerin" and signed many contributions with the nearly anonymous "jh." During the final years of The Little Review Heap was the primary editor and indeed it was she, not Margaret Anderson, who wrote the farewell editorial for the magazine.

The Little Review played a leading role in the literary modernism of the 1920s. The magazine's regular contributors included Sherwood Anderson, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and William Carlos Williams. Anderson and Heap published relative unknowns such as Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Ford Maddox Ford. In addition to featuring young American expatriates living in Paris, The Little Review introduced readers to numerous European authors and artists, including Francis Picabia, Juan Gris, Fernand Leger, Remy de Gourmont, and Constantin Brancusi.

Anderson and Heap moved The Little Review from Chicago for a brief time to Mill Valley, California, for a longer period to New York City, and finally to Paris where they were both living in the late 1920s. In New York, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heapwere exposed to the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, an eastern philosopher who had fled post-czarist Russia and established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Fontainbleau outside of Paris. One of Gurdjieff's students, A.E. Orage, former editor of the London magazine New Age, had been sent to New York to introduce the Gurdjieffian teachings to Americans.

Anderson and eventually Jane Heap pursued the teachings and moved to France. There was great transition in their lives during the 1920s as they moved to Paris; as Heap took over custody of Tom and Fritz Peters, the children of Anderson's institutionalized sister; as Anderson became the companion of Georgette LeBlanc, former companion and accompanist of Maurice Maeterlinck; and as finally, in 1929 they issued the last Little Review.

By the 1930s, Jane Heap had moved to London where she taught the Gurdjieffian philosophies to a new circle of students. Heap did not continue with any literary or creative ventures but devoted the rest of her life to teaching. Heap lived in London with Elspeth Champcommunal until her death on June 22, 1964. Florence Reynolds maintained her lifelong support of her friend Jane Heap with regular gifts, correspondence, visits, and the benefits of her final will.


Anderson, Margaret. My Thirty Years' War: An Autobiography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1971.

Purse, Jane. "Florence Reynolds," "Jane Heap: The Early Chicago Years," and "Topeka Statistical Material." Unpublished, see collection folder.

"Jane Heap Dead; Was Editor Here." The New York Times. June 23, 1964. p.33.

Scope and Content Note

The Florence Reynolds Collection Related to Jane Heap and The Little Review spans the dates 1881-1978, with bulk dates 1908-1947 and 1976-1978. The collection consists of five linear feet of material and comprises correspondence; photographs; manuscripts of poetry, stories, and essays; artwork; printed programs, magazines, and books; research notes; clippings; taped interviews; a scrapbook; and ephemera.

The collection consists of three subgroups: 1) Reynolds' collection of material related to Heap and The Little Review, 2) a collection of Florence Reynolds' family papers, and 3) the research archive compiled by Jane Purse related to Heap, Reynolds, and The Little Review.

The first subgroup contains the material related to Jane Heap and The Little Review which was saved by Florence Reynolds from the earliest days of her friendship with Heap. This includes letters from Jane Heap, Margaret Anderson, and Georgette LeBlanc, as well as Reynolds' letters to Jane Heap from 1940-1945. Also included are photographs of Heap, Reynolds, members of the "Chicago group," Anderson, LeBlanc, and others, as well as manuscripts written by Reynolds, Heap, Anderson, LeBlanc, and others. Some of the manuscripts were published in The Little Review, but a number of the earlier poems and stories by Heap were never published. In addition, this subgroup contains several pieces of jewelry crafted by Jane Heap, as well as several watercolor drawings, bookplates, and a collage.

A collection of issues of The Little Review, as well as several books written by Georgette LeBlanc and Margaret Anderson were removed from this manuscript collection, cataloged, and transferred to the printed collections of Special Collections. A description of these items is found in the first subgroup.

The second subgroup consists of material related to Florence Reynolds and her family. The papers include correspondence, family photographs, and several family documents such as Florence Reynolds' birth certificate. Of particular interest are the letters received by Florence and her sister, Hattie, from survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and a scrapbook kept by Florence Reynolds during the summer and fall of 1901. Reynolds was 22 at the time, and the scrapbook reflects her social life during this period which was spent in Salt Lake City, Utah. The scrapbook includes invitations, game cards for social events, letters, theatre programs, newspaper clippings, political cartoons, photographs, personal calling cards, and other ephemera.

The third subgroup consists of the material which Jane Purse collected in the process of her research on Reynolds, Heap, and The Little Review. In 1950 Florence Mack Treseder, niece and heir of Florence Reynolds, entrusted family material in her possession to Jane Purse. Jane Purse not only preserved the collection, but enriched it with her own research on Reynolds, Heap, and The Little Review. The information and material she assembled includes correspondence, research notes, photographs, books, and an interview with Florence Mack Treseder.

The collection as a whole not only documents an extraordinary friendship between Florence Reynolds and Jane Heap,but does much to bring to light details of Heap's life and her contributions to The Little Review. Margaret Anderson celebrated her own life and accomplishments in three autobiographical volumes as well as in other writings. Anderson's accounts were not inaccurate, but they often focused on herself at the expense of not crediting others for their roles in her life. Because Heap abandoned a "creative" life and quietly dedicated her life to the Gurdjieff work, relatively little information has been available to tell Jane Heap's story.

The emotional letters of Jane Heap to Florence Reynolds, 1908-1909, the fragments of Heap's early poems and stories which bear themes of vagabonding and love, and the photographs of Heap in costume with her theatrical friends illustrate something of the passion and flair with which Jane Heap lived her life. Other material in the collection documents the creative aspirations of Jane Heap and her Chicago friends, independent young women leading generally unconventional lives in early 20th century America. As described in the bylaws of a women's organization to which Heap belonged, the group was "formed for the purpose of establishing a common meeting ground for lovers of independence and self-expression, whose vocations permit excursions beyond domestic bonds" (See F81).

The collection is also significant for documentation of the editorial and emotional partnership Heap shared with Margaret Anderson. Heap's letters to Reynolds fill in many missing details (often names) from episodes described by Anderson in My Thirty Years' War. In addition to accounts of the financial struggles the pair endured to produce each issue of The Little Review, Heap includes anecdotes and news of friends and contributors to the magazine. Correspondence mentions the anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, lawyer and art patron John Quinn, radical Jack Reed, foreign editor of The Little Review Ezra Pound, performing artist Mary Garden, and wife of the sex psychologist, Mrs. Havelock Ellis. Contributors to The Little Review mentioned in the correspondence include Djuna Barnes, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Juan Gris, Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, and others.

Lastly, the collection is valuable for documenting the involvement of Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson with the teachings of the mystic philosopher G.I. Gurdjieff. Pursuit of these teachings brought Heap and Anderson to France. By coincidence of changing life partners and simultaneous deeper involvement with the Gurdjieff work, Heap and Anderson gradually abandoned production of The Little Review, a creative magazine that ironically should have flourished in the stimulating environment of 1920s Paris.

Heap and Anderson both wrote letters with their thoughts on Gurdjieff, some from Fountainbleau at the site of the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man. A particularly revealing letter from Anderson explains her life view (with Gurdjieffian references), written in response to the helpless situation of her sister Lois' institutionalization. Lois' children, Tom and Fritz Peters, were adopted by Jane Heap and raised in a Gurdjieffian environment. Photographs in the collection show the boys in poses from movements practiced at the Institute.

Jane Purse, the researcher who preserved the legacy of the Reynolds-Heap friendship through her contact with Florence Reynolds' niece, enriched the collection with the addition of her own notes, clippings, and correspondence. Particularly important was her contact with Michael Currer-Briggs, Jane Heap's London colleague and literary executor, who returned Reynolds' wartime letters to Heap to Florence Mack Treseder in America. Consequently, Jane Purse's efforts to assemble and preserve the collection strengthened the record available for study of Jane Heap, her relationships, and her contributions to The Little Review.

Series Outline

I. Florence Reynolds Collection Related to Jane Heap 
      and The Little Review, 1908-1977                        

    1.  Correspondence, 1908-1945                             
    2.  Photographs, 1908-1947                                
    3.  Manuscripts written by Heap, Anderson, Reynolds,
          and Ellis, 1908-1922                                
    4.  Material related to The Little Review, 1914-1941      
    5.  Artwork created by Jane Heap, 1914-1941               
    6.  Printed material related to Jane Heap and 
          The Little Review, 1910-1977                        

II.  Florence Reynolds Papers, 1881-1942                      

     1.  Correspondence, 1884-1906                            
     2.  Photographs, 1881-1940                               
     3.  Family documents, 1901-1942                          

III. Jane Purse Research Archive, 1879-1978                   

     1.  Interview with Florence Mack Treseder, 1976 Feb 2    
     2.  Correspondence and research notes, 1971-1978         
     3.  Books collected by Jane Purse for research related
           to Jane Heap and The Little Review, 1928-1975      

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