Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts
Date of Publication:
Nov. 1921 (1:1) – Jan. 1924 (6:1). Nothing published Mar. 1922 and Apr.- Jul. 1923
Place(s) of Publication:
Rome, Italy: Nov. 1921 – Sept. 1922 (1:1 – 3:2)
Berlin, Germany: Oct. 1922 – Mar. 1923 (3:3 – 4:4)
New York, New York: Aug. 1923 – Jan. 1924 (5:1 – 6:1)
Frequency of Publication:
Approx. 4000 by 1923
The Broom Publishing Company, Inc.
33 cm in length. Contained book reviews, illustrations, criticism, short stories, plays, poems, reviews of cinema and theater. Frequent reproductions of paintings, sculptures, and woodcuts. Advertisements began appearing in April 1922 (2:1). Issues typically ran approx. 100 pages in length.
50 cents per issue / $5 per year
Harold A. Loeb (Nov. 1921 – Jan. 1924)
Alfred Kreymborg (Nov. 1921 – Feb. 1922)
Lola Ridge (American editor)
Libraries with Complete Original Issues:
Harvard University, Houghton Library; Ohio State University
New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1967
Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI, 2004 (Little Magazines. American, 1920 – 1929) [microform]
PDF of Aug. 1922 issue (3:1) available online at GoogleBooks
In 1920 novelist Harold Loeb convinced Alfred Kreymborg to join him in editing a magazine that would publish any European or American writer they deemed worth reading. With Loeb’s financial backing Broom became a reality in November 1921. The magazine was “heavy of weight, rich in color, fine in binding and printing…nothing quite like its aristocratic format had ever been seen in America” (Hoffman 103). Yet after one year of publication Kreymborg left, as he felt the magazine was too conservative and didn’t feature enough American experimental writers. Loeb moved the magazine from Rome to Berlin, where he produced only four more issues before his money ran out. Matthew Josephson took over the funding of the magazine in New York, but he published only five more issues, the last of which never circulated.
During its time in Europe, Broom had an international tone and “introduced unknown or little known European writers and painters to America” (Hoffman 105). The loose editorial policy, wishing only to publish the best living artist and writers, made for a wide cross-section of contributors, from the up-and-coming to the well-established. The magazine reproduced the art of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Joseph Stella, Juan Gris, Man Ray, Jacques Lipschitz, Rockwell Kent; it also showcased literary contributions from William Carlos Williams, E. E. Cummings, Jean Toomer, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Hart Crane, Sherwood Anderson, Waldo Frank, Amy Lowell, John Dos Passos, Kay Boyle, and many more. Broom is not known for being a pioneering little magazine, but its “importance lies in the fact that it was in the vanguard of an intellectual movement, in the fact that it helped win the fight against the sentimentalities of the genteel tradition” (Hoffman 107).
Broom‘s first and only manifesto appeared in the magazine’s opening issue. Below is an excerpt:
|“Broom is selecting from the continental literature of the present time the writings of exceptional quality most adaptable for translation into English.|
|These will appear side by side with the contemporaneous effort in Great Britain and America.|
|The painters and sculptors will be represented by the best available reproductions of their work.|
|Throughout, the unknown, path-breaking artist will have, when his material merits it, at least an equal chance with the artist of acknowledged reputation.|
|In brief, Broom is a sort of clearing house where the artists of the present time will be brought into closer contact.|
|The permanence of this project is assured absolutely if supported by the subscriptions of those sympathetic to it.”|
Broom. 1:1 (Nov. 1921): inside back cover.
Harold Albert Loeb (Oct. 18, 1891 – Jan. 20, 1974)
Editor: Nov. 1921 – Jan. 1924
Born into a wealthy family with investment bankers on his father’s side and Guggenheims on his mother’s side, Harold Albert Loeb seemed an unlikely candidate to have become a little magazine editor and writer. Indeed, it wouldn’t be until 1917, after exhausting cattle farming, concrete pouring, and a New York City desk job, that Loeb looked to writing as a more interesting occupation. When he began working for the Sunwise bookstore in Greenwich Village, he became acquainted with a number of writers and artists. Among them was Gilbert Cannon, who took Loeb abroad to Paris. Once there, Loeb joined Alfred Kreymborg in establishing Broom. After editing the Little Magazine for four years, Loeb devoted his time to his own writing. He wrote several novels, including Doodab (1925) and The Professors Like Vodka (1927), and a memoir, The Way It Was.
Alfred Kreymborg (Dec. 10 1883 – Aug. 14 1966)
Co-Editor: Nov. 1921 – Feb. 1922
Alfred Kreymborg grew up in a working class family in New York City and became interested in modern art, photography, and writing while living in Greenwich Village. He founded The Glebe in 1913, which was “one of the first periodicals to sponsor experimental writing” (Hoffman 46). With a donation of $276 from Walter Conrad Arensberg, Kreymborg went on to found Others, a magazine dedicated to experimental poetry. Editor of Broom and American Caravan and contributor to Little Magazines well into the 1950s, Kreymborg achieved popular acclaim touring America with his puppet plays (1920-1) and a radio play he produced (1938). When he died in 1966, he had published forty books and served as president of the Poetry Society of America and as judge for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
Lola Ridge (Dec. 12 1873 – May 19, 1941)
American Editor: Feb. 1922 – Jan. 1924
Lola Ridge’s personality and her sympathy for the proletariat gave her considerable fame as a writer and a revolutionist in the 1920s. The Irish native attended Trinity College in New South Whales, Australia, before moving to San Francisco in 1907 to pursue writing and exercise her radical political viewpoints. Even when she gained literary fame for a sequence of poems titled “The Ghetto” published in New Republic, she and her husband lived a life of poverty as an exhibition of her devotion to the working poor. She served as associate editor to Alfred Kreymborg’s Others until it ceased publication in 1919, and then rejoined the writer in 1922 when she began to serve as American editor to Broom. In this position she ran a Broom salon, where she broke her vow of poverty to mingle with American writers. Ridge left Broom when she felt it was becoming overly avant-garde and modernist, and spent the rest of her career publishing increasingly conservative and politically-minded pieces.
Matthew Josephson (Feb. 5, 1899 – Mar. 13, 1978)
Associate Editor: 1922 – Jan. 1924
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899, Matthew Josephson graduated Columbia University in 1920 and became a highly experimental poet, enjoying the company and influence of poets Kenneth Burke, Hart Crane, and Malcolm Cowley. When he moved to Paris in 1921 he became entranced by the Dadaists, whose interests in American modernism and industrialism helped Josephson embrace his culture. In 1922 he joined with Gorham Munson to publish Secession, a magazine he hoped would enlighten the world as to the aesthetic importance of the machine age. When Kreymborg offered him an editorial position with Broom in 1922, Josephson seized the opportunity and monopolized on the magazine’s large circulation to dispel his artistic beliefs. Although widely embraced in Europe, his Futurist and Dadaist literature and his collection of poems, Galimathias, failed to impress an American audience when Broom moved to Manhattan. When Broom collapsed in 1924, Josephson took a position on Wall Street for two years which transformed him into a new writer by 1926, and he denounced his former Dadaist ways. He turned to nonfiction, and produced a best-selling biography of Émile Zola, Zola, His Time: The History of His Martial Career in Letters (1928). From 1928-29, he worked as American editor for transition, and blasted William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pounds for being expatriates who refused to embrace their culture. At his death, Josephson was a renown biographer, particularly interested in American capitalism and French literature.
“Portrait of a Girl”
“Young Man with Spectacles”
“The Springs of Guilty Song”
“Dedicated to the Enemy”
e. e. cummings
“Three United States Poems”
John Dos Passos
“Two University Professors”
John Gould Fletcher
“To a Starving Man”
“Candy Cigar and Stationary”
“Made in America”
“After and Beyond Dada”
The Young Sailor
“The Mysticism of Money”
“Snakes, Mongooses, Snake-Charmers and the Like”
Drawing of Igor Strawinsky
“Four Steichen Prints”
“If You Had Three Husbands”
“Hymn from a Watermelon Pavilion”
William Carlos Williams
“In the Orchard”
Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts. 1924. New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1967.
Hoffman, Frederick J., Charles Allen, and Carolyn F. Ulrich. The Little Magazine: A History and a Bibliography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1947.
“Lola Ridge.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit, Gale 2000. Literature Resource Center. Davidson College Lib., Davidson, NC. 26 June 2009 <http://galenet.galegroup.com>.
Sarason, Bertram D. “Harold A(lbert) Loeb.” American Writers in Paris, 1920-1939. Ed. Karen Lane Rood. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. Literature Resource Center. Davidson College Lib., Davidson, NC. 23 June 2009.
Shi, David E. “Matthew Josephson.” American Writers in Paris 1920 – 1939. Ed. Karen Lane Rood. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 4. Gale Research, 1980. Literature Resource Center. Davidson College Lib., Davidson, NC. 23 June 2009.
“Broom” compiled by Simone Muller (visiting student), Theodore Emerson (Class of ’06, Davidson College) and Emily Smith (Class of ’06, Davidson College)