In 1912 she helped found Chicago’s Little Theatre which put on influential avant-garde plays.
She wore her hair short in the male style, and preferred male clothing, especially suits and a bow ties, although she never used a male name.
In 1916 she met Margaret Anderson, and the two became lovers and joint editors of the Little Review, a seminal magazine of literary modernism which published works by most of the new influential writers in English, many courtesy of their foreign editor in London, Ezra Pound.
In 1920 the US Post Office seized and burned four issues that contained excerpts from James Joyce’s Ulysses. The next year, they were tried and found guilty of obscenity, fined $100 and forced to discontinue serializing the book.
Heap then became the major editor. In 1924 she met G.I. Gurdjieff, and established a Gurdjieff study group. She moved to Paris, to study at his institute. Margaret Anderson had also moved to Paris with her new lover, and they continued to issue the Little Review until 1929.
In 1927 she established an all-women Gurdjieff study group. In 1935 Gurdjieff sent her to London to set up a new study group, and she stayed there the rest of her life.
She died of diabetes at age 81.
- Andrea Barnet. “Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap: Life for Art’s Sake”. In All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004: 66-88.
- Linda Lappin. “Jane Heap and Her Circle”. Prairie Schooner. 78, 4. Winter 2004: 5-25.
- “Jane Heap”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Heap.