Café Society Uptown, New York 1940s
Café Society was a New York City nightclub open from 1938 to 1948 at Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, and managed by Barney Josephson.
Josephson created the club to showcase African American talent and to be an American version of the political cabarets he had seen in Europe earlier. As well as running the first racially integrated night club in the United States, Josephson also intended the club to defy the pretensions of the rich; he chose the name to mock Clare Boothe Luce and what she referred to as "café society", the habitués of more upscale nightclubs, and that wry satirical note was carried through in murals. Josephson not only trademarked the name, which had not been trademarked by the gossip columnist for the New York Journal American M, who wrote as the first "Cholly Knickerbocker", but advertised the club as "The Wrong Place for the Right People". Josephson opened a second branch on 58th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue, in 1940. After that, the original club was known as Café Society Downtown and the new club—designed for a different audience—as Café Society Uptown. Legendary music producer John Hammond was the club's "unofficial music director".
Courtesy Private Collection.
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