The Sunwise Turn

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Sunwise Turn Bookstore at its original location at 2 E. 31st. St. circa 1916. Photograph from p. 16 of Beatrice Wood's autobiography, "I Shock Myself." Photographer unknown.

The Sunwise Turn, A Modern Bookshop was a bookshop in New York City that served as a literary salon and gathering-place for F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alfred Kreymborg, Maxwell Bodenheim, Peggy Guggenheim (an intern in 1920), Theodore Dreiser, Robert Frost, Harold Loeb, John Dos Passos and others.[1] It was founded by Madge Jenison and Mary Horgan Mowbray-Clarke in 1916, and operated until 1927. As such, it is one of the first bookshops in America to be owned and operated by women.[2] Its papers — those of its founders and of the bookshop itself — are held by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.[3]

The bookshop showed art as well as books; Guggenheim credited the shop with spurring her love of collecting.[4]

Publishing History[edit]

In addition to acting as an exhibition and performance space, the shop published five illustrated poetry broadsides and at least ten books between 1916 - 1923.

The broadsides were the first publishing venture undertaken by the shop, and each paired an artist with a poet. Issued sequentially in 1916, the broadside series featured poems and hand-colored drawings:

  1. "Ballads for Sale" by Amy Lowell ; drawing by Walt Kuhn
  2. "The Scientist" by Gladys Cromwell ; drawing by John Frederick Mowbray-Clarke
  3. "Cow of Curses" by Amy Murray ; drawing by Amy Murray
  4. "The Bird Seller Praises his Bird of Paradise" by Padraic Colum ; drawing by Herbert Crowley
  5. "Chariots" by Witter Bynner ; drawing by Howard Coluzzi.[5]

1916 also saw the publication of Lord Dunsany's "A Night at an Inn" in conjunction with the Neighborhood Playhouse as "Neighborhood Playhouse Plays No. 1"[6]

The Sunwise Turn pioneered the publication of Indian contemporary writing in America with two collections by Ananda Coomaraswamy "The Dance of Siva: Fourteen Indian Essays" and "Prayers and Epigrams."[7][8]


The initial location was 2 East 31st Street; in 1919 the shop moved to the Yale Club building at 51 East 44th Street, where it remained until it closed in 1927. Mowbray-Clarke, with the help of Harold and Marjorie Content Loeb, bought Jenison out in 1919/1920. (Jenison would go on to publish an account of the shop's early years, Sunwise Turn: A Human Comedy of Bookselling [E.P. Dutton, 1923]). When in 1927 it proved to be insolvent, Mowbray-Clarke sold the firm with its stock to Doubleday, Page & Co. for $5,000.[3]


  1. ^ Ohta, Yukie. "New York Bound Books · The Sunwise Turn: The Modern Bookshop". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  2. ^ Ted Bishop, "The Sunwise Turn and the Social Space of the Bookshop" in The Rise of the Modernist Bookshop, ed. Huw Osborne. London: Routledge, 2015
  3. ^ a b "The Sunwise Turn/Mary Mowbray-Clarke Papers An Inventory of Records at the Harry Ransom Center". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  4. ^ Dearborn, Mary V. (2004). Mistress of modernism: the life of Peggy Guggenheim. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 34–35.
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