A Night Club Map of Harlem – Campbell, E. Simm

If one gives credence to those who claim that the 1926 Cabaret Law was intended to close down Harlem night clubs, this well known 1932 drawing/map shows the thriving club scene in Harlem, only mentioning the 500 speakeasies.


A night-club map of Harlem

Campbell, E. Simms (Elmer Simms), 1906-1971, cartographer.

Dell Publishing Company,  [1933]© 1933

Elmer Simms Campbell (January 2, 1906 – January 27, 1971)[1] was an African-American illustrator who signed his work, E. Simms Campbell.

“Of enduring cultural and historical interest is the witty, cartoon-filled map Campbell drew in 1932 – “A Night-Club Map of 1930s Harlem” – identifying the attractions of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and adding his personal notes. He captures the intensity of the scene: within a few blocks of each other he has cartooned Cab Calloway singing at the Cotton ClubBill “Bojangles” Robinson doing his step dance at the Lafayette Theater – “Friday night is the Midnight show, Most Negro revues begin and end here.” Lissome “cafe au lait girls” dance at Small’s Paradise. Outside, doormen welcome White swells in top hats, while an elegant Black couple in evening dress dance “the Bump”?” Wiki.

Campbell, E. S. (1932). A night-club Map of Harlem – 1932 Yale’s Beinecke Library, New Haven. Dell Publishing Company. https://beinecke.library.yale.edu/article/yales-beinecke-library-acquires-playful-1932-map-harlem-nightlife-0


Greg Miller, During Prohibition, Harlem Night Clubs Kept the Party Going, National Geographic Magazine, Apri 4, 2017.
A witty 1932 cartoon map shows where to find famous musicians, gambling policemen, and a guy selling marijuana.


Categories: Cabaret Law, Harlem Renaissance