Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Aug 17, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
28 Reviews

Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on, and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid (and often very funny) detail.

After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago's notorious South State Street, Steward worked closely with Alfred Kinsey on his landmark sex research. During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros.

Until today he has been known only as Phil Sparrow--but an extraordinary archive of his papers, lost since his death in 1993, has provided Justin Spring with the material for an exceptionally compassionate and brilliantly illuminating life-and-times biography. More than merely the story of one remarkable man, Secret Historian is a moving portrait of homosexual life long before Stonewall and gay liberation.
Secret Historian is a 2010 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.

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Review: Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade

User Review  - Raven - Goodreads

This was a difficult read at times, but I'm glad I read it. (Isn't that one definition of a classic?) The book ties together a whole lot of history, starting in 1909 and ending in 1993. Steward's life ... Read full review

Review: Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade

User Review  - *heartrl* - Goodreads

So refreshing to read the biography of a sex positive person without moralization. And also to read the story of someone who did not shy away from sex but still struggled with identity and the ... Read full review

Contents

WildHog Wild
3
Teres Atque Rotundus
33
The Chicago Novel
56
Copyright

23 other sections not shown

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About the author (2010)

Justin Spring is a writer specializing in twentieth-century American art and culture, and the author of many monographs, catalogs, museum publications, and books, including Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art and Paul Cadmus: The Male Nude.

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