Samuel Steward & His Secret Life

By Jason Boog 

This month’s edition of Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Work in Progress newsletter contains archival photos and texts from the research behind a book that was nominated for a National Book Award this year.

Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade by Justin Spring tells the story of a professor who lived secret lives as a tattoo artist, pornographic novelist, and sex researcher. Above, we’ve embedded a photo of the professor working as a tattoo artist. Follow this link to see more items from Spring’s research.

Here’s more about the book: “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.”