Gender Studies Program presents
a multimedia presentation of his archival research
for the biography Secret Historian
March 2, 2011
126 DeBartolo Hall
Co-sponsored by Department of American Studies
Justin Spring is a writer and curator 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 .
Justin Spring has also organized the publication of the complementary art book, An Obscene Diary: The Visual World of Sam Steward.
Samuel Steward—writer, professor, tattoo artist, and pornographer—lived one of the most fascinating and sensational secret lives of the twentieth century. After Justin Spring, an esteemed art historian and biographer, discovered an enormous trove of Steward’s papers, diaries, artwork, and personal effects in a San Francisco attic, he decided to spend nearly a decade piecing together a life so outrageous—and yet so thoroughly and painstakingly documented—that it almost defies belief. The result is this magnificent and groundbreaking biography, Secret Historian.
SECRET HISTORIAN is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Finalist for the 2010 National Book Award, a Top 10 Biography of the Year on Amazon, and a Top 10 Book of the Year in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“A true page-turner—and a memorable act of historical reclamation. Sammy Steward is all but unknown except by a handful of historians, but Justin Spring’s lively biography—which is full of important new information about pre-Stonewall gay life—should put Sammy on the map, which is where he decidedly belongs.” —Martin Duberman, author of Cures: A Gay Man’s Odyssey
“Secret Historian is a startlingly, unforgettably vivid glimpse into a life—and a world—that few of us can imagine.” —Terry Teachout, author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong
"I just read Justin Spring’s Secret Historian about Samuel Steward and let me say that that’s my new favorite book...It’s really good! " -- Film Director John Waters, Baltimore OUTloud