by Justin Spring '84
"This is a rare and important book. Secret Historian is a genuinely captivating combination of clear writing, a clean conscience, and more dirty stories than I ever imagined one life could hold."
--Debby Applegate '89, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher.
- Learn more about the author (view alumni profile)
- Listen to the interview with Justin Spring and Professor Jack Cameron
- Read the review of Secret Historian from the Amherst magazine.
- Read an excerpt from Secret Historian
- Join the discussion
- View other books by Justin Spring
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.
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.