Sam was the one person who was not hiding his sexuality, was not pretending nothing had ever happened, and was in fact quite dynamic, expressive, funny, charming, outrageous in his descriptions of what he'd been getting up to.....and I began to think more and more that he would be the key to unlocking a whole period in American cultural history when we don't really hear interestingly or dynamically from what we now think of as the gay community. So Sam became to me the invisible man who could actually be the key to a whole lot of understanding"
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.
Listen as Justin Spring '84 and Professor of English John Cameron discuss in wonderful depth the origins of this biography and the remarkable story of Phil Sparrow.
An interview with Justin Spring '84 and Professor of English Jack Cameron
A member of the English Department since 1958, I divide my time nowadays between teaching courses in literature (mainly the novel, especially James, Joyce, Proust) and courses in cinema (American, European, Contemporary World film, film theory). Presently on phased retirement.