SAMUEL STEWARD’S INFLUENCES AND LEGACIES AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Photograph courtesy of the Loyola University Chicago University Archives and Special Collections.
STEWARD’S 1931 YEARBOOK PHOTO Steward came to Ohio State University from Woodsfield, Ohio in 1927. He was admitted to the English Department with an entrance essay on Walt Whitman’s “Calamus” poems. Steward said, “This amazing little essay I later learned landed in 1927 in the midst of a staidly closeted English department with the disruptive force of several pounds of TNT…” (qtd. In Spring, 17). He received his B.A. in 1931. Photograph courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives.
MENDENHALL HALL, 1920 In 1927, Stewardâ€™s first year at OSU, the English Department was housed in Mendenhall Hall.
Photograph courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives.
DERBY HALL, 1937 During the rest of Stewardâ€™s time at OSU, from 1928 to 1934, the English Department was housed in Derby Hall.
Photograph courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives.
CLARENCE ANDREWS While an undergraduate at OSU, Steward studied with Clarence Andrews, who researched Romantic poetry, Victorian poetry, and French and Moroccan literature and culture, among other subjects. According to Steward’s biographer Justin Spring, “While Andrews was homosexual, he was discreet about it, and partnered, and he wisely kept Steward at a careful arm’s length” (18). Photograph courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives.
MOVIE POSTER FOR THE FILM INNOCENTS IN PARIS In 1928, Clarence Andrews published The Innocents of Paris. One of its short stories, “The Flea Market,” was made into a movie. Directed by Richard Wallace, the movie was a musical—the first produced by Paramount Pictures—starring French actor Maurice Chevalier. Chevalier played a junkman who saved a little boy from drowning in the Seine but could not save the boy’s mother, who was trying to kill herself and her son.
SAM STEWARD AND ALICE B. TOKLAS, CIRCA 1950’s Clarence Andrews, who split his time between Columbus and Paris until his 1932 death, was friends with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. When Steward wrote to them about their friend’s death, the three began what would become a lifelong correspondence. Steward visited Stein in Paris. Of their friendship, Steward wrote, “Such a flood of happy memories rushes over me in recalling those times that it is hard to enfold them in a capsule of time and space. Most of all I remember the humanity and warmth of Gertrude, the endless talk, the spriteliness of Alice Toklas, and—oddly enough—the hysterical barking of the two dogs, Basket and Pépi” (“On Gertrude Stein” 64). http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/gaybears/steward/
NOVEMBER 1932 OHIO STATER COVER AND FIRST PAGE OF “DESIRES” Clarence Andrews’s interest in France may have partly inspired the 1932 short story “Desires,” which Steward published in The Ohio Stater, a schoolwide journal. The story is about a French peasant in love with an aristocratic ballerina who is in turn betrothed to a military man who does not love her. Photograph courtesy of the Ohio State University Archives.
TITLE PAGE TO STEWARD’S MA THESIS Steward received his MA in English from Ohio State in 1932.
AUGUST 14, 1932 COLUMBUS STAR ARTICLE ON STEWARD Steward published Pan and the Fire-bird, his first collection of short stories, in 1930. â€œThese early short stories featured a sexually allusive prose styleâ€? (22), according to Spring, as well as thinly veiled references of homosexuality. According to this article, "The most sought after man on the Ohio State campus is not a football player, but he's more elusive than Garbo and has a more successful mustache than Menjou. Listen, gals, he's Sam Steward author of Pan and the fire-bird [and his] telephone number [is] WA 1592."
1934 COMMENCEMENT PAMPHLET COVER AND STEWARDâ€™S LISTING Steward received his PhD in English from Ohio State in 1934. His dissertation, Provocatives of the Oxford Movement and Its Nexus with English Literary Romanticism, combined Stewardâ€™s interest in religious studies and literary studies. Steward also suggested that Cardinal Newman was homosexual in his dissertation. Spring states, "By detailing the probable homosexuality of the Oxford Movement's leader, the philosopher, writer, and (later) Catholic convert John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman, Steward noted that he had created 'almost as much of a bombshell [in the English Department] as [had] my early essay on Whitman" (26).
TITLE PAGE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STEWARD’S DISSERTATION
ANGELS ON THE BOUGH Steward took up a professorship at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, in 1934 and shortly thereafter another at the State College of Washington in Pullman. In May of 1936, Steward's novel Angels on the Bough was published to uniformly positive reviews. "A collection of deftly juxtaposed character sketches of Columbus bohemians [one of whom is an English professor who is depressed by the endless duties and pressures of academe], Angels on the Bough is a beautifully crafted narrative exploring their intersecting lives during the toughest days of the Depression" (Spring 36). However, because one of the bohemians was a prostitute, the conservative president at Washington, where Steward was a popular teacher, declared he had written an obscene novel and fired him on the spot (Spring 37).
JUNE 13, 1936 COLUMBUS DISPATCH ARTICLE ANNOUNCING STEWARD AS “OUSTED COLLEGE PROFESSOR” The Columbus Dispatch reported Steward's firing from State College of Washington in 1936 following the publication of his first novel, Angels on the Bough, due to the novel's "racy" content. This incident contributed to Steward’s growing disillusionment with the university system. In 1947, Steward reflected on the state of the academy as follows: “*T+here have existed from time to time certain groups—religious, artistic, or social—who have lived in an intellectual climate that is completely different from the one followed by most people. The academic world is quite out of climate in which most realists live today. Conceived by the written word, bred in books, nurtured on the petty gossips of faculty teas, the teachers of today are wholly out of step with the world” (“On Teaching” 476).
APRIL 1930 OSU MONTHLY ARTICLE ON STEWARD’s MOVE TO LOYOLA Steward moved to Chicago in 1938 to teach at Loyola University and, later, DePaul University. By this time OSU publications were charting his relationship not only with Stein, but also with Andre Gidé and Thornton Wilder.
STEWARD’s 1941 LOYOLA YEARBOOK PHOTO Steward eventually left the academy to pursue tattooing fulltime. After resigning, Steward remarked, “*W+ild horses couldn’t drag me back into [teaching]. It makes cravens of strong men, always with the feeling that you may do something that will endanger your academic reputation, whatever that is” (“On Teaching” 477). Photograph courtesy of the Loyola University Chicago University Archives and Special Collections.
DEAR SAMMY, MURDER IS MURDER IS MURDER, AND THE CARAVAGGIO SHAWL In the 1970s, Steward published Dear Sammy: Letters from Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, which also included a memoir of his friendship with the literary women, and in the 1980s, he published two mysteries in which Stein and Toklas were portrayed as amateur sleuths.
A FINAL WORD ON TEACHING Steward's Dear Sammy memoir about Stein and Toklas, and his correspondence with them produced an unexpected effect. It inspired a number of his students from DePaul University, from which he was fired in 1956, to write him with glowing memories of their time in his classes. As one student put it, "You were my first experience with a truly great and inspiring mind...I had to make sure that you knew [how great you were]." Steward was touched and responded, "If I had known there were so many--as you indicate--feeling the way you did I might never have left teaching. And what a horror that would have been! Grown old and crotchety, and telling the same jokes over and over" (Spring 377).
Slide show prepared by Meredith Lee, Chris Lewis, and Chidanand Sekar, with the assistance of Debra Moddelmog.