SAMUEL M. STEWARD was born in Woodsfield, Ohio. He hated teaching and students so much he gave it up to become a tattoo artist. Steward was a man of many arts. When he wasn’t tattooing he was feeding information about the tattoo subculture to Alfred Kinsey. He wrote under the name Phil Andros and became one of the 20th century’s greatest porn writers.
Unlike modern Gay porn, Steward’s characters spouted Shakespeare while they screwed handsome young men. His descriptions of sex are among the most graphic in the language. Steward met famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey around 1949 and became an unofficial collaborator, helping Kinsey find new contacts. In 1949, he participated in a BDSM scene for Kinsey to film, with a sadist that Kinsey flew in from New York. He said Kinsey was “as approachable as a park bench” and described him as a liberating influence. In the early 1950s he made pornographic drawings, many of them based on his own Polaroid photographs.
Some of his art was published in the tri-lingual Swiss homosexual journal Der Kreis (The Circle). At Kinsey’s request, Steward created a green metal card catalog labeled “Stud File,” which contained a meticulously documented record on index cards of every sexual experience and partner — Rock Hudson, Thornton Wilder, “One-eyed Sadist” — that Steward said he had had over 50 years. In the 1960s Steward began writing gay erotica under the name Phil Andros.
His works dealt with rough trade and sadomasochistic sex. Since the legality of Gay erotica was still questionable, its authors and publishers had little recourse against piracy; Steward’s own San Francisco Hustler was published without permission by Cameo Library as Gay in San Francisco by “Biff Thomas”.
Steward was the off and on again lover of deeply closeted playwright Thornton Wilder and was a close confidente to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, with whom he carried on in Paris.
The name Phil Andros, which he used both as a pen name and the name of his protagonist, comes from the Greek words for love and man. An excellent recent biography by Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade is a great read we recommend.