Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Lyle Stuart papers, 1926-2010, bulk 1949-2003

Summary Information


Controversial publisher Lyle Stuart (1922-2006) was a self-described "First Amendment fanatic." He founded two publishing companies, Lyle Stuart, Inc. and Barricade Books, and published newsmaking and bestselling books, including The Sensuous Woman and The Anarchist Cookbook. The collection consists of 35 linear feet documenting Lyle Stuart's personal and professional activities, including his prolific correspondence and journalism, and his many lively (and often litigated) personal feuds.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1565
Bib ID 8623590 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Stuart, Lyle
Title Lyle Stuart papers, 1926-2010, bulk 1949-2003
Physical Description 36 linear feet (26 record cartons 2 halfwidth document case 4 small flat boxes 2 large flat boxes)
Language(s) Chiefly in English, with some items in Danish, French, German, Norwegian, and Spanish.
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Material in boxes 28, 29, and 31 is extremely fragile and therefore access to this material will be determined on a case-by-case basis.



This collection is arranged in eight series.


Scope and Content

The papers of Lyle Stuart cover his personal and professional life as a maverick publisher, writer, and vivid personality. Beyond his career as a publisher, the collection documents his many interests and passions, including alternative medicine, Cuba, erotology, gambling, gossip, juvenile delinquency, pornography, and songwriting. There is extensive documentation of his career, first as a journalist, lyricist, and scriptwriter, and later as a prolific publisher of controversial books, including Inside the FBI (1967), Naked Came the Stranger (1969), The Sensuous Woman (1969), The Anarchist Cookbook (1970), The Turner Diaries (1996), and Great Big Beautiful Doll (2007).

Stuart was a forceful personality, and his correspondence series is rich with major figures in celebrity and journalism, including Helen Gurley Brown, Morris Cargill, William Gaines, Al Goldstein, Paul Krassner, Ferdinand Lundberg, Roger Price, Liz Renay, Barney Rosset, and George Seldes. He was party to dozens of lawsuits, often stemming from what he perceived to be personal slights, breaches of contract, or occasions of libel and slander, and his legal records comprise several boxes. Most notably was an early libel suit against Walter Winchell and a series of suits in the 1990s and 2000s related to accusations of libel in a biography of Steven Wynn.

Collection materials include advertising, army records, art, book proposals and contracts, business and office records, clippings, collectibles, correspondence, creative writing, financial records, journalism, lawsuits, magazines, newspapers, photographs, poetry, production files, published volumes radio scripts, research files, and sheet music.

  • Series I: Correspondence, 1940-2010

    Stuart's correspondence is divided into three files. Correspondence that was not maintained in any order can be found, unarranged, in the first file. Stuart kept many of his letters in topical folders, and these items have been collected into the file of Alphabetical and Topical materials. Finally, some correspondence was removed in the mid 2000s (mostly by Lyle Stuart's son Rory, at Stuart's direction and with his occasional annotations) and filed in binders. There were three sets of alphabetical binders, one of letters from Stuart, and four binders that lacked specific order. While the binders have been discarded, the letters have been maintained in the order in which they were found.

    The correspondence spans most of Stuart's life and covers personal, professional, and private activities. A single correspondent is occasionally represented in all three alphabetical binders as well as in a dedicated folder in the Alphabetical file and in the unarranged material. Major correspondents are listed in Subject Headings.

  • Series II: Early Career and Writings, 1939-1976

    This series includes Stuart's early career as a journalist for International News Service, Music Business, Ready to Wear Scout, and Variety. It also documents his time as a radio scriptwriter for the U.S. State Department, his work as a freelance songwriter, and his published and unpublished fiction and poetry. The series is divided into two subseries.

  • Series III: Lawsuits, 1954-2003

    Lyle Stuart was a frequent party to lawsuits throughout his career. An early notable case was a libel suit brought by Stuart against columnist Walter Winchell: after publishing a muckraking exposé of Winchell, the columnist alluded to Stuart's guilty plea for attempted blackmail in the early 1940s. Stuart, whose sentence was suspended, sued Winchell and won an $8000 settlement, which he and his wife used to found Lyle Stuart, Inc.

    Many of the represented lawsuits relating to money and contract disputes (including a forgery charge against Salvador Dalí), but the largest file is Steve Wynn's libel suit against Lyle Stuart and Stuart's subsequent countersuit. A biography of Wynn published by Stuart, Running Scared (1995) implied Wynn's Mafia-connections. While the initial case led to a $3 million defamation judgement against Stuart and Barricade Books, the judgement was eventually reversed on appeal.

    Materials in this series consist of complaints, deposition transcripts, and other pre-trial and trial records. Some lawsuits include significant pre-trial research, including private investigator reports, as well as publicity-related clippings. Files are arranged by case citation, with the Wynn v Stuart case being significantly larger than the other files.

  • Series IV: Magazines, Newspapers, and Clippings, 1926-2006

    Stuart was a prolific collector of clippings and news related to his career, friends, and hobbies. The series is divided into three files. Clippings include both unarranged articles collected by Stuart as well as articles he collated into topical files (including files on individuals). The Expose Clippings File dates from Stuart's earliest years at his tabloid. It was used as a revolving research source for articles, and emphasizes political and cultural celebreties. Folders in the Expose file are arranged alphabetically by name. Magazines and Newspapers are full issues collected by Stuart and, excepting the unarranged issues, are arranged by name and then by date. Of particular note: Brevities, often considered the first tabloid, is remembered for its elaborate and graphic headlines; In Fact was an influential newsletter produced by George Seldes; and Ready to Wear Scout was a trade publication that Stuart worked on in his early career.

  • Series V: Personal, 1935-2005

    This series is divided into three subseries and collects the bulk of material unrelated to Stuart's writings and publishing career. Materials include art, collectibles, contracts, correspondence, education records, ephemera, financial records, loan statements and related legal records, medical records, military records, obituaries, party planning materials, photographs, and sheet music.

  • Series VI: Publishing Ventures, 1951-2008

    This series is divided into three subseries, each devoted to a different firm. The Independent (originally titled Exposé) was a monthly tabloid published by Lyle and Mary Louise Stuart, and included a small book publishing imprint. With $8000 awarded in a libel judgement against Walter Winchell, the Stuarts founded Lyle Stuart, Inc. in 1956. After selling Lyle Stuart, Inc. to Carol Publishing Group in 1989, Stuart and his second wife, Carole, founded Barricade Books, a more specialized firm committed to "strengthening and protecting the First Amendment". Lyle Stuart, Inc. materials also include some records from after the Carol Publishing acquisition, as Carole Stuart remained on staff at Carol Publishing (and Lyle Stuart remained a formal "advisor") before co-founding Barricade Books. Barricade Books is now run by Carole Stuart.

  • Series VII: Published Volumes, 1959-2003

    Published volumes include thirteen books published by Lyle Stuart through Lyle Stuart, Inc. (or its subsidiary Citadel Press) or Barricade Books. This series also includes three books written by Lyle Stuart: Mary Louise, a memorial of his first wife, Lyle Stuart on Baccarat and Casino Gambling for the Winner.

  • Series VIII: Additions to the Papers

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Material in boxes 28, 29, and 31 is extremely fragile and therefore access to this material will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lyle Stuart Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material

Albert Ellis Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

Barney Rosset Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

Mike McGrady Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University.


No additions are expected

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2010-2011-M149: Source of acquisition--Rory Stuart. Method of acquisition--Purchase; Date of acquisition--4/4/2011.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Caitlin Goodman, 2013.

Finding aid written by Caitlin Goodman in April 2013.

Collection is processed to folder level

Revision Description

2013-04-23 xml document instance created by Caitlin Goodman

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Radio scripts Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sheet music Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Advertising -- Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Allen, Steve, 1921-2000 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Art Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Blue Moon Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book proposals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brown, David, 1916-2010 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brown, Helen Gurley Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Caesar, Irving, 1895-1996 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cargill, Morris Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chu, Louis, 1915-1970 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Citadel Press Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Corwin, Norman, 1910-2011 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Cuba Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dalí, Salvador, 1904-1989 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
EC Comics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Edwards, Frank, 1908-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ellis, Albert, 1913-2007 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fowler, Will, 1922-2004 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gaines, William M. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gambling Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gibson, Richard, 1931- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goldstein, Al Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Krassner, Paul Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lamb, Edward Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Levy, Arnold Bruce Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Libel and slander Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Lundberg, Ferdinand, 1902-1995 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
MAD Magazine Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manning, Dick Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poulson, Norris, 1895-1982 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Price, Roger Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Renay, Liz Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Robins, Arthur Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Rosset, Barney Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Schwartz, Allen G (Allen George), 1934- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Seldes, George, 1890-1995 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Shaw, Artie, 1920-2004 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stuart, Lyle Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Winchell, Walter, 1897-1972 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wright, Bruce, 1917-2005 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wynn, Steve Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Lyle Stuart was born Lionel Simon in New York City on August 11, 1922. After dropping out of high school he joined the Merchant Marine, later serving with the Air Transport Command of the Air Force during World War II. During the war he officially changed his name to Lyle Stuart, partially due to antisemitism he encountered in the service. After the war, he began working as a journalist, first for the International News Service in Columbus, Ohio (where he met and married Mary Louise Strawn), and later for assorted trade publications in New York City, including Ready to Wear Scout, Music Business, and Variety. He also wrote radio scripts for the State Department and published short stories and a novel.

In 1951, Stuart and his wife founded Exposé, a monthly tabloid. In its early years, Exposé published investigative articles about Franco's Spain and Jim Crow Laws, as well as fiction and essays by Norman Mailer, Ferdinand Lundberg, George Seldes, and others. In later years, Exposé (now retitled The Independent) became more of a personal newsletter by and about Lyle Stuart. After Mary Louise's death from cancer in 1969, Stuart temporarily ceased publication, resuming on a bimonthly schedule in 1971 before finally shuttering The Independent in 1973. One of Exposé's early articles, a 1951 takedown of columnist Walter Winchell, led to a libel suit and a $8000 award for the Stuarts. The award allowed Stuart and Mary Louise to found their first publishing company, Lyle Stuart, Incorporated.

The first book published by Lyle Stuart, Inc., was The Pulse Test (1956), a book on experimental medicine. Stuart focused on controversial and scandalous nonfiction, publishing Fidel Castro, sex manuals, conspiracy manifestos and exposés, sensationalist unauthorized biographies (including Kitty Kelley's first book), and (perhaps most famously)The Anarchist Cookbook (1971). While Stuart sold his company to the now-defunct Carol Publishing Group in 1989, he quickly resumed his career as publisher, founding Barricade Books with his second wife Carole. Barricade features similar titles, including reprinting The Anarchist Cookbook and the equally controversial The Turner Diaries (1996).

Stuart was an expansive personality, and a fierce friend and fiercer enemy - often to the same individual. He was a passionate gambler, writing two books on the subject and publishing many more, and was generous with both loans and lawsuits. He died in his home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, on June 24, 2006.


Schudel, Matt. "Controversial Publisher Lyle Stuart."Washington Post, June 26, 2006.

Stuart, Lyle. "The Outrageous Lyle."The Independent, December 1971.