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   Lyle Stuart Papers 1926-2010 [Bulk Dates: 1949-2003]

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Preferred Citation

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

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

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 Dates: 1949-2003]
Physical description:35.63 linear ft. (26 record cartons, 1 half-width document case, 4 small flat boxes, 2 large flat boxes, 1 artifact box).
Language(s): Chiefly in English, with some items in Danish, French, German, Norwegian, and Spanish.
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two 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.  More information »



This collection is arranged in seven series.

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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.

Subseries II.1: Creative Writing, 1939-1976

Although not known as a fiction writer, Stuart wrote novels, poetry, short stories, and song lyrics, especially in his younger years. His biggest fiction succes, God Wears a Bow Tie , was published in 1949 to largely positive reviews which are included in this subseries. His radio scripts for the State Department are also represented. The bulk of the subseries includes his unpublished manuscripts and research notes, arranged alphabetically by title.

Subseries II.2: Journalism, 1944-1967

Stuart spent time as a freelance journalist and worked on the staff of a variety of newspapers. This subseries includes clippings of his stories, notes and typescripts of both published and unpublished articles, and records of his time as a producer at WHOM-FM, where he and Louis Chu created the first Chinese-language radio program in New York. His file of story notes includes advertising and the book jacket for his major nonfiction success, The Secret Life of Walter Winchell (1953), which was a compilation of the series of exposé articles he wrote in 1951.

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.

Subseries V.1: Collected Art and Ephemera, 1935-2000

This subseries includes fine art (John Gossage's 2000 artist's book "Hey Fuckface!"), cartoons by Arthur Robins and Jack Davis, assorted collectibles (bumper stickers, lapel pins, coin collecting materials), rare souvenirs (Babe Ruth All American Underwear from the 1930s), and sheet music collected by Stuart, including autographed copies of Irving Caesar songs. The subseries is arranged in three files.

Many more Arthur Robins cartoons (primarily pen-and-ink and watercolor) can be found in Subseries VI.2's Production Files.

Subseries V.2: Personal Records, 1944-2005

Personal records include material from Stuart's service in the Merchant Marine and Air Force, as well as family records. Most of Early Life and Family relates to Stuart's first wife, Mary Louise, and her battle with liver cancer, and includes medical records, his search and reward advertising for an alternative cure, consolation letters, and research relating to Stuart's memorial book, Mary Louise , published in 1972. There are also remembrances of Stuart's father (who committed suicide in 1928) and brother, and his frequently updated memorial "People I've Known Who Have Died."

This subseries also includes the Stuart family's financial records unrelated to publishing. In addition to bank statements, investment activity, and tax returns, Stuart frequently borrowed and lent money, and this often led to the lively exchanges in this subseries' correspondence, as well as occasional legal remedies. Of the many loan materials, most notable is a sizable personal loan made to fellow publisher Barney Rosset, involving the partial purchase of Rosset's Blue Moon Books.

Subseries V.3: Topical Files, 1948-1998

Topical files include Stuart's collection of materials on major subjects of interest. Stuart was a fierce defender of Cuba in the 1960s, belonging to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and traveled to Cuba on several occasions to meet with Fidel Castro. His Cuba file includes brochures, clippings, correspondence, souvenirs, and Congressional testimony. Due partially to his political activities, Stuart had files at both the Department of Defense and the FBI, which were produced after his FOIA requests in the mid-1980s.

Stuart considered himself a semi-professional gambler, particularly in baccarat. He wrote two books on gambling, published several more, was part owner of a casino, and created and produced a gambling newsletter, High Roller . The Gambling file includes Stuart's accounting of his tournaments and casino trips, clippings, club cards, tournament certificates, and the case from a casino baccarat set. His books on gambling can be found in Series VII.

Jamaica and the Stuart Place cover records and news related to Port Maria, Jamaica, where Lyle and Mary Louise owned and rented a vacation home. The file includes advertising, clippings, correspondence, and financial records.

The Juvenile Delinquency file dates from the late 1950s when Lyle and Mary Louise Stuart lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. They became interested in the welfare of low-income teenagers in the area and began an odd jobs program for their co-op and collected articles related to juvenile delinquency in NYC more generally. The Fort Greene cooperative is also the site of the final file, Kingsview Homes. The Stuarts were frequently in dispute with the cooperative board (including over the odd jobs program they attempted to institute) and made efforts, both in and out of the courts, to replace the board. The Kingsview Homes file includes correspondence, lawsuits and legal files, meeting minutes, neighbor surveys, and copies of the Kingsview Flyer newsletter.

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.

Subseries VI.1: The Independent , 1951-1973

Lyle and Mary Louise Stuart founded Exposé , a monthly tabloid, in November 1951. Retitled as The Independent in April 1956 (to distinguish it from trade tabloids like Confidential and Scandal ), it focused on left-wing investigative journalism, publishing articles on Franco's Spain, Jim Crow laws, and "the real Cuba." It was an early publisher of a number of notable writers, including Paul Krassner, Norman Mailer, and George Seldes. By Mary Louise Stuart's death in 1969, The Independent had transitioned into a personal newsletter, with issues devoted to Stuart's recent travels or feuds. After a hiatus following Mary Louise's death, Lyle Stuart resumed publication as a bimonthly from 1971 through 1973. The clippings file from the paper's first years can be found in Series IV.

Advertising and Publicity includes clippings about the tabloid, ads for the paper from The Nation and The Progressive , a promotional brochure on The Independent 's history, newsletters, catalogs, and poster ads. Business and Financial Records include business plans, operating estimates, budget reports, invoices, press cards, and copyright certificates. Issues include a near-complete run of the newspaper, from its first issue in November 1951 until its 200th issue in December 1973. Issues not included are numbers 68, 70-71, 81-82, 86, 97, 101-104, 106, 108-110, 119-120, 130, and 150. Materials are arranged chronologically within each file.

Subseries VI.2: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1956-2000

Lyle and Mary Louise Stuart founded Lyle Stuart, Inc. in 1956. Initially funded by a judgement against Walter Winchell and Confidential magazine in a 1955 libel suit filed by Stuart, the firm thrived by publishing controversial and newsmaking books. Books published by Lyle Stuart, Inc. include The Sensuous Woman , The Anarchist Cookbook , and Ordeal , the Linda Lovelace autobiography.

Advertising, Catalogs, and Newsletters are arranged by record type and include material related to Lyle Stuart, Inc., Citadel Press (a Lyle Stuart, Inc. subsidiary) and Carol Publishing Group. Newsletters include dozens of issues of Hot News , a hybrid business-personal newsletter that Lyle and Carole Stuart began writing in 1981 (the newsletter continues today as Barricade Books' Hot News blog). Hot News issues from after 1989 are filed in Subseries VI.3.

Author Agreements and Proposals include executed contracts, correspondence, and solicited and unsolicited book proposals. Business records include official incorporation records, stockholder reports, background material produced by and about the firm, and booklists. Financial records cover accounting, stock, and budget reports as well as research and contracts from the 1989 acquisition by Carol Publishing Group and materials related to Carol Publishing Group's 1999 bankruptcy proceedings.

Production Files and Drafts include materials from books under contract. Among other titles, it includes multiple corrected drafts of a never-published biography of Salvador Dalí by his controversial secretary Peter Moore. Of particular interest is original pen and ink and watercolor final art by Arthur Robins for an unpublished book of dirty jokes.

Subseries VI.3: Barricade Books, 1989-2008

Barricade Books was founded by Lyle and Carole Stuart shortly after the sale of Lyle Stuart, Inc. to Carol Publishing Group. Although the acquisition of Lyle Stuart, Inc. included a three-year period where Lyle Stuart was forbidden from book publishing, the agreement did not apply to books rejected by Carol Publishing. Among other titles, Carol Publishing was uninterested in renewing the rights to The Anarchist Cookbook , initially published by Lyle Stuart, Inc., which Barricade then bought.

Advertising, Newsletters, and Publicity are arranged by topic and includes post-1989 issues of Hot News . Author Agreements are arranged chronologically. Book Proposals include solicited and unsolicited proposals and sample chapters. Financial records include bank statements and check registries, along with files on Barricade Books's acquisition of Red Dembner and Barney Rosset's Blue Moon Books. The file also includes 2008 bankruptcy proceedings related to settling Lyle Stuart's estate, and assorted tax returns. Office files include the official corporation bylaws, cataloging-in-publication data submitted to the Library of Congress, publication lists and schedules, and sales and shipping records. Production Files include drafts and research files from authors under contract and printing quotes and estimates for upcoming titles.

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 .

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two 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.

Restrictions on Use

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.

Collection is processed to folder level.

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.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by Caitlin Goodman, 2013

Finding aid written by Caitlin Goodman in April 2013

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion April 23, 2013. Finding aid written in English. Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard .
    2013-04-23 xml document instance created by Caitlin Goodman

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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.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Radio scriptsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sheet musicPortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Allen, Steve, 1921-2000PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Blue Moon BooksPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Book proposalsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brown, David, 1916-2010PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brown, Helen GurleyPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Caesar, Irving, 1895-1996PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Cargill, MorrisPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chu, Louis, 1915-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Corwin, Norman, 1910-2011PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Dalí, Salvador, 1904-1989PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
EC ComicsPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Edwards, Frank, 1908-1967PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ellis, Albert, 1913-2007PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fowler, Will, 1922-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gaines, William M.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gibson, Richard, 1931-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Goldstein, AlPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Krassner, PaulPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lamb, EdwardPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Levy, Arnold BrucePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Libel and slanderPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lundberg, Ferdinand, 1902-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manning, DickPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Poulson, Norris, 1895-1982PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Price, RogerPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishingPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Renay, LizPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Robins, ArthurPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Rosset, BarneyPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Schwartz, Allen G. (Allen George), 1934-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Seldes, George, 1890-1995PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Stuart, LylePortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Winchell, Walter, 1897-1972PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wright, Bruce, 1918-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wynn, StevePortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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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.

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