Longstreet: The Writer who also Painted or the Painter who also Wrote

Stephen Longstreet (1907-2002), Sportin’ House: New Orleans and the Jazz Story, A History of New Orleans Sinners and the Birth of Jazz. (Los Angeles: Sherbourne Press, [1965]). Extra illustrated with watercolors by the author dated 1978. GAX ML 3561.J3 L63.

Stephen Longstreet wrote more than 100 books, collaborated on a dozen screenplays, and created an uncounted number of painting, drawings and watercolors. Over half of his books are available on Firestone’s shelves http://catalog.princeton.edu; 68 of his colorful watercolors, primarily portraits, can be found in the Graphic Arts division http://libweb.princeton.edu/libraries
; and perhaps, most interesting of all, is this copy of Sportin’ House. Princeton’s copy is extra illustrated with watercolors drawn by the author directly onto the pages of the book, including the title page which he signed and dated.

Born in New York City and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Longstreet moved to Paris in the 1920s to study painting. It was there he began creating watercolor portraits of such luminaries as Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. His evenings were spent at the Paris jazz clubs where he got to know the music and the musicians. Today, some of his best known books include Storyville to Harlem: Fifty Years in the Jazz Scene (1986) Oversize Rare Books: Western Americana collection ML87 .L66 1986q and Jazz From A to Z: A Graphic Dictionary (1989) Graphic Arts division Oversize ML102.J3 L66q.

His semi-autobiographical novel, The Sisters Liked Them Handsome, became a Broadway musical entitled High Button Shoes, starring Nanette Fabray and Phil Silvers. A complete list of his films can be found at: http://www.imdb.com/name