Stephen Longstreet (1907-2002) was a prolific author and artist. Born Chauncey Weiner in New York in 1907, his family moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey when he was a child. As a schoolboy, Longstreet changed his name from Chauncey to Henry, and then again to Henri when he began his professional career as an artist in the early 1930s. The family name was originally Wiener-Longstrasse, and Longstreet's first submitted manuscript (to Random House in 1940) was as Stephen Wiener-Longstrasse. It was Bennett Cerf at Random House who suggested Longstreet drop the Wiener and anglicize the Longstrasse. Longstreet also adopted and used the pen names Paul Haggard (circa 1938), Thomas Burton, David Ormsbee, Monte Redmond, W.W. Windstaff, and Lucas Webb.
As Henri Wiener, Longstreet studied in Paris and at Rutgers and Harvard Universities; he graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (Parsons) in 1929. On his return to the United States from Paris, his artistic style was considered "too modern" to sell (he identified as a surrealist), and he thus pursued a career as a commercial and magazine artist and cartoonist. His work was published in the New Yorker, Life, Colliers, and the Saturday Evening Post. Longstreet continued to produce art after turning to writing; in addition to creating illustrations for a number of his own books, in particular his publications on jazz, Longstreet was also a prolific producer of collages and drawings.
In 1933 Longstreet began writing radio shows for John Barrymore, Bob Hope, and Rudy Vallee, thus launching his career as a writer. He published over a hundred books, including the novels Decade 1929-1939 (1940), The Pedlocks (1951), and The Flesh Peddlers (1962).
In addition to novels, Longstreet also wrote a number of scripts and plays. He was under contract at Warner Bros. in the 1940s and penned "The Jolson Story" and "Stallion Road", based on his novel of the same name and starring Ronald Reagan. He also wrote a screen adaptation of his novel The Gay Sisters (1941) and the book for the musical "High Button Shoes", adapted from his semi-autobiographical novel, The Sisters Liked Them Handsome.
Longstreet also wrote a number of non fiction books, many of them on one of his favorite topics, jazz. He was introduced to jazz by Paul Robeson, whom he met in 1918 while Robeson was an undergraduate at Rutgers University.
Longstreet died in 2002.