Hubert's Freaks

The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus

By Gregory Gibson
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151012336, 288pp.)

Publication Date: April 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Bob Langmuir is an obsessive dealer with a remarkable eye for treasure who makes the discovery of a lifetime when he chances upon a trove of never-before-seen prints by the legendary Diane Arbus. From the moment he purchases a trunk containing the archive of Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus—a midcentury Times Square freak show frequented by Arbus—and discovers some intriguing photographs, he knows he’s on to something. Furthermore, he begins to suspect that what he’s found may add a pivotal chapter to what is now known about Arbus and the “old weird America,” in Greil Marcus’s phrase, that Hubert’s inhabited.

Langmuir’s ensuing adventure, filled with bizarre coincidences, turns into a roller-coaster ride that takes him from memorabilia shows to the curator’s office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Will the photos be authenticated? How will the Arbus estate react? most important, can Bob, who has seen more than a few promising deals head south, finally make his one big score?

About the Author

GREGORY GIBSON is the author of the critically acclaimed Gone Boy: A Walkabout and Demon of the Waters: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Whaleship Globe. An antiquarian-book dealer, he lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Praise For Hubert's Freaks


“Gibson has written a panoramic story that takes in sideshow culture, Diane Arbus, African American social history, the image market as it ranges from foreclosure sales to Chelsea galleries, and much more. Its principal focus, however, is one man’s life—his dreams and ambitions and delusions and dashed hopes—and that is what makes the book uncommonly moving, utterly engrossing.”—Luc Sante

Hubert’s Freaks will fascinate those among us who are stimulated by the richness and variety of American subcultures. I devoured it.” —Larry McMurtry

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