Queer Places:
Westbeth Artists Housing, 55 Bethune St, New York, NY 10014
New Montefiore Cemetery West Babylon, Suffolk County, New York, USA

Image result for Tobias SchneebaumTobias Schneebaum (March 25, 1922 – September 20, 2005) was an American artist, anthropologist, and AIDS activist. He is best known for his experiences living, and traveling among the Harakmbut people of Peru, and the Asmat people of Papua, Western New Guinea, Indonesia then known as Irian Jaya.

He was born as Theodore Schneebaum (he later changed Theodore to Tobias) on Manhattan's Lower East Side and grew up in Brooklyn. In 1939 he graduated from the Stuyvesant High School, moving on to the City College of New York, graduating in 1943 after majoring in mathematics and art. During World War II he served as a radar repairman in the U.S. Army.

In 1947, after briefly studying painting with Rufino Tamayo at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Schneebaum went to live and paint in Mexico for three years, living among the Lacandon tribe. In 1955 he won a Fulbright fellowship to travel and paint in Peru. After hitch-hiking from New York to Peru, he lived with the Harakmbut people for seven months, and said he had joined the tribe in cannibalism on one occasion.[1]

He recounted his journey into the jungles of Peru in the 1969 memoir Keep the River on Your Right.

Until 1970 he was the designer at Tiber Press, then in 1973 he embarked on his third overseas trip, to Irian Jaya in South East Asia, where he lived with the Asmat people on the south-western coast. He helped establish the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress.

In 1999, he revisited both Irian Jaya and Peru for a documentary film, titled Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale.

Schneebaum spent the final years of his life in Westbeth Artists Community, an artists' commune in Greenwich Village, New York City, also home to Merce Cunningham and Diane Arbus, and died in 2005 in Great Neck, New York. He bequeathed his renowned Asmat shield collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and his personal papers are preserved within the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.


Westbeth Artists Housing, 55 Bethune St, New York, NY 10014

Schneebaum received a Master of Arts in anthropology at The New School in New York City, and another from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont.


  1. Winner, David (2005-11-28), "The Boys on the Side", The Village Voice, retrieved 2007-09-01.
  2. "Welcome to Next Wave Films". www.nextwavefilms.com. Retrieved 2018-03-13.