Photo: Flo Steinberg in 1970.
Desperate to catch up on deadlines, Stan Lee got Martin Goodman’s approval to hire an assistant—a “gal Friday,” in his words—to help with the administrative work. In March 1963, a temp agency sent over Florence Steinberg, a button-cute, bouffant-sporting twenty-five- year-old in pearls and white gloves who’d recently arrived in New York from Boston. Steinberg, a former art history major, was every bit as upbeat and outgoing as Lee—she’d been student council president in high school and later volunteered for campaigns of both Ted and Bobby Kennedy. Now stationed at a desk next to Lee, she answered fan mail (hundreds of pieces arrived every day), called freelancers, and shipped pages to the printer for sixty-five dollars a week, while he sat atop a stool and pounded away on his typewriter, or greeted visiting artists for story conferences.