He was a repeated contributor to American Speech by 1931; his first extended work, Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western North America: A Glossarial Study of the Low Element in the English Vocabulary, was privately published in Paris in 1935 since its description of bathroom graffiti was considered too racy for American publishers. It was eventually published in the United States in 1977, under the title Classic American Graffiti, ISBN 0-916500-06-3.
He married Charlotte Schuchardt in 1953. They remained together until she died in July 2002. He died in New York City three months later. They had no children.