Darger's secret creative output, though notoriously hard to date, appears to have begun when Darger was still in his teens, when he began his epic fiction The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelininian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. He produced many other types of writing and artifacts, including the large double-sided watercolour paintings, or collage-drawings, for which he is best known.
From 1932, Darger lived at 851 Webster Avenue, and in later years the owner of this building was Nathan Lerner. Athough unaware of Darger's activities, Nathan Lerner was, by a remarkable coincidence, an artist, designer, photographer and educator, his home next door at 849 an unofficial cultural centre in the city. When Darger became infirm and unable to climb the stairs to his room, it was Lerner who helped him find a residential care home late in 1972. Henry Darger died in 1973.