THE LEATHER RESEARCH REFERENCE SHELF ¶ Leather Culture, 1945-1985A Bibliography of Printed and Online Resources

This bibliography centers upon gay leather, but lesbian and heterosexual SM resources are also listed. This is not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography of the history of leather culture but is instead focussed upon works I consulted for assistance with plot elements within my leather fiction series Loren's Lashes. The bibliography therefore includes works that aren't directly related to leather culture. Indirect works are located in portions of the United States portion of the bibliography without the words "Leather/SM" in the section titles.

I would like to express my debt to david stein, whose bibliography forms the core of this one. Without his earlier work, I wouldn't have known where to start.

Some of the links on this page lead to sexual information sites that are marked as being for adults only. Parental supervision is recommended for minors visiting this page.

This site is part of The Leather Research Reference Shelf. A review of this Website is available.

This directory is maintained by Dusk Peterson. Fiction by Dusk Peterson is available, including leather fiction.

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Terminology and Abbreviations

* = Cross-referenced to the United States portion of this site.

G = Gay male.

H = Heterosexual.

L = Lesbian.

Leather = A gay male subculture centered upon the wearing of leather clothing. Some leathermen practice sadomasochism. The word leather is sometimes also used to refer to lesbian or heterosexual sadomasochism.

SM = Sadomasochism: the giving and receiving of pain for sexual pleasure. During this period, the term SM (S/M, S&M) was also used broadly to refer to dominance and submission for sexual pleasure.

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International. Europe, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom.

United States of America. This page.

American regions:

The Southwest. Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, and Utah.

American cities:

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Sections below:

Period Writings

* Leather/SM Fiction

* Leather/SM Nonfiction

* Leather/SM Periodicals and Ephemera

* Leather/SM Films and Lyrics

* Non-Leather Gay Topics

* Medical and Psychological Aspects of SM

Historical Studies

* Leather/SM Historiography

* Leather/SM History, Memoirs, and Interviews

* Leather/SM Timelines and Historical Bibiographies

* Leather/SM Films and Lyrics

* Non-Leather Gay History

Modern Studies

* Leather/SM Nonfiction

* Non-Leather Gay Topics

* Medical and Psychological Aspects of SM

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Period Writings


Andrews, Terry. The Story of Harold. New York: Holt, 1974. [G, H]

Andros, Phil [pseudonym for Samuel M. Steward]. My Brother, My Self. San Francisco: Perineum Press, 1983. Revision of My Brother, the Hustler, published in 1970. [G]

. $tud. Washington, D.C.: Guild Press, 1966. [G]

Cardini, Leo. Mineshaft Nights. Teaneck, N.J.: FirstHand Books, 1990. Includes a nonfiction introduction. [G]

Carney, William. The Real Thing. New York: Putnam, 1968. [G]

Fritscher, Jack. Leather Blues: The Adventures of Denny Sargent. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1984. [G]

Preston, John. I Once Had a Master and Other Tales of Erotic Love. Boston: Alyson, 1984. [G]

. Mr. Benson. San Francisco: Alternate Publishing, 1983. [G]

Rechy, John. Rushes. New York: Grove Press, 1979. [G]

Townsend, Larry. Run, Little Leather Boy. New York: Traveller's Companion/Olympia Press, 1971. [G]

Vanden, Dirk. I Want It All. Sacramento, Cal.: Brass Ring Books, 1995. Revision of the 1969 edition. [G]


Anonymous. S&M Sex Devices. Seattle, Wash.: Walla Walla Publishing Company, 1975. [G]

"Color Your Own Handkerchief." The Advocate 163 (May 7, 1975), Pullout Section p. 4. Article on a "new method" of identifying SM preferences, as reported by "returnees from the West Coast and elsewhere." Advocate editor John Preston notes, "This invaluable guide first appeared in S&M, the national Levi/Leather monthly." [G]

Fisher, Peter. "How Dangerous is the Gay World?" The Gay Mystique: The Myth and Reality of Male Homosexuality. New York: Stein & Day, 1972. 81-94. [G]

Fritscher, Jack. "Jack Fritscher's Actual Writing and Photography in Drummer." Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. Reprints of articles and stories published between 1977 and 1990. [G, with brief references to H and L]

Greene, Gerald and Caroline. S-M: The Last Taboo. New York: Grove Press, 1974. [H, with brief references to G]

Grumley, Michael. Hard Corps: Studies in Leather and Sadomasochism. Photographs by Ed Gallucci. New York: Dutton, 1977. [G, H, L]

L. R. (S.) "A Successful Failure: An Analysis of Gay-Male Motorcycle Clubs." Prometheus 11 (1979), 40-45. A leatherman who belongs to the newsletter's mainly heterosexual society examines why the society does not appeal to gay motorcycle club members. [G, in comparison to H]

Linden, Robin Ruth, et al. Against Sadomasochism: A Radical Feminist Analysis. East Palo Alto, Cal.: Frog in the Wall, 1982. [L and H, with some references to G]

Mains, Geoff. Urban Aboriginals: A Celebration of Leathersexuality. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1984. [G]

Parisi, Joe. "Stereotyping." The Advocate (August 27, 1975), 26-27. Confusion over conflicting hanky codes. Includes a brief interview with Chicago leather founder Chuck Renslow. [G]

Rechy, John. "S&M" and "S&M vs. 'S&M.'" The Sexual Outlaw: A Documentary. New York: Grove Press, 1984. 253-62, 267-81. Reprint of the 1974 edition. [G]

Rogers, Bruce. "Leather" and "SM." Gay Talk: A (Sometimes Outrageous) Dictionary of Gay Slang. New York: Paragon/Putnam's, 1979. 124, 183-185. Reprint of The Queens' Vernacular, published in 1972. [G]

SAMOIS. Coming to Power: Writings and Graphics on Lesbian S/M. Second edition. Boston: Alyson, 1982. [L, with some G]

Townsend, Larry. The Leatherman's Handbook. New York: The Other Traveller (Olympia Press), 1972. [G]

. The Leatherman's Handbook II. New York: Modernismo Publications, 1983. [G]

. "We, the People." The Advocate 160 (March 26, 1975), 42-43. (A defense of SM.) [G]

Van Naerssen, A. X. "Gay SM in Pornography and Reality." Journal of Homosexuality. 13 (1986/1987), 111-19. Recounts a 1985 study. [G]

Weinberg, Thomas, and G. W. Levi Kamel, editors. S and M: Studies in Sadomasochism. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1983. [G, H, L]

Young, Ian, John Stoltenberg, Lyn Rosen, and Rose Jordan. "Forum on Sado-Masochism." Lavender Culture. Edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young. New York: Jove/Harcourt, 1978. 85-117. [G, L]

For more period writings, see the other pages of this site. The International page includes a 1965 article about a Copehagan leather club in the Denmark section, with an interview.


Drummer 2-89 (August/September 1975 December 1985?). [G]

DungeonMaster 1-49 (January 1980 May 1994). [G]

Growing Pains (newsletter of the Society of Janus). May 1980 December 1986. [Mainly H, with some G and L]

Prometheus (newsletter of the Eulenspiegel Society). 3-13 (1974-1981?), 16 (1988). [Mainly H, with some G and L]

Wally Wallace Collection. Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago. Letters and other ephemera from the owner of the Mineshaft bar and other leather establishments. [G]


Cruising. Directed by William Friedkin. Performed by Al Pacino. Lorimar, 1980. [G]

Hiatt, John. "Spy Boy." In Cruising (soundtrack). Lorimar, 1980. [no orientation mentioned]

Lehrer, Tom. "The Masochism Tango." An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. Warner Brothers, 1959. [no orientation mentioned]

Midler, Bette. "My Knight in Black Leather." Thighs and Whispers. Atlantic, 1979. [no orientation mentioned]

Perversion for Profit. Produced by Charles Keating. Sponsored by Citizens for Decent Literature, Inc. Narrated by George Putnam. 1965. Film about the dangers of pornography, which the narrator says encourages homosexuality, lesbianism, sadism, and masochism. In the middle portion of the film, examples are shown of male physique magazines where early gay leather art was published as well as gay and heterosexual SM drawings and photographs. [G and H, with brief references to L]


Brown, Howard. "Homosexuals in Small Towns." Familiar Faces, Hidden Lives: The Story of Homosexual Men in America Today. New York: Harcourt, 1976. 88-107. [G]

Brumm, D., editor. Iowa State University/Ames Gay History. A documentary record of gay student life in the Midwest during the seventies. Includes personal recollections by the editor. [G]

Fierstein, Harvey. Torch Song Trilogy. New York: Villard Books, 1983. (Play.) [G]

"Music from The AIDS Show: Artists Involved with Death and Survival (1984) and Unfinished Business: The New AIDS Show (1985)." Automatic Pilate. Online recordings from two musicals produced by the gay community in San Francisco. [G]

White, Edmund. States of Desire. New York: Dutton, 1980. Includes brief mentions of SM and a chapter on Midwestern gay men. [G]


Gottlieb, David I. "Variations on a Theme S&M, B&D, and Other Aberrations." The Gay Tapes: A Candid Discussion About Male Homosexuality. New York: Stein & Day, 1977. 69-79. [G]

Jensen, Gordon D. "Sexual Variations: Sadist." Youth and Sex: Pleasure and Responsibility. 2nd edition. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1979. 152-54. A book for teenagers. [No orientation mentioned.]

Langevin, Ron. "Sadism and Masochism." Sexual Strands: Understanding and Treating Sexual Anomalies in Men. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1983. 427-49. [H]

Schad-Somers, Susanne P. Sadomasochism: Etiology and Treatment. New York: Human Sciences Press, 1982. [G, H]

Tollison, C. David and Henry E. Adams. "Sadism, Masochism, and Rape." Sexual Disorders: Treatment, Theory, and Research. New York: Gardner Press, 1979. 286-324. [H]

Historical Studies


Antoniou, Laura. "Still Unsafe At Any Speed But Making Good Time." The Marketplace (February 27, 2005). [G, H, L]

Johnson, Viola. "Leather History." Viola Johnson. On the importance of preserving leather history. [G, L]

. "Leatherfolk of Color History." Viola Johnson. On the importance of preserving the history of leathermen and women of color. [G, L]

Ridinger, Rob. "Woven Lives: The History of Leather Households." Masters And slaves Together (May 16, 2005). A discussion of the difficulties of "documenting the past of the variously patterned households and family structures constructed by men serving in the roles of masters and the leathermen drawn to both them and their vision." With tips to households on how to preserve their history. [G]


Andriette, Bill. Leather Scene in the USA & Canada. The Guide (September 2004). Includes passages on the history of leather in ancient times, in the 1930s, and from the 1950s onwards. [G]

Another Time: Hypermasculine, Homoerotic & Sleazy Images 1974-1989. Images from a private collection of leather ephemera. [G]

Attias, Ben. "'Police Free Gay Slaves': Some Juridico-Legal Consequences of the Discursive Distinctions Between the Sexualities" (1995). Home Page of Dr. Bernardo Attias. [G]

Aubrey's Playroom. Archives for an online leather/BDSM talk show. Leather history is covered in a number of shows, particularly during the first season. [G, H, L]

Baldwin, Guy. "The Old Guard: Classical Leather Culture Revisited." International Leatherman 20, 26-31. [G]

. "Radsex Rising Tide Turbo Pervo." An essay on the Old Guard. Includes the author's memories of the Rocky Mountainers Motorcycle Club in 1965. [G]

. Ties That Bind: The SM/Leather/Fetish Erotic Style Issues, Commentaries and Advice. Edited by Joseph Bean. Los Angeles: Daedalus, 1993. [G]

Bean, Joseph W. International Mr. Leather: 25 Years of Champions. Nazca Plains Corporation, 2004. Excerpts and sample photographs are online. [G]

. "Leathersex Past." Leathersex Q&A: Questions About Leathersex and the Leather Lifestyles Answered. San Francisco: Daedalus, 1996. 199-215. See also 76-79. Excerpts with a search engine are online. [G]

. "Where Did the Leathermen Come From?" Leathersex: A Guide for the Curious Outsider and the Serious Player. Los Angeles: Daedalus, 1994. Excerpts with a search engine are online. 191-96. [G]

Berlinger, Cain. Black Men in Leather. Self-published, 1999; reprinted, 2006. (Table of contents. Also available through KinkyBooks (with review) and available through Amazon.) [G]

Brodsy, Joel I. "The Mineshaft: A Retrospective Ethnography." Journal of Homosexuality. 24 (1994), 233-51. [G]

Bienvenu, Robert V., II. "The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States." Dissertation, Indiana University, 1998. American Fetish. [G and H, with some L]

Califia, Pat, and Robin Sweeney. The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader. Los Angeles: Alyson, 1996. [L]

Clark, W. Charles. "Stonewall and the S/M-Leather Lifestyle." Checkmate 13 (November 1995), 12-13; 14 (February 1996), 8-9, 19; 15 (May 1996), 8-9, 18; 16 (August 1996), 8-9, 21; 17 (November 1996), 8-9, 22; 18 (date?), 8-9. Memoir of a leatherman, from the 1950s onward. [G]

Colors of Leather. A very large site of images related to gay, lesbian, and heterosexual magazines, clubs, bars, and leather history. See also the e-mail list Colors of Leather. [G, H, L]

Dombutch. "A Little History." Dombutch's Corner of the World. Memoir of a leatherwoman who was mentored in the mid-seventies by a leatherwoman who entered the scene in the 1960s. [L]

Espacio Leather. A Spanish site with a number of articles on leather history, including information on historical events in Europe. In Spanish. The page devoted to SM/leather literature is available in English. [G, H, L]

Fifeld, Bob, editor. "Back in My Day . . . : Some Experienced Leathermen Remember How It All Began for Them." International Leatherman 13 (May July 1997), 19-23. [G]

Fish. "History is Just Good Gossip: Fifteen Years of Dykes Doing SM." Brat Attack 4 (1993). [L]

Fledermaus (pseudonym for Tony DeBlase). "The Mineshaft 1976-1985." DungeonMaster 30 (January 1986), 14-15. [G]

"History of Black BDSM." Dark Connections. [G, H, L]

Johnson, Matthew D. "Leather Culture" (2004). glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Edited by Claude J. Summers. [G]

Keehnen, Owen. "Owen Keehnen Interviews." Queer Cultural Center. Interviews with a number of gay authors, several of whom wrote leather literature; see especially Keehnen's interview with Jack Fritscher on Mapplethorpe. (If you don't see the links to the interviews in the margin, highlight the page by pressing Control-A.) [G]

Leather Archives & Museum. [G]

Leather History. An e-mail list. Especially good for anecdotal, personal histories. [G, H, L]

Lei and Mark. Cuirmale Gay Leather Fetish History. A history of gay leather in the U.S. and Europe, especially in England and the Netherlands. Covers the topics of bars, clubs, magazines, and clothing. Includes visitors' personal recollections of leather life from the 1940s to the early 1970s. [G]

Len, Master. "The End of Master/slave Contracts." Checkmate 21 (December 1997), 8-10, 21. An account of customs that began in a Virginia leather community in the 1950s; illustrated with period photographs. [G]

LordSaber's BDSM History Page. Links to a number of articles on the history of gay leather. I have not listed separately most of the articles linked at LordSaber's site. [Mainly G, with some H and L]

Murray, Stephen O. "After Gay Liberation: S&M and Gender Uniformity?" American Gay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. 80-98. Includes some historical material. [G]

Murray, Thomas E. And Thomas R. Murrell. The Language of Sadomasochism: A Glossary and Linguistic Analysis. New York: Greenwood, 1989. [G, H, L]

Nashak, Robert. "Sadomasochistic Literature" (2002). glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Edited by Claude J. Summers. [G, L]

Norwood, Jim. "5 Years Later: A Preliminary Examination of Sexual Behavioral Changes in San Francisco's S/M Community Five Years after the Onset of AIDS." Growing Pains (newsletter of the Society of Janus), May 1986, 15-18. [G]

"A Question About Leather History" (2002-3). An online discussion about leatherdyke history, with many personal reminiscences from 1968 onwards. (Two pages.) [Mainly L, with some G and H]

Ricardo, Jack, editor. Leathermen Speak Out: An Anthology on Leathersex. San Francisco: Leyland, 1991. [G]

. Leathermen Speak Out: Volume Two An Anthology on Leathersex.San Francisco: Leyland, 1993. [G]

Rubin, Gayle S. This major leather historian's writings are listed on the San Francisco page at this site. Follow the above link. [G, L]

"SCENEprofiles Interviews with BDSM Personalities." Sensuous Sadie's Domain. [G, H, L]

Sonnenfield, Daniel. "Leather Titleholders" (1998). Daniel Sonnenfield's WWW Playground. An incomplete list of international and San Francisco titleholders, dating back to 1979. [G, L]

Steward, Samuel M. Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos: A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors, and Street-Corner Punks 1950-1965. New York: Haworth Press, 1990. Several passages discuss sadomasochism as a motive for being tattooed. [G]

Thompson, Bill. Sadomasochism: Painful Perversion or Pleasurable Play? New York: Cassell, 1994. Includes some historical material. [G, H]

Thompson, Mark. Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow to Self. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997. A memoir with a passage on leather life in the 1970s. [G]

, editor. Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice. 2nd edition. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2001. Includes memoirs from the 1940s onwards. The introduction and preface are available online. [G, L]

Woods, William J., and Diane Binson. Gay Bathhouses and Public Health Policy. Harrington Park Press, 2003. Reprinted from the Journal of Homosexuality, Volume 44, Numbers 3/4. Among the articles are a history of gay bathhouses and information on the closing of San Francisco bathhouses (including leather bathhouses) in the mid-eighties.


Bienvenu, Robert V, II. "Sadomasochism and Fetishism Subject Bibliography: Scholarly References" (2000). American Fetish. [G and H, with some L]

Datenschlag. (Timeline and bibliography.) [G, H, L]

DeBlase, Tony. "Leather History Timeline" (1999). Leather Archives & Museum. [G]

"An Extremely Unofficial Timeline of Dyke SM." Brat Attack 4 (1993).

Flood, Michael. "Sadomasochism" (1992, 2004). The Men's Bibliography: A Comprehensive Bibiliography of Writing on Men, Masculinities, Gender, and Sexualities. 13th edition. In addition to the section on sadomasochism, the full bibliography covers many gender issues related to leather. [G, H, L]

Griffin, Don. "D/S and S/M: An Annotated Bibliography." Prometheus 13 (1981), 18-19. [G, H, L]

"Historical Timeline: Woman to Woman SM." WALP: Women's SM Leather Conference, Amsterdam. [L]

"Leather Dissertations." Penitential Arts: Everything Else You Wanted to Know About Leather and BDSM. [G, H, L]

"Mecca Then: The Freedom and the Frenzy San Francisco in the 1970s." International Leatherman 10 (November December 1996), 12-16. (Timeline.) [Mainly G, with some H and L]

"S/M Bibliography: Leo's Less Than Lurid Lists." Prometheus 10 (1978), 44-45. [G, H, and no orientation mentioned]

stein, david. "History of Our Leather-S/M-Fetish Community: Towards a Bibliography" (1998). BDSM: Debunking the Myths. [Mainly G, with some H and L]


Hunter, Adrian, and Chelsea Shephard. "The Bondage Jukebox (BDSM Music)." [H or no orientation mentioned]

Rubin, Gayle. "Music from a Bygone Era." Cuir Underground 3 (1997). Discusses music at a San Francisco fisting club. [no orientation mentioned; the club was for G, H, and L]

"Sadomasochism in Cinema." [Mainly H, with some G]


Andriote, John-Manuel. Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1999. [G, L?]

Chauncey, George. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books, 1994. Includes information on gender attitudes among gay men. [G]

The History of Gay Bathhouses. Includes information on bathhouses that attracted leathermen. [G]

Rutledge, Leigh W. Gay Decades: From Stonewall to the Present The People and Events That Shaped Gay Lives. New York: Plume (Penguin), 1992. [G, L]

Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987. [G, with some H and L]

Modern Studies


Altine, Kenn. "Farm to Market: Leather Bars of the Midwest." International Leatherman 19 (June July 1998), 11-12. [G]

"APEX/Butchmanns Protocol for Slaves" (1998). Arizona Power Exchange Academy. [Developed for G, but also used with H and L]

"Blacks/People of Color in BDSM" (2001-4). A Website devoted to resources on this topic, including historical resources. [G, H, L]

Van Lieshout, Maurice. "Leather Nights in the Woods: Locating Male Homosexuality and Sadomasochism in a Dutch Highway Rest Area." Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance. Edited by Gordon Brent Ingram, Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter. Seattle: Bay Press, 1997. 339-356. A description of leathermen's cruising techniques in a public place. [G]


Preston, John. Winter's Light: Reflections of a Yankee Queer. Edited by Michael Lowenthal. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1995. Includes essays on gay life in small communities. [G]


Rathbone, June. Anatomy of Masochism. New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, 2001. [G, H]

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For research questions concerning leather magazines and newsletters, you should contact the Leather Archives & Museum. Comments, corrections, and questions about this site may be sent to Dusk Peterson.

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