TOPMAN ¶ Online Writings by and about John Preston

What's New

MAY 2012

Links to Preston's college photos (from 1964 and 1968) have been added to the Photographs of Preston section.

Due to a number of computer crashes, I've lost some of my e-mail from the past few years. If any of you wrote to me concerning this site and received no answer, please do send me another e-mail.


An update has been made to John Preston in the News. This month's news: Preston is mentioned in an investigative report of Drummer author Tim Barrus. . . . A new edition of Franny includes a Preston interview, essays, and reviews from Drummer. . . . More of the Master series has been reprinted.

The following material has been added to Topman's Timeline:

Preston's wedding engagement is announced in 1968. My thanks to Arthur Zilversmit for mentioning to me the news articles on this event.

Some new entries on Preston's college years, the original publication of I Once Had a Master, and his death have been added. The new and updated entries are marked [new].

The following has been added to the Online Writings by John Preston page:

Excerpt from Franny, the Queen of Provincetown (1983). By John Preston. The only leatherman in town seeks advice from an unlikely source. (The Website is marked for adults, but this particular passage has no adult material.) [True Tales]

The following has been added to the Tributes and Online Resources page:

References to John Preston at the glbtq Encyclopedia. Preston, John.

Wikipedia: John Preston. An encyclopedia entry.

Wipipedia: John Preston. An encyclopedia entry focussing on Preston's leather writings and leather life.

The following has been added to the Images and Recordings page:

A photo of John Preston with his cat (c. 1991).

JUNE 2005

A new page has been added to Topman: John Preston in the News. This month's news: I Once Had a Master has been reissued, and a new edition of Franny is planned.

The following donation has been made to the Preston Project:

Donated by Smutjunkies: Scans of Preston's essay "My Life as a Pornographer," as it appeared in the October 1993 issue of Inches (later reprinted in his book My Life as a Pornographer), and scans of Felice Picano's interview, "John Preston: The Right to Write," as it appeared in the May 1994 issue of Honcho (later reprinted in Looking for Mr. Preston, edited by Laura Antoniou).

The following has been added to the Black Berets page of the Cover Gallery.

Timo Palonen has passed on the information that the covers for the Finnish editions of the Black Berets series (a men's adventure series that Preston collaborated on) are available at Kioskikirjallisuus Pehmeät Kannet (Finnish Pulp Soft Covers) on the following two pages: Mustat Baretit and Action. Preston authored or co-authored all of the first thirteen volumes in this series except #3, #4, and #8.

The following has been added to the Tributes and Online Resources pages:

The Weekly News Author of the Year (1985). An award given to Preston by a Florida GLBT newspaper, as reported on January 10, 1985, by the Boston GLBT newspaper Bay Windows.

John Preston's Books Travel Through BookCrossing. (Some of the books listed here are by an English author of the same name.) BookCrossing is a quirky online community project whereby readers pass on books to other readers . . . sometimes by leaving the books in public places. The books have labels that direct new readers to the community's Website, where they're encouraged to post that they have received the books and to pass them on to others. Readers can post positive reviews and negative reviews.

References to John Preston at the glbtq Encyclopedia. AIDS Literature. Erotica and Pornography 1. Erotica and Pornography 2 (there are two separate references on this page). Literature: Humor. Sadomasochistic Literature.

APRIL 2005

The following material has been received by the Preston Project:

Received from the Graduate Theological Union Archives: Documents from the Roy Birchard Collection related to the Task Force on Gay People in the Church, which Preston belonged to in 1973-74. Entries related to the task force have been added to the Minneapolis and Philadelphia portions of Topman's Timeline, with permission of the Graduate Theological Union Archive and Roy Birchard. Mr. Birchard also supplied background information on the task force.

The following donation has been made to the Preston Project:

Donated by David Steinberg: Scans of a Norwegian translation of Preston's story "Champagne" from a 1986 issue of Cupido magazine.

The following has been added to the Images and Recordings page:

Stompers, New York City. By A. J. Epstein. (Site entrance page.) In 1978, Preston's first story for Drummer was about this combined boot shop and gay art gallery. In addition, Brick's illustrations for Mr. Benson were exhibited here.

The following has been added to the Tributes and Online Resources page:

Remembering John Preston. By Jack Rinella. See also Rinella's Welcome Back Mr. Benson and Leather Lit. 101. []

Le Coin des Célébrités: John Preston. In French. A biography. [Travail du Sexe]

Review of Gefahr im Verzug. In German. A review of one of Preston's Alex Kane books. (Caution: This page includes erotic images.) [Lust]

SM Books. In Japanese. A fan's list that includes short reviews of several of Preston's erotic fiction books, including a reaction to an Asian character in one of Preston's stories. (Caution: This page includes sexual descriptions.)

References to John Preston in Fiction. Quotations from novels and short fiction. (Caution: This page includes references to sexuality.) [Topman]

The following material has been added to Topman's Timeline:

Another ad for Mr. Benson tee-shirts, this one from DungeonMaster.

The following material has been added to Books by John Preston in Alternative Formats:

Two books by Preston, Friends and Lovers: Gay Men Write About the Families They Create and Member of the Family: Gay Men Write About Their Families, can be accessed through the GLBT Life database published by EBSCO.

In addition, GLBT Life indexes three periodicals that Preston regularly wrote for: The Advocate, Christopher Street, and Lambda Book Report. Please note that Preston wrote editorials for nearly every issue of The Advocate in 1975, but these may not have his byline in the database.

The database also contains articles about Preston.

GLBT Life is available through electronic catalogues at many university libraries and some public libraries. Some university libraries will allow anyone to use their electronic catalogues.

Other news: Preston's Hustling: A Gentleman's Guide to the Fine Art of Homosexual Prostitution is now available for the first time in alternative formats for the blind. See the link in this paragraph for information on how the Preston Project is working to see that all of John Preston's works are translated into alternative formats for the blind and other disabled people who cannot easily read standard print.

DECEMBER 29, 2004

In celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the initial release of Mr. Benson (which was serialized in Drummer magazine from 1979 to 1980), the cover of the 1980 book edition of Mr. Benson has been placed online. This edition was illustrated by Brick (who did most of the Drummer illustrations for the story), it was advertised, and orders were taken for it . . . but it was never published, because a series of printers refused to handle the job. Mr. Benson was eventually published in book form in 1983, without illustrations. You can see what the cover of Mr. Benson was originally intended to look like, along with covers of the American and foreign editions of many of Preston's other books, in this site's new cover gallery.

The cover gallery is part of a new "Images and Recordings" section that includes early advertisements for Mr. Benson and a thirty-second recording of Preston speaking on censorship.

More information has been offered on the photographs by Preston that were recently donated by Joseph W. Bean. One source says that they saw large prints of the photos at an art show in San Francisco, at either the Ambush or the San Francisco Eagle, or at both bars on different occasions. Another source (quoted by the first) says that Preston took the pictures on the set of Joe Gage's 1977 film, El Paso Wrecking Company.

The page on the Preston Project has been updated to suggest other ways in which you can help the project.

Topman has been re-arranged a bit. If you get lost, try the site map.

The following material has been added to Topman's Timeline (formerly the Eyewitness Timeline):

A second-hand account by Len Paoletti of Brick, the original illustrator for Mr. Benson. The article is off-site; skip down to the paragraph beginning "Stompers was a boot store". (Caution: The page includes erotic art.)

Another personal ad by Preston, this one from DungeonMaster.

A December 11, 1982, entry about an art show of Preston's leather photographs.

A brief account by Susie Bright of a conversation with Preston during his dying days.

In 2001, a fan visits the Preston Archive, to the entertainment of the librarians. (Off-site link.)

The dates of publication of Preston's books still a bit shaky at this point have been added to the timeline.

The following material has been added to Tributes and Online Resources (formerly located on the home page):

Winter's Light is named as one of 100 distinguished books on Maine (2000). Preston's collection of essays on New England life is #98 on the list. (Off-site link.)

Jesse Monteagudo list, 100 Lesbian and Gay Books That Changed Our Lives, which includes Mr. Benson and was previously summarized at this site, is now linked. (Off-site link.)

A new section has been added, devoted to information on Preston in foreign languages. At the moment, it links to two encyclopedia entries, one in Russian and one in Czech.

What's needed by the Preston Project:

In October, the editor of Topman discovered that two tapes of Preston speaking at OutWrite '93 were being sold. She ordered the tapes for herself, then announced the news of the tapes at this site.

In one of life's little ironies, there was a glitch in the ordering process, and by the time this glitch was sorted out, one of the tapes had sold out.

The Preston Project is therefore seeking copies of items about the OutWrite conferences (between 1990 and 1993) that are related in some way to John Preston: program schedules, news clippings, photographs, audio, video, etc.

DECEMBER 11, 2004 (the 59th anniversary of the birth of John Preston)

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the e-mail address for this site was inaccessible during part of November. If you tried to send an e-mail to this site during that time, please try again; I apologize for the inconvenience.

The following donations have been made to the Preston Project:

A remembrance from Arthur Zilversmit, history teacher at Preston's undergraduate college, Lake Forest.

A remembrance from Robert Halfhill, treasurer of FREE (Fight Repression of Erotic Expression), a student group Preston belonged to at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minneapolis.

A remembrance from Lars Eighner, fellow author.

Donated by the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota: A photocopy of the Articles of Incorporation of Gay Community Services, Incorporated, which was co-founded in Minneapolis by Preston. (See the August 28, 1972, entry in the Eyewitness Timeline for a description.)

Donated by the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago: A scan of a photograph of Preston at a Chicago leather gathering around 1980. The LA&M also donated scans of four publicity photos of Preston from the early eighties, which will be placed online at a later date if permission is received from the copyright owner for their reproduction.

Donated by Joseph W. Bean: Scans of two  photographs by Preston, probably taken in 1980. The pornographic photos show model Brad posing with a container of Lube lubricant. Another photograph in this sequence (without the container) appeared on the top of page 59 of Drummer #40, to illustrate Terrance Sagan's story "Sex Garage." (Photos not placed online because of content and rights.)

In addition, the following material has been added to the Eyewitness Timeline:

Two classified ads by Preston from Drummer in 1980-81.

The text of a 1980 advertisement for the "Looking for Mr. Benson" tee-shirts.

The dates during which Preston attended his undergraduate college have been more firmly established.

The following has been added to the main page:

Preston's signatures from 1972 and 1975.

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Creative Commons License: Some Rights ReservedThis text, or a variation on it, was originally published at as part of Topman: Online Writings by and about John Preston. Copyright © 2004-6, 2012 Dusk Peterson. Some rights reserved. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License ( You may freely print, post, e-mail, share, or otherwise distribute the text for noncommercial purposes, provided that you include this paragraph. The author's policies on derivative works and fan works are available online (