TABLE OF CONTENTS
In 1989 the Knights of Leather, the Atons of Minneapolis, and the Black Guard jointly produced the first Minnesota Leather Encounter weekend with the intention of bringing leather men and women together to compete in Mr. and Ms. Minnesota Leather. While 1989 was technically the inaugural year of the competition, there were no entrants for the title of Ms. Minnesota Leather. In October of 1990 PJ Knight was crowned Ms. Minnesota Leather 1991, making her the first Ms. Minnesota Leather.
The competition continued to be plagued by spotty entry for the remainder of the decade as evidenced by the lack of titleholders in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, and 2000. This dearth of contestants can perhaps be attributed to the infighting that beset the Minnesota women’s leather community in the early 1990s. For three years, from 1989 through 1991, Mr. and Ms. Minnesota Leather were jointly produced by the previously mentioned leather clubs. However, in 1991 members of the Knights of Leather were publicly accused of misappropriating Minnesota Leather Encounter funds. While these accusations were later determined to be fictitious, the damage was done and the competitions were produced separately from 1991 onward.
Taking over the production of Ms. Minnesota Leather was Lori Schreiber (aka Heartless) founder and CEO of Women In Leather Loving Other Women (WILLOW) Productions. Throughout its tenure, Ms. Minnesota Leather was held at a variety of locations in and around Minneapolis including: Club Metro, Gay 90s, the Minnesota Bar and Grill and the Bell Auditorium at the University of Minnesota.
While Ms. Minnesota Leather was produced throughout the 1990s, these records are almost exclusively from 1998; more specifically from the production of the 1998 competition. Because of the limited scope and purview of the records the administrative structure of the organization is unclear. What is known is that sometime in the early 1990s Deb Sullivan assumed the position of president of the organization and, in 1998, was succeeded by her partner, Renee Indehar. During that same year, Ms. Minnesota Leather became fully incorporated and successfully attained 501c3 non-profit status. Concurrently with the incorporation, Lori Schreiber and WILLOW Productions formally resigned and turned production rights over to Renee Indehar and Ms. Minnesota Leather, Inc. Additionally, the records contain an undated contact list of Board Members named here: PJ Knight, Vicki King, Heartless, Rebecca Davis, Rose Arcand, Diane Marshall, Anna (aka Bablon), and Deb and Renee who are listed jointly.
Several documents in the records express gratitude to Renee Indehar for reviving the competition after a year-long period of dormancy. This dormancy came on the heels of the 1997 Ms. Minnesota Leather abdicating the title and the first runner up being too ill to attend IMsL. Amazon was crowned Ms. Minnesota Leather 1997 but began transitioning to live his life as Nick and thus did not feel comfortable competing in IMsL. The first runner up, Aalan Cameron, assumed the title but was in poor health and could not travel to IMsL. However, despite Indehar’s hard work it does not appear that Ms. Minnesota Leather produced any titleholders after 1999 when Mario took home the sash. Initially the competition to determine Ms. Minnesota Leather 2000 was slated for September of 1999, but due to scheduling conflicts with other local and national events Indehar announced that the competition would be rescheduled, but it never was.
The third series in these records is devoted to affiliate organizations demonstrating the intersecting network that Ms. Minnesota Leather was plugged into. One of the more interesting and confusing aspects of these affiliate organizations is Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather. Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather held its inaugural competition in December of 1998, just two months after Ms. Minnesota held its 1998 competition. Ms. Minnesota Olympus of Leather was produced by Alan Stangler of Back in Black Leather Productions and has no direct relation with Ms. Minnesota Leather.
Restrictions on Access
Several folders contain extensive personal information including full names, addresses, and phone numbers. Specifically, folders labeled ‘contestant information’ and ‘important contacts’ should be approached with a high level of professional ethics. Additionally, the judges folder contains scores and comments specific to the 1998 contestants so access should be assessed on a case by case basis.
Published magazines, newspapers, folders, envelopes, pins, and various duplicates were removed. Any labels on folders or envelopes were photocopied and retained. Metal fasterners such as staples and paperclips were removed for preservation purposes.