TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Related Material

Administrative Information

Detailed Description of the Collection

Introduction to the Mineshaft

Clubs founded and/or managed by Wally Wallace

Secondary Materials

Finding Aid to the Wally Wallace Papers



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Leather Archives and Museum, 6418 N Greenview Ave, Chicago, IL 60626
Creator: Wally Wallace
Title: Wally Wallace Papers
Dates: 1974 November - 1997 April 2
Quantity: 1 linear feet
Abstract:
Identification: PERS0008Full_DoNotPublish
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Walter (Wally) Wallace was the founder and manager of a number of leather clubs in New York City from the 1975 until 1996. Clubs that he founded include Excelsior MC (1975-present), the Mineshaft (December 1976- November 1985), the Attic (1986-1996), LURE (January 1994-April 2003), and 257 West 29th St. Storefront location (1997-?). The Mineshaft, was publicly shut down after “nine years and nine days” by the New York City Department of Health on November 6, 1985 among widespread fear that gay bathhouses were contributing to the spread of AIDS. It was the first closure of its kind in New York City and set the legal precedent that led to the closure of the Attic eleven years later. The Attic was closed at its 410 W 14th Street location on July 2, 1996 by the New York City Department of Health for permitting Acts of Fellatio on the premises. The closure of the Attic led to the opening of the Storefront location shortly thereafter.

Wally received BA in Speech and English from Drury College in Springfield, MO. He went on to study film production at the New York University School of Continuing Education. Wally worked as an actor on stage and television in Springfield, MO and New York City before founding his first leather club, Excelsior MC with Terry M., David T. and Rich D. in 1975. In late 1976, he founded the Mineshaft and for the next 20 years managed leather bars in New York City. Wally was very active in the gay leather community holding a number for benefits for the community. He was involved in putting on a number of contests including Interchain’s Mr. Leather, The Leather and Uniform Daddies Contest, Big Apple Leather Daddies Uniform Contest and Mr. Northeast Drummer. Wally Wallace also signed his name W. J. Wallace and received checks and letters addressed to him at Shaftway Productions. He died September 7, 1999.

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Scope and Contents

The collection includes approximately 1 linear foot (2 archival boxes) of records and 1 box of artifacts. The records focus primarily on two clubs managed by Wally Wallace, the Mineshaft and the Attic. These consist of newsletters, flyers, personal and business communications, newspaper clippings, certificates, photos, original drawings and documentation resulting from legal proceedings. Papers in the collection date from November 1974- April 1997. Newsletters concerning the activities of the Attic and news clippings concerning the closing of the Mineshaft are particularly thorough in their coverage. Folder 5 contains a letter to the SSCA Steering Committee from Tony DeBlase.

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Related Material

2002-00175 Mineshaft, black tank top with silver imprint, 2002-00176 Mineshaft, black t-shirt with white imprint, 2002-00177 Mineshaft, white t-shirt with black imprint, 2002-00910 Mineshaft NY pik Poster, 14 in. X 17.5 in., 2002-01032 Mineshaft NY Lift Poster, 12 in. X 19 in., 2002-01046 Mineshaft NY Drill Poster, 12 in. X 18.75 in., 2002-01147 Mineshaft IL Poster, 17 in. X 22 in., 2002-01153 Mineshaft NY pic Poster, 14 in. X 17.5 in., 2004-00050 Mineshaft Attender Photography Collection, approx. 176 photos of Mineshaft, bar contests, etc., 2005-00692 Mineshaft bar pin, 2005-01427 The Mineshaft Dress Code, 19 in. X 24 in. Poster, 2005-01651 Renslow, Chuck Interview (Full) (Missing Pages) mentions Mineshaft, Cardini, Leo. Mineshaft Nights. Teaneck, NJ: FirstHand Books, 1990, 407 Address sign for Wally’s Party, LURE Angles by Muriel Castanis, LURE collection includes articles and references to Wally Wallace’s death.

Separated Material

Mineshaft binder prepared by LA and M containing Photo Album, AIDS/legal documents, and “Back to the Leather Future: New York City” an unpublished short play First Tom of Finland Foundation Dispatch from Fall 1989 Limited Edition Print of Tom of Finland’s “Shoe,” 183 of 300 A Decade of S/M Pride published by Gay Male S/M Activists on the occasion of its Tenth Anniversary, March 8-9, 1991 with insert of Conference Events. VHS tape of 1996 Northeast Drummer Contest 4”X 12” leather and chain “Mineshaft” plaque. Lure logo temporary tattoo

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Administrative Information

Processing Information

Materials were donated in one box. Some items had been placed in labeled folders, however, not all folder contents matched their labels. Many materials were found loosely in the box without any system of organization. The processor has therefore artificially arranged the collection unless otherwise noted. The processor organized materials according to document type and/or topic. Within folders, materials have been arranged chronologically where possible with the exception of folders 16,17,18,23, 24, and 25 which are in their original order. In instances where the folder label accurately described its contents or the folder contained material related to a common topic, original order has been maintained.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Introduction to the Mineshaft
This series includes general information pertaining to the founding of the Mineshaft. Included are the certificate of incorporation, the original dress code sign, and materials stating the club's décor and purpose. Letters involving membership requirements and house rules are also included. There is also the photo and acting resume of Walter Wallace. Folder 3 contains material of unknown provenance that appears to have been sent by the Mineshaft to either a member or investor. These include newsletters duplicated later in Folder 4 but this group is noteworthy for including a photocopy of "In Memory" which incorrectly states that Wally died the week the Mineshaft closed implying that this notice was distributed.
1 1 Beginning of the Mineshaft
2 Membership information
3 Mineshaft materials received by investor/member
Clubs founded and/or managed by Wally Wallace
This series contains the materials related to the clubs Wally either founded or managed. Included are newsletters, flyers, posters, personal and business letters, newspaper clippings, legal documents, photos and certificates of appreciation. Newsletters offer a general overview of the operations of the club and its calendar of events. As an end result of members of law enforcement getting on the mailing lists for these newsletters, both clubs were eventually shut down.
In folder 5 and 6, letters are subdivided within the folders according to type of letter. Folder 8 demonstrates the wide publicity the shutting of the Mineshaft received in the general NYC press with a number of front-page articles. Folder 14 shows an increasing focus on documents relating to safe gay sex practices and demonstrates increasing pressure from the Department of Health on the Attic, many of which are in more complete form in Folder 15. Folders 16, 17, and 18 are in the original order in which the contents were found. Folder 16 contains related correspondence in the order in which it was found in folder originally entitled Loft. Relation to Loft is unclear. Folder 17 bares the identical title of the folder in which its contents were found. Folder 18 contains the complete contents of a folder originally labeled "pers mem" and includes a letter dated Aug 11, 1987 from a folder originally titled "Bar Proposal." Photos were neither named nor described by Wally Wallace.
1 4 Mineshaft Newsletters
5 Letters to the editor, business associates and concerning the board
6 Letters from attendees and personal letters
7 Mineshaft Posters and Flyers
8 Newspaper articles pertaining to the closing of Mineshaft
9 Legal documents and letters relating to the closing of Mineshaft
10 Photos
11 Newspaper articles pertaining to the closing of Mineshaft, 1 (originals)
12 Newspaper articles pertaining to the closing of Mineshaft, 2 (originals)
2 13 Attic, 1986-1994
14 Attic and Storefront, 1995 - 1996
15 Legal Documents pertaining to the closing of the Attic
16 Loft
17 Excelsior MC
18 Proposal for bar (pers mem)
19 Certificates of Appreciation
Secondary Materials
This series includes materials collected by Wally Wallace that are not directly related to the management of his clubs. This includes materials from clubs neither owned nor operated by Wally, both published and unpublished articles about the Mineshaft and Gay/Leather/Bathhouse culture, song lyrics, and a draft for a story. Folder 23 contains materials related to the theater in their original order as found in a folder entitled MS FRIENDS. Folder 24 bares the identical title of the folder in which its contents were found. Folder 25 is also in its original order from a folder entitled Domino.
2 20 Other Clubs
21 Articles about Gay/Leather/Bathhouse culture
22 Creative Writings
23 Theater materials (MS FRIENDS)
24 Whaley, George
25 Drawings by Domino