TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Related Material

Administrative Information

Detailed Description of the Collection

Tom Tippett Records on Empire City Motorcycle Club and Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club

Finding Aid to the Tom Tippett Records on Empire City Motorcycle Club and Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Leather Archives & Museum
6418 N. Greenview Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60626
www.leatherarchives.org
Creator: Tom Tippett
Title: Tom Tippett Records on Empire City Motorcycle Club (ECMC) and Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club (MC)
Dates: 1974-1997; Bulk dates 1982-1989
Quantity: 3 archival boxes, or 1.25 linear feet
Abstract:
Identification: PERS0024
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Thomas (Tom) S. Tippett was born in was an active member of the Empire City MC from 1982 to the early 1990’s. He was also an associate member of Thunderbolts MC of Connecticut, and a full member of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Tom served as Road Captain of ECMC from 1982 to 1985. He worked as a stage manager for Maximillian Productions (Max and Peggy Traktman’s children’s theater in New York City) in the mid to late 1980’s on “Gabriel Ghost,” a musical produced and performed in 1988. His last known residence was New York City.

Empire City Motorcycle Club (ECMC), Inc. of New York City is a gay men’s motorcycle club. Empire City MC was founded by a group of twelve motorcycle riders in October 1964 and is one of the oldest ongoing gay riding organizations in the country, as well as a vital part of the gay community in the New York metropolitan area. Empire City MC hosts two major events: The first is the Bikers' Picnic, held annually since 1969 around Memorial Day, is open to all motorcycle operators and their buddy riders free of charge to the participants as Empire City's gift to its friends and supporters. The second is their Christmas party, an annual event since 1964, is designed to celebrate the joy of the holiday season and to share that joy in the form of a "Toys for Tots" drive. In addition to the annual events, Empire City has hosted the motorcycle run, “First Empire,” and many celebrations of the anniversary of the club, (namely the 25th, 30th, 35th, and 40th anniversaries) that include motorcycle tours of the Eastern seaboard and New York State. Currently, membership requirements for Empire City MC include ownership of a legally registered and insured motorcycle, possession of a valid drivers' license with appropriate motorcycle endorsement, no more than 25 members at one time, and two members in good standing to sponsor new pledges. Empire City MC is also a member of the Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council (AMCC), an interclub council of North Atlantic clubs that share commonality of interest and geography, motorcycling, and the leather-levi lifestyle. The AMCC acts as a forum of discussion among its member clubs, encourages participation in its sanctioned events, coordinates event dates to prevent conflicts of scheduling, and promotes the enjoyment of motorcycling and the leather-levi lifestyle and to foster the safety thereof. ECMC’s 50th anniversary is in August of 2014.

Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club (T-Bolts MC) was founded in Hartford Connecticut in 1971 and was an active gay motorcycle club until the early 1990’s, when the club informally dissolved. They hosted a number of runs and events, such as the Fall Foliage Ride, their Annual T-Bolts Run in June called “Cruising with the Thunderbolts,” and their annual Christmas party. The club published The Bolt magazine from 1973-1978. Their home bar was The Cedar Brook Café (1939-2010) in Westport, Connecticut. “The Brook” was the oldest continuously operated gay bar in the country until it closed its doors in 2010, after 71 years.

Sources:
Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council website
Callahan, Kiwi. “Where I Don't Belong, Episode 2: In a Motorcycle Club.” YouTube. YouTube, 10 October 2013. Web. 13 December 2013.
Cedar Brook Café. “Obituary,” Cedar Brook Café website. June 2010. Web. 28 December 2013.
“A Brief History of the Twilight Guard,” Twilight Guard website. March 2006. Web. 27 December 2013.

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Scope and Contents

The Tom Tippett Records on Empire City MC and Thunderbolts MC contains personal papers of Tom Tippett including correspondence, photographs, travel documents, financial records and receipts, and scripts from his work with Maximillian Productions. The collection also contains club membership and bylaws information, club correspondence, meeting minutes, event and run materials, ephemera, photographs, and financial records from Empire City Motorcycle Club of New York City and Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club of Connecticut. Additionally, this collection contains event flyers from many clubs and organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

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Arrangement

The series and subseries arrangement is as follows:
Series 1: Tom Tippett Personal Papers
Series 2: Empire City MC


Subseries 2.1: Correspondence
Subseries 2.2: Membership and Bylaws
Subseries 2.3: Meeting Minutes
Subseries 2.4: Financial and Administrative Records
Subseries 2.5: Ephemera


Series 3: Thunderbolts MC
Series 4: Subject Files

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Related Material

  • Jerry Leppek Papers, PERS0019, Archival Papers and Records Collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Oral History Interview with Frank Olson, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois (1994-06-27; Interviewed by Jack Rinella).

  • Oral History Interview with Bob Guenther, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois (2005-02-21; Interviewed by Rick Storer).

  • Robert Guenther Papers on REFLECTIONS On Being Gay, A Musical Revue, PERS0012, Archival Papers and Records Collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Wheels! Newsletter of the Cycle MC, Magazine Collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

  • The Bolt magazine, Magazine Collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Thunderbolts MC, Inc., Vertical File Collection, Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Zieher, Scott. Band of bikers. Brooklyn, N.Y.: PowerHouse Books, 2010. Print. Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago, Illinois.

Removed Material

The processor removed 8 white envelopes (blank), three folders with pronged clasps, and blank paper from the Tippett Records on ECMC and T-Bolts.

A “Falcon Flight ’85” poster was removed and integrated into the posters and artwork collection at the Leather Archives and Museum.

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Administrative Information

Processing Information

The processor removed staples, metal paper clips, and rubber bands for preservation purposes. Records were removed from their original folders, binders, and envelopes and placed into archival folders, boxes, albums, and/or storage containers. Records were removed from their original order and arranged by subject to assist with access. In most cases, the series and subseries have been arranged chronologically by the processor.

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Detailed Description of the Collection







Tom Tippett Records on Empire City Motorcycle Club and Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club
Series 1: Tom Tippett Personal Papers includes correspondence, club membership information, photographs, travel documents, financial records and receipts, and scripts from his work with Maximillian Productions.
Series 2: Empire City Motorcycle Club (ECMC) contains records created by the Empire City Motorcycle Club, ca. 1976-1996. The bulk records begin when Tom Tippett became a pledge (1982), throughout his active membership in the 1980’s until 1989. In addition to being a full member, Tom was also Road Captain in 1984, and coordinated the ECMC 20th anniversary ride. This series contains five subseries:
Subseries 2.1: Correspondence includes letters of inquiry, inter-club correspondence, holiday cards, thank you letters, run and event papers, and correspondence with other leather and motorcycle clubs (mostly from the East Coast and Canada) 1974-1989.
Subseries 2.2: Membership and Bylaws includes the ECMC constitution, bylaws, member rosters, and amendments from 1976-1989. Due to the personal information listed in the membership rosters, this subseries may have access restrictions.
Subseries 2.3: Meeting Minutes are arranged chronologically, and detail the club’s meeting structure, committees, event coordination, and general business from 1982-1989. All meeting minutes were removed from their original folders and arranged chronologically by year. Any labeled folders were photocopied and retained in their corresponding year.
Subseries 2.4: Financial and Administrative Records include invoices, receipts, letterhead, motorcycle formation sheets, ride schedule, and treasurer’s reports.
Subseries 2.5: Ephemera contains flyers, newspaper and magazine articles, pamphlets, and brochures of various subjects, including motorcycle safety, AIDS, and opera.
Series 3: Thunderbolts Motorcycle Club (T-Bolts MC)contains correspondence, membership rosters, the constitution and bylaws, meeting minutes, and event information and flyers from the Thunderbolts MC from 1973-1989.
Series 4: Subject Files contains motorcycle run, leather, and gay and lesbian event flyers hosted by various clubs and organizations. Each club/organization/event name is arranged alphabetically. Most flyers are from events on the East Coast of the United States and Canada. Event flyers and ephemera are included in previous subseries; however, these files were arranged by subject because they were not hosted by ECMC or T-Bolts MC, and the application and/or information section for an attendee to fill out were left blank. The processor included the city and state of the event and/or the club that hosted the event.