TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Restrictions

Related Material

Administrative Information

Bibliography

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: The Tarheel Leather Club

Series 2: Regional and Political Involvement

Finding Aid to the Bill Costomiris Papers on the Tarheel Leather Club



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Leather Archives & Museum
6418 N Greenview Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
773.761.9200
Creator: Bill Costomiris
Title: Bill Costomiris Papers on the Tarheel Leather Club
Dates: 1985-1999
Bulk Dates: 1990-1994
Quantity: 1.5 archival boxes, or 0.6 linear feet
Identification: PERS0029
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Bill Costomiris was a founding member of the Tarheel Leather Club, based in Greensboro, NC, and started in 1990. Bill was also involved in the founding of the Carolina Caucus, a predecessor to the Southeast Conference of Clubs. He was an activist both nationally and locally, with the Beat Jesse campaign, National Leather Association, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Leather contingent for the 1993 March on Washington. Additionally, he was an Leather Archives & Museum Board of Directors Member circa 1991-1996. Bill, as evident by his papers, seemed to be most actively involved in TLC 1990-1994, though we know that he was involved in the Leather community as late as 2011 at the Ft. Lauderdale Leather Pride.

The Tarheel Leather Club (TLC), founded on April 1, 1990, was the first Leather club to become active in national politics with their Beat Jesse campaign against the reelection of Jesse Helms. TLC is the subject of a documentary, TLC: Year with a Club, produced by Randy A. Riddle. TLC is still an active organization and has an annual run, called “Stars ‘n Stripes,” which the beginning stages of are partially documented in this collection. TLC was a member of the Carolina Caucus. The Carolina Caucus was founded in 1990 and had member groups from North and South Carolina; it was a predecessor to the Southeast Conference of Clubs.

As part of his activism, Bill had a friendship and political working relationship with Susie Shepherd, who was International Ms. Leather 1989 and a well-known gay and lesbian political activist based in Portland, Oregon. Bill was also involved in the founding of the Leather Contingent of the NGLTF in 1991. The Leather Contingent emerged from the Living in Leather 6 conference in Chicago and was founded at the NGLTF’s 1991 Creating Change conference to participate in the 1993 March on Washington. The ’93 March was the third of its kind, after the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and the 1987 March on Washington, in support of political and social inclusion of gays and lesbians. The planning process for the march is partially documented in Bill’s papers and heavily features Indian-American Lesbian and LGBT activist, Urvashi Vaid, who was the Executive Director of the NGLTF during the time period surrounding the ’93 March.

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Scope and Contents

The Bill Costomiris Papers on the Tarheel Leather Club contain 2 archival boxes. The collection is comprised of correspondences, newsletters, and club documents such as minutes and budgets related to the Tarheel Leather Club; bylaws, meeting documents, and notes related to other Leather organizations that were found in the collection and offer context to the creation of the TLC and the broader Leather community in the Southeastern United States; political campaign material related to North Carolina gay rights activism and Bill’s relationship with Susie Shepherd; and letters, planning documents, and news media related to the founding of the NGLTF Leather Contingent and the 1993 March on Washington.

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Restrictions

None

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Related Material

Related Materials at the Leather Archives & Museum

  • TLC: Year with a Leather Club. Films collection.
  • TLC: Year with a Leather Club, Camera Tapes. Interview with Bill on Tape 15. Films collection.
  • Tarheel Leather Club. Vertical files.
  • Shepherd, Susie M. Vertical files.
  • March on Washington. Vertical files.
  • Southeast Conference of Clubs. Vertical files.

Removed Materials

Stars ‘N Stripes 1991 Poster removed and transferred to Leather Archives & Museum poster collection

The following were removed as duplicates:

  • Tar and Feathers Expence Report March 8, 1992
  • TLC Special Account August 12, 1992
  • TLC budget document August 15, 1992
  • TLC budget document February 1, 1992
  • TLC Donations for Kids with HIV proceeds
  • TLC Executive Committee (EC) Minutes May 7, 1995
  • TLC Meeting minutes April 22 (year unknown)
  • TLC EC Minutes November 6, 1991
  • TLC Treasurers Report September 1, 1991
  • TLC Meeting Minutes October 20, 1990
  • TLC Meeting Minutes September 15, 1990
  • TLC EC Minutes July 11, 1993
  • TLC budget document March 8, 1992
  • “Why vote for Jesse Helms? He doesn’t vote for you” brochure 1990
  • TLC Tar and Feathers Newsletter
  • Vol 1, Issues 3, 5
  • Vol 2, Issues 1-9, 11
  • Vol 3, Issue 4
  • Stars and Stripes 8 invitation
  • TLC Calendar March 1994
  • Stars and Stripes notes sheet from program
  • Copies of inaugural issue of SSC newsletter for the March on Washington

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Administrative Information

Processing Information

Records were in one Stor-All box before processing. All metal paper clips and staples were removed. The material was very loosely organized and some of that organization is reflected in the series and sub-series organization. Approximately 50% of the material was grouped in folders and 50% was loose. The processor has therefore artificially arranged the collection based upon the loose groupings that emerged from exploration of the box. The processor organized material according to two subjects: material directly related to Bill’s involvement in the TLC (Series 1) and material related to Bill’s involvement outside of the TLC (Series 2). Folders with writing on them were photocopied and placed in the front of corresponding final folders. Documents of a variety of subjects were often interspersed, therefore original order has not been maintained. Duplicates were removed and deaccessioned. A run poster was also removed. Any duplicates containing personal or financial information were shredded.

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Bibliography

Tarheel Leather Club Website
Ft. Lauderdale Leather Pride 2011
TLC: Year with a Leather Club
The 20th Anniversary of the 1993 March on Washington
March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation
NGLTF History

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: The Tarheel Leather Club
This series includes records related to Bill Costomiris's involvement in the Tarheel Leather Club. The material is broken up into five sub-series: correspondences, club documents, meeting documents, newsletters, and event material. Sub-series 1.1 - Correspondences, is one folder and contains club correspondences such as letters and event calendars that would have been received in the mail by Bill. Sub-series 1.2 - Club documents, contains two folders. Folder 1 contains the proposed bylaws of TLC and the bylaws of other Leather clubs (Vanguard MC, Menamore L/L, Panthers L/L) that would have served as historical context for the creation of the original TLC bylaws. Folder 2 contains bylaws, amendments and proposals to the bylaws, and club policies and procedures. Sub-series 1.3 - Meeting documents, is two folders and contains minutes, budget reports, and other documents related to the TLC meetings. Sub-series 1.4 - Newsletters, is two folders and contains copies of the Tar and Feather Newsletter. Sub-series 1.5 - Events, is one folder and contains documents related to the planning of the 1991 Stars and Stripes (TLC's annual run) and advertising material related to other iterations Stars and Stripes. If applicable, photocopies of the original envelopes and/or folders with labels have been placed inside folders.
Series 2: Regional and Political Involvement
This series includes records related to Bill Costomiris's involvement in regional Leather organizations as well as regional and national political campaigns. It is broken up into four sub-series: the Capitol Club and Carolina Caucus; event invitations and Cain Berlinger's questionnaire; politics and Susie Shepherd; and the 1993 March on Washington. Sub-series 2.1 - Capitol Club and Carolina Caucus, is one folder and contains material related to the Capital City Leather Club in Raleigh and the creation of the Carolina Caucus, including meeting notes, minutes, and agendas. Sub-series 2.2, event invitations and Cain Berlinger's questionnaire, is one folder and contains invitations to Leather events and a questionnaire related to Cain Berlinger's work called "Black Men: White Leather." Sub-series 2.3, politics and Susie Shepherd, is two folders. Folder 1 contains campaign material related to Beat Jesse and NC Vote 90, both of which intended to remove anti-gay conservative politician, Jesse Helms, from office. This folder also contains correspondences from Susie Shepherd, International Ms. Leather 1989, in support of these campaigns. Folder 2 contains early 90s political material related to Susie Shepherd. Sub-series 2.4, the 1993 March on Washington, is five folders. Folder 1 contains letters from Bill on the creation of the NGLTF Leather contingent and an agenda from Living in Leather 6, from which the creation of the contingent was spearheaded. Folder 2 contains planning documents for the 1993 March on Washington. Folder 3 contains letters to the organizers of the '93 March, most addressed to Urvashi Vaid. Folder 4 contains press releases from and media coverage of the '93 March planning process. Folder 5 contains documents related to other gay political campaigns of the time that was found in the same folder as much of the March on Washington material. If applicable, photocopies of the original envelopes and/or folders with labels have been placed inside folders.