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The Oral History Project


The Oral History project involves the taping, transcribing, indexing and filing of interviews with long time participants or important individuals in the leather community. The transcribed histories form one of the most important information sources in the LA&M's collections. Identifying oral history subjects, arranging the interviews, typing them out and indexing them is an area where volunteers are always needed.


If you know someone who you think should have their oral history recorded for the LA&M or if you would like to volunteer to work with this project, please contact our staff.


Guidelines for performing an oral history can be found here

Fully Transcribed Interviews

Interview Synopses

Audio Interviews

Oral History Exhibit


The Leather Archives & Museum possess hundreds of oral history recordings, videos and transcripts which are available to researchers by contacting the LA&M. This online exhibit highlights the different types and formats held in our collections.   

Tony_DeBlase.pdf

Co-founder of the Leather Archives & Museum, creator of the Leather Pride Flag, publisher of Drummer magazine and countless other publications. Mentor, teacher and loved member of the community. In his interview, Tony talks about his early years in Chicago, working at the Field Museum as a Curator. He also talks about his involvement in the Chicago gay community, his time spent at the Gold Coast, his involvement with the Chicago Hellfire Club and their infamous Inferno run as well as his acquisition of Drummer magazine.

Fred J. Lincoln has starred in and directed hundreds of pornographic films, most with an S&M theme. Lincoln grew up in Hells Kitchen, Brooklyn, a tough Italian kid with a voracious sex drive at a very young age. He spent his early years drifting between New York and Miami, Florida, working odd jobs, gambling and meeting celebrities such as Lenny Bruce, Jerry Lewis and Jackie Gleason. It was during this time he decided to take acting classes so he could become an actor. He spent the next few years in New York, taking bit parts and establishing himself in a solid career as a stunt man. He became involved in a long-running play called “The Project”, in which people would write in their secret fantasies, which would then get acted out onstage. The play was adapted to a Broadway show called “Another Way To Love.” Soon after the play’s run ended, Lincoln received a call to audition for a “different kind of movie.” This began his career in pornography in the 70’s, which he compares to the silent film era, in that there were no rules and they were breaking new ground.

Fred_J_Lincoln.pdf

Tony DeBlase

Fred J. Lincoln

Video Interviews

Master Ces (pronounced Chess) started her Leather Journey in Philadelphia in 1969, participated the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. Participated in 1970's first Gay Liberation Day March held in New York City. October 14, 1979 she participated in the Lesbian and Gay Rights March on Washington. She has continued to fight for Gay rights for the last 43 years. She presents workshops and has also judged 2010 South Central Women in Leather Contest in Tulsa, South Central Community Bootblack 2005 Dallas TX and the Ms. Texas Leather 2011 contest in Dallas TX. Master Ces is a graphics designer and has designed for National Leather Association: International, National Leather Association: International Domestic Violence Project, Women in Leather International, Women's International Leather Fest.

This "Delicate, Trembling Flower of Submission" © is a NYC born and raised writer, actress, BDSM Educator and Executive Pervert.  She is extremely honored, humbled and proud to have served as International Ms. Leather 2010. She is also thrilled to have been named Ms. San Francisco Leather 2009 after that contest's decade long slumber.


Active in BDSM and the Leather Community since 1996, she speaks at Leather, BDSM and Kink events across the US,  Europe and Canada on many Leather and BDSM focused topics.

Master Ces

Mollena Williams

etienne.mp3

Dom Orejudos “Etienne”

Domingo Orejudos, Dom, is known for artwork depicting the male body in all of its leather straining heroic proportions—creating fantasies of domination and submission that most leather men try to remember and remember and definitely can’t forget. Dom’s personal and business partnership with Chuck Renslow influenced leather history through establishment of Kris Studios, the Gold Coast Bar, Man’s Country, and International Mr. Leather. Dom was also an acclaimed ballet dancer and choreographer, Emmy Award Winner, and writer and illustrator of s/m story books that have cum stains all over them. Sorry for being graphic, but that’s part of what Dom was all about. He was up for it all, he lived the leather life, and through his art—under the names of Etienne and Stephen—he took it to another level. Born in Chicago on July 1st, 1933, of Italian and Philippine ancestry. Family name pronounced “Orjudos.” A world traveler, Dom was stricken with pneumonia while traveling in a 1987 delegation to China and Tibet. After a long battle with AIDS, he died at his home in Boulder, Colorado, in 1991 at the age of 58.

Dominatrix that gives from the heart and leads with passion, she also expects her subjects to offer no less! She is an ordained interfaith minister, business woman, world traveler and intelligent FEMDOM, with a sexy kinky bent. Her Life experiences and well-choreographed quest for knowledge includes continuing her studies to gain her PHD in Spiritual Applied Sciences in Metaphysics, her understudy was Business & Finance. Mistress C considers herself a spiritually well balanced person who enjoys an “alternative lifestyle” and feels that educating others about her path discoveries, in some way can "assist in creating a more tolerant world" She holds the Top position as Lady of the Court for the Femdomme Society and lives the lifestyle 24/7. Mistress C. produces several events such as the FWG, Femdom Wrestling & Grappling; MadProductionsX erotica wrestling teams, Educator & Presenter for EXXXOTICA Expo Seminars; organizer and producer of the "Dungeon Experience" & also produces the AEE/AVN's LAIR Dungeon. (2013) she also is a published author with monthly articles in Southeast Social Life Magazine.

mistressc.mp3

Mistress C

Viola_Johnson.pdf

Viola Johnson

V. M. (Viola M.) Johnson (born 1950) is an American leatherwoman, activist, author and archivist who embarked on her journey in the leather and BDSM scenes in the early 1970s. A strong advocate for the necessity of preserving leather/fetish/erotic history, Johnson speaks and writes on the broad spectrum of issues that concern her and her community. She has given the keynote address and/or presented at numerous events in the United States and Canada, including (but not limited to) Leather Leadership Conferences; Boys Training Camps; Beyond Vanilla; Black Beat; JustUs – Women and Kink; Master/slave Conference; Thunder in the Mountains; Dressing For Pleasure; Black Rose; Masters and slaves Together; Living in Leather, National Leather Association International; Lesbian Sex Mafia; WULF; Menamore LLC; and New York Women of Color.


Johnson has served as head judge or judge for Ms. World Leather, and many other contests across North America. She has also given academic lectures at Newark State College (now Kean University), Orange Coast College, Bard College, Bryn Mawr College, Barnard College, and Oklahoma State University. As an archivist,and past board member of The Leather Archives and Museum, Johnson has amassed a collection of more than 9,000 pieces of erotic fiction, non-fiction, periodicals, club histories, ephemera and travels with the Carter/Johnson Collection to events across the country.

Fireside Chat Program

Chuck Renslow

A synopses is a partially transcribed interview where the transcriber takes key elements from an interview; dates, people, places and other key words to create a summary of the interview until a full transcription can be done.

Most of our interviews come to use in a raw format usually a cassette tape or CD recording. Because of the sheer volume of interviews that are donated on a regular basis, the recordings are summarized as described below and then later transcribed into full Oral Histories. Many of the recordings we have have been digitized for preservation purposes and it’s always most exciting to hear the actual interview of the subject in his or her own voice.

The Fireside Chat program under the direction of LA&M volunteer Doug O’Keeffe is an exciting new way that we receive Oral Histories. Usually involving audience participation and usually involves the subject to be put on the “hot seat”, the Fireside Chat program gives a unique prospective to the interview process. Interviews are usually video recorded and eventually transcribed by volunteers of the LA&M.

Chuck_Renslow_FSChat.pdf

Chuck Renslow is interviewed before a live studio audience as the second of an ongoing "Inside Leather History," a Fireside chat series produced by the Leather Archives and Museum and the Leather Archives Museum Roadshow. In this interview, Mr. Renslow discusses his family, his relationship with Dom Orejudos, the history of the Gold Coast and other leather bars around the city of Chicago politics, and how he built and created the Leather Archives and Museum. At the end of the interview the audience has a Q&A with Mr. Renslow. The interview is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Many of the most recent interviews have been done on video mainly as part of the Women’s Leather History Project. Video gives us more insight into the subject through facial expressions and environment. Clips of video interviews are usually published to the LA&M’s You Tube channel.

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