Leather Archives & Museum

Leather Archives & Museum Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) is a library, museum and archive located on the North Side of Chicago. Our mission is to make leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish accessible through research, preservation, education and community engagement.
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All sexual orientations and genders are included, and the scope is worldwide! The library houses twelve thousand books and fourteen thousand magazines, plus scholarly publications, films and electronic resources. As for the museum collection, it's full of original erotic art and artifacts from alternative sex organizations and individuals. The archives (viewable by appointment) contain unpublished papers and records from notable BDSM activists, artists, businesses and organizations.

Mission: Making leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish accessible through research, preservation, education and community engagement.

Operating as usual

John Caldera was titled the first Mr. International Bear. He has served on the board of SF Pride and was a Veterans Affa...
09/19/2020

John Caldera was titled the first Mr. International Bear. He has served on the board of SF Pride and was a Veterans Affairs Commissioner for SF. Photo from the Bill "The Hun" Schmeling collection at the @leatherarchives. #sfpride #leatherbears

Detail of a Clementine's poster from the @leatherarchives collections. Clementine's, founded in 1978 by Wally Thomas, wa...
09/18/2020

Detail of a Clementine's poster from the @leatherarchives collections. Clementine's, founded in 1978 by Wally Thomas, was St. Louis's oldest gay bar when it closed in September 2014. #lgbtstlouis #leatherbars

Quote from A Nice Boy From a Good Family by David May (2009). Photo by Jim Wigler in Drummer 60 (1983). #perversity #fet...
09/17/2020

Quote from A Nice Boy From a Good Family by David May (2009). Photo by Jim Wigler in Drummer 60 (1983). #perversity #fetish

[When recounting so much perversity, there is the obvious temptation to analyze. Perverts have learned, however, that while analysis can sometimes explain a sexual kink, it changes neither the need nor the desire for it. Most of us enjoy sex for a multitude of reasons, after all, not the least of which is fun. And with any fun activity, it is only natural that some people will cultivate the pleasure it provides. "Why" is a far less interesting pursuit than "how" or "what."]

Billy Jefferson (left), Seattle Mr. Leather 1986 and co-founder of the NLA, and Roland Bynum (right), Mr. Portland Leath...
09/17/2020

Billy Jefferson (left), Seattle Mr. Leather 1986 and co-founder of the NLA, and Roland Bynum (right), Mr. Portland Leather 1991. Photo from the Bill "The Hun" Schmeling collection at the @leatherarchives. #portlandleather #leathermen #seattleleather

Quote from How To Be Kinky: A Beginner's Guide to BDSM by Morpheous (2008). Photo by Del LaGrace Volcano from On Our Bac...
09/16/2020

Quote from How To Be Kinky: A Beginner's Guide to BDSM by Morpheous (2008). Photo by Del LaGrace Volcano from On Our Backs Mar/Apr 1989. #sexualrights #eroticmanifesto #bdsm

[You have the right to have your sexuality respected and not belitted, nor judged.

You have the right to have a safe space in which to explore your fantasies.

You have the right to physical, emotional and mental safety regarding your desires.

You have the right to say no.

You have the right to say yes.]

Quote from Maid to Order: Commercial S/M and Gender Power by Anne McClintock in Dirty Looks edited by Pamela Church Gibs...
09/16/2020

Quote from Maid to Order: Commercial S/M and Gender Power by Anne McClintock in Dirty Looks edited by Pamela Church Gibson and Roma Gibson (1993). Photo from Wicked Women Vol 4 No 3. #sexwork #prodom #sexontrial #sexworkiswork

[If the sex trial isolates 'deviant' sexual pleasure for punishment, commercial S/M is the dialectical twin of the trial, organising the punishment of sexual deviance for pleasure. If the sex trial redistributes illicit female money back into male circulation through fines, commercial S/M enacts the reverse, staging women's sexual work as having economic value, and insisting, strictly, on payment.]

Members of Vikings MC (founded 1969), Centaur MC (founded 1970), and Spartan MC (founded 1968), photographed at a club m...
09/15/2020

Members of Vikings MC (founded 1969), Centaur MC (founded 1970), and Spartan MC (founded 1968), photographed at a club meet in the 1970s. Photo donated by Jim Dunne to the @leatherarchives. #leatherclubs #leatherhistory #motorcycleclubs

Part of the Mineshaft events newsletter from ca 1983. The Mineshaft was closed by the New York City Department of Health...
09/14/2020

Part of the Mineshaft events newsletter from ca 1983. The Mineshaft was closed by the New York City Department of Health in 1985. #wetwednesday #leatherbars #nychistory #raunch

Quote from Bound to be Free: The SM Experience by Charles Moser and JJ Madeson (1996). Photo of Lady Ashley from Wicked ...
09/13/2020

Quote from Bound to be Free: The SM Experience by Charles Moser and JJ Madeson (1996). Photo of Lady Ashley from Wicked Women Vol 5 No 1. #attentioneconomy #bdsm

[SM is the only time I'm only paying attention to one thing.]

Really happy to see Alderman Andre Vasquez out in the neighborhood today. Thanks for stopping in to say hi!
09/13/2020

Really happy to see Alderman Andre Vasquez out in the neighborhood today. Thanks for stopping in to say hi!

Today is the last day for the 2020 Rummage Sale. Everything is half price until 3pm this afternoon! Leathers, porn, maga...
09/13/2020

Today is the last day for the 2020 Rummage Sale. Everything is half price until 3pm this afternoon! Leathers, porn, magazines, DVD's, VHS, dishware, posters and more!

Join us Sunday from 9am-3pm.....all rummage sale items are half price!
09/12/2020

Join us Sunday from 9am-3pm.....all rummage sale items are half price!

Quote from Why I Love Butch Women by Carol A Queen in Dagger: On Butch Women edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie and Linnea Du...
09/12/2020

Quote from Why I Love Butch Women by Carol A Queen in Dagger: On Butch Women edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie and Linnea Due (1994). Photo from Boot Lovers Digest 5 (1996). #visibledifference #radicalvisibility

[What is considered normal is so fenced off from the multitudes of realities that confront and beckon us with their rich differences. The rigid boundaries that define "normality" have left it cut off and arid. The question "Am I normal?" has thwarted more orgasms, more wet cunts, more stiff dicks than any other single impediment to erotic bliss. Is it any wonder that I should embrace and adore those "not-normal" ones, the one who wear on their sleeves their departure from the narrow, socially sanctioned path?]

The rummage sale is underway. Stop in and check out the great deals. Saturday until 5pm, Sunday 11-3.
09/12/2020

The rummage sale is underway. Stop in and check out the great deals. Saturday until 5pm, Sunday 11-3.

Poster advertising Rubber Blowout Weekend 2002 & Mr. International Rubber 2003 in the @leatherarchives collections. Rubb...
09/11/2020

Poster advertising Rubber Blowout Weekend 2002 & Mr. International Rubber 2003 in the @leatherarchives collections. Rubberwilli was titled MIR 2003 and became co-president of the contest. #rubbermen

Argos bar tattoo, photo from the Sailor Sid Diller collection at the @leatherarchives. The Argos opened in Amsterdam in ...
09/10/2020

Argos bar tattoo, photo from the Sailor Sid Diller collection at the @leatherarchives. The Argos opened in Amsterdam in 1957 and possibly the oldest leather bar in the world when it closed in 2015. #gayamsterdam #leatherbars #lgbtqhistory #tattoos #sailorsid

Don't miss this weekend, Sept 12-13, the Annual Kinky Rummage Sale! The deals are spectacular! #leather #porn #kink #rum...
09/09/2020

Don't miss this weekend, Sept 12-13, the Annual Kinky Rummage Sale! The deals are spectacular! #leather #porn #kink #rummagesale #chicagomuseum

Philip Rubin, the first International Mr Deaf Leather 1991/1992. Photo from the IML collection at the @leatherarchives. ...
09/09/2020

Philip Rubin, the first International Mr Deaf Leather 1991/1992. Photo from the IML collection at the @leatherarchives. #deafleather #leathercommunity #nineties

Leather bar ads in Drummer 17 (1977). #milwaukee #atlanta #newyork #gardengrove #leatherbars #lgbtqhistory
09/08/2020

Leather bar ads in Drummer 17 (1977). #milwaukee #atlanta #newyork #gardengrove #leatherbars #lgbtqhistory

Quote from Why I Love Butch Women by Carol A Queen in Dagger: On Butch Women edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie and Linnea Du...
09/08/2020

Quote from Why I Love Butch Women by Carol A Queen in Dagger: On Butch Women edited by Lily Burana, Roxxie and Linnea Due (1994). Photo by Laurence from On Our Backs May/Jun 1992. #flannel #butch #dykefashion

[The missing ingredient, I see in hindsight, was eroticism, worn on the sleeve and there in the step: Where political dykes would don a baggy flannel shirt and think, "No one will sexually objectify me if I wear this," the butches were tucking their shirts in, knowing that some little gal would love the softness of the flannel under her hands as she ran them up over the butch's pecs.]

Quote from "Life After the Leather Contest" (2004) reprinted in Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Steve Len...
09/07/2020

Quote from "Life After the Leather Contest" (2004) reprinted in Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness by Steve Lenius. Photo from the George Nelson collection at the @leatherarchives. #leathertitles #titlecontest #leathercommunity

[During your contest preparation you probably did some thinking about what you would do with a title if you won. Would you have volunteered for a cause you believe is important? Would you have raised money for charity, helped to plan leather events, started a leather-related website? Whatever it might have been, you are hereby cordially invited to do it anyway.

If you want to, you can find ways to contribute to your community whether you have a title or not. Don't wait for a title to supposedly confer legitimacy and credibility on your efforts - get involved now.]

Quote from a poem by Elissa Wald in Between the Cracks: The Daedalus Anthology of Kinky Verse edited by Gavin Dillard (1...
09/06/2020

Quote from a poem by Elissa Wald in Between the Cracks: The Daedalus Anthology of Kinky Verse edited by Gavin Dillard (1996). Image of JimEd Thompson in Drummer 63 (1983), photographed by Jim Wigler. #bdsm #submission #eroticpoetry

[I dreamed you had the patience of a prayer:
You let me memorize your open hand
Before you closed a fist around my hair.]

A huge thank you to two of the generous sponsors of the 2020 Silent Auction, Bad Dragon Enterprises Inc. and Cockeye Kin...
09/06/2020

A huge thank you to two of the generous sponsors of the 2020 Silent Auction, Bad Dragon Enterprises Inc. and Cockeye Kink Gear. You can see the amazing items they've donated, and make a bid to get a great deal! https://www.32auctions.com/leatherarchives2020
#leather #kink #silentauction #Chicagomuseum

BC and Carl Cliver, photographed by Jim Wigler, were featured on the cover of Sandmutopia Guardian No 5 (1989). BC compe...
09/06/2020

BC and Carl Cliver, photographed by Jim Wigler, were featured on the cover of Sandmutopia Guardian No 5 (1989). BC competed at International Ms. Leather 1988 and Carl competed at International Mr. Leather 1988. #eighties #leathersiblings #wigler

Photo and quote from Some of Us Are Dying by John Preston, in Drummer 65 (1983). #hivaids #lgbthistory[We have every rig...
09/05/2020

Photo and quote from Some of Us Are Dying by John Preston, in Drummer 65 (1983). #hivaids #lgbthistory

[We have every right and every obligation to examine every opportunity to combat this disease. We have no right to desert the men who have already contracted it. We have every obligation to demand that they get the best care, the most human convalescence and that they are treated with complete dignity. If we let ourselves or the medical establishment treat these men as though they are lepers with 'bad blood', then we are accepting a heinous definition of ourselves. Just as we could not allow the psychiatric establishment to rule us 'sick', so can we not allow anyone to tell us that these men deserve their fate.]

Today is the day!  The silent auction starts at 10am Central. Check out the amazing packages available. You can place an...
09/05/2020

Today is the day! The silent auction starts at 10am Central. Check out the amazing packages available. You can place an online bid, or if you're eager and impatient you can just choose to "buy it now!"
http://ow.ly/A6Lp50BiVED
#leather #kink ##kinky #silentauction #fetish

Mistress Stephanie Locke in the garden, from Boot Lover's Digest No. 3 (1992). Got #femdom and #fetish magazines? Donate...
09/04/2020

Mistress Stephanie Locke in the garden, from Boot Lover's Digest No. 3 (1992). Got #femdom and #fetish magazines? Donate them to the @leatherarchives. #boots #leopardprint #gardendom #flowermistress

Quote from Screw The Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon (1995). Illustration by R.A. Shultz from...
09/04/2020

Quote from Screw The Roses, Send Me the Thorns by Philip Miller and Molly Devon (1995). Illustration by R.A. Shultz from Bound & Gagged 26 (1992) #powerexchange #domsub #bdsm

[There is no inherent inequality in the roles of dominant and submissive. Both people are equally deserving of respect. Everything done is equally for the benefit of both people involved.]

Quote from Our Right to the World in The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy by Scott Tucker (1997). Photo of...
09/03/2020

Quote from Our Right to the World in The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy by Scott Tucker (1997). Photo of Leather Pride Night by Efrain J Gonzalez (1990). #publicsex #privacy #leathercommunity #queercommunity #pride

[It is true that the more people involved in sex or any other "private" activity, the further the boundaries of privacy must be extended. If two people make love all alone in the wilderness, we might say they had privacy. If six or a dozen people make love in one room, we might say that privacy should include the right to choose one's own public - a right which should apply in both bedrooms and bathhouses. Or whorehouses, for that matter. The further we extend the concept of privacy, the more public and worldly it must become: here again the heart of the matter is "the right to be let alone, or personal autonomy, or simple 'personhood.'" ... The right to be let alone is a poor right if we are denied the right to associate: the right to form community.]

Flagging was popularized in the 1970s as a way to share sexual desire with a glance across the room. The color code has ...
09/03/2020

Flagging was popularized in the 1970s as a way to share sexual desire with a glance across the room. The color code has changed and evolved over time. This version was published by the lesbian SM group Samois, ca 1979. Image from Bondage Parade 52. #hankycode #flagging

Address

6418 N Greenview Ave
Chicago, IL
60626

Directions to the LA&M The Leather Archives & Museum is located at 6418 N. Greenview Ave. Just 2 doors north of the corner of Devon Ave. & Greenview Ave. We are nextdoor to the Citgo gas station @ Devon and Greenview. The closest major intersection is Clark St. & Devon Ave. Greenview is 2 blocks east of Clark St. Via Public Transportation CTA Bus #s 36-Broadway, 151-Sheridan and 155-Devon stop at the corner of Devon and Greenview. CTA Red Line – Loyola street stop. About a 10 minute walk to the LA&M, or board the #155-Devon bus westbound at the Loyola stop. Walking : Out of the El station, walk south (under the L tracks) on Sheridan Road. At the second stoplight, Devon Ave., turn right. Walk about 6 blocks to Greenview Ave. Turn right at the corner of Devon and Greenview. Via Car From the loop or boystown : Get onto Lake Shore Drive northbound. Take Lake Shore Drive until it ends at Sheridan Rd. Turn right onto Sheridan, so you'll be heading north. Sheridan will curve to the left. Stay in the left lane, as Sheridan Road becomes Devon Ave. Continue west for 6 blocks to Greenview Ave. Parking is available on the street. From the north or west : Take I-294 or I-94 to Touhy Ave. Take Touhy Ave. east to Western Avenue. Go right on Western to Devon Ave. Go left on Devon Ave. to Greenview Ave. Turn left on Greenview Ave. Parking is available on the street.

General information

The 10,000 sq. foot, two-story building holds eight exhibition galleries; a climate controlled archival storage space; a 164-seat auditorium; the G.A.G. Contemporary Fetish Gallery, with rotating exhibits by renowned and emerging fetish artists from around the world; and a 600 sq. foot reading library to store the research collections.

Opening Hours

Thursday 11:00 - 19:00
Friday 11:00 - 19:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(773) 761-9200

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