LordSaber's BDSM history page

In 1999 I wrote a history of Society of Janus, the San Francisco-based SM group, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary that year. You can download a copy in PDF format by clicking Janus history. When I interviewed numerous past and present Janus members for this project, I was constantly reminded of how very little is really known about the history of our scene. I surfed the Web and found very little there either. I strongly feel as members of our community we have the right to know about our past.

One of the truisms about BDSM is that if you ask 10 different SM folk what is SM, you'll get 12 different answers! The same seems to hold true for our history. I've compiled a list of leather history links below. If you know of one or have a link not listed here that you feel I should know about, email me at celticdm at gmail.com.

There are very few books that contain much, if any history about the leather scene. There are three books I recommend. They are LeatherFolk, edited by Mark Thompson (Alyson Publishers, 2001, ISBN 1555836305), which has some essays about leather history and The Second Coming by Pat Califia & Robin Sweeney (Alyson Publishers, 1996, ISBN 1555832814), which contains some good essays about the history of some US womens SM groups. Unfortunately The Second Coming is currently out of print, although you may be able to find a used copy on Amazon.com. The third book is Ties That Bind: The SM/Leather/Fetish Erotic Style: Issues, Commentaries and Advice by Guy Baldwin (Daedalus Publishing, 1993 ISBN 1881943097).

There seems to be lots of interest and debate about "Old Guard". I have links to a few articles about it here and offer my own thoughts about the online interest in Old Guard in an column I wrote over a decade ago for a now defunct onlinze zine known as D/s World called Old Guard, New Guard?

I also list the Canonical Hanky Code, which rumor has it actually started out as a joke back in the 1970s and seems now to have become "fact."

Here then are links to sites that I feel say something about our past:


Academic Studies of Leather/BDSM

A Modern Application Of Old Guard Philosophy

Dark Connections History of Black BDSM

Jay Wiseman's Essays On the Old Guard Jay's thoughts about Old Guard.

Leather Archives and Museum Home Page A Chicago-based project devoted to preserving the history and artifacts of the leather/SM/fetish community.

Leather Culture, 1945 - 1985: A Bibliography of Printed & Online Resources

Leather Pride Flag History

The Myth of the Old Guard by Jack Rinella.

The Old Guard Guy Baldwin's excellent Old Guard article.

Old Guard? If You Say So by Joseph Bean.

Old Guard, New Guard Some of Gayle Rubin's thoughts about Old Guard.


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