"After approximately 4 years of gathering information from various sources, I am finally prepared to show others what I call my scrapbook. This incorporates the majority of the work that Tony De Blasé included in his original version of the leather history timeline. Portions of his timeline have not been used and information from other sources has been included. The information from other sources is indicated at the end of each item. If the item has not been referenced to another source, then it is from Tony De Blasé’s timeline.

This has been my attempt to join both the heterosexual and homosexual history of the BDSM/ Fetish/Leather Lifestyles. What originally started out as a personal interest hobby turned into a major project. Though this project does not cover all aspects of the BDSM/Fetish/Leather lifestyle, it does include a majority. This project will continue to grow as I stumble across more and more information.

The words on these pages are not my words, but instead those of others who have researched this lifestyle. Again, my main focus was to combine the information that had been obtained from both the het and homosexual sides of life. As I have found information as well, I have included that in this scrapbook as well. But as you thumb through all the pages of this scrapbook, you will see the difference between this and anything else you have seen in the past. It indeed is a scrapbook of our history." -- Gwen Hardy on the original Colors of Leather website.
1950New Modern Bizarre
1950Damsel's in Distress by Selbee Associates
1950Dominant Damsels by Selbee Associates
1950Gwendoline by John Willie
1950Flag Publications, which used addresses in both San Diego and Los Angeles, produced and sold a variety of products, including photo sets, novelettes, magazines and a correspondence club digest. One unusual product issued by Flag was a phonograph album entitled Tortura: The Sounds of Pain and Pleasure. Flag’s product line was similar to Burtman’s and re-sold Exotique and Selbee material published by Burtman. (Robert Bienvenu)
1950Irving Klaw becomes a subject of the Kefauver Congressional Investigations into juvenile delinquency and obscenity. (Robert Bienvenu)
1950615Chuck Renslow and Dom Orejudos start Kris Studios to publish male physique photography. Orejudos begins sketching some of the models.
195012Mattachine Society founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay (born Apr. 7, 1912), Rudi Gernreich, Chuck Rowland, Bob Hull and Dale Jennings start.
1950Publication of Quatrefoil by James Barr
1950Publication of Sexual Deviations
1950Publication of The Invisible Glass by Loren Wahl
1951Shaw’s, New York City’s first Leather Bar, opens.
1951526British Foreign Office officials Donald Mclean and his cruel master Guy Burgess defect to the USSR.
195111The cover date of the oldest known extant copy of Physique Pictorial Vol.1, No. 2. Cover painting of a nude man riding a white horse through the surf: Dashing by Quaintance.
1951John Coutts resumes publication of Bizarre magazine with issue 6 and continued publication in New York to issue 20 in 1956. (Robert Bienvenu)
1951Publication of Knight of the Bathhouse, written by Vance Veith
1951Publication of the study Patterns of Sexual Behavior by Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach, it is a comparison of the sexual preferences of 200 cultures. The study shows how relative Western sexual traditions are.
1951Barney Rosset (1922 -) buys a failing Grove Press for $3,000. (
1951Gene Bilbrew begins employment with Irving Klaw. Gene Bilbrew was also known as the artist ENEG. (Gene spelled backwards) (Robert Bienvenu)
1952The Lodge, New York City’s second leather bar, opens.
19524The police arrest Dale Jennings, a member of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles. Mattachine organizes The Committee to Outlaw Entrapment.
1952527Birth of Sasha Alyson, founder of Alyson Publications, a gay press that gave presence to a broad range of gay and lesbian works, including Coming to Power, the writings of John Preston, and many other leather/SM works considered “marginal” at the time, by other publishers.
19528Cover date of Physique Pictorial issue bearing a cover painting by Quaintance, Sacrifice, depicting a nearly naked man chained in spread-eagle suspension to a vertical sun disk. In the foreground two virtually naked warriors lie bleeding (dying) from arrows penetrating their backs. This cover resulted in censorship in Los Angeles County. No one objected to the bondage, blood, or violent theme. They wanted the lushly rounded asses of the dying warriors covered!
195212Publication of Confidential magazine by Robert Harrison, cheesecake publisher. A scandal/exposure publication that continued to be published through the 1970’s. (Robert Bienvenu)
1952Publication of Sexual Aberations by Wilhelm Stekel M.D.
1952Bettie Page poses for the first time in the studio of the New Yorker book and photo dealer Irving Klaw. At that time, Klaw, though obviously no sadomasochist, does already make bondage photos to order for several years. (DACHS Timeline)
1952Hermes Phettberg is born in Hollabrunn (lower Austria). He initiates the project, “Polymorph Peverse Klinik Wien” and in 1986 is co-founder of the Viennese sadomasochism initiative “Libertine”. (DACHS Timeline)
19538Tomorrow’s Man #8 contains the first published art by Dom Orejudos and the pseudonym Etienne is created.
1953Publication of Encyclopedia of Aberrations, edited by Edward Podolsky, M.D.
1953Publication of Forbidden Colors, Yukio Mishima’s novel with SM overtones is in Japan, first English edition in 1968.
1953Publication of Sadism and Masochism Volume 1 and 2 by Wilhelm Stekel, M.D. (GHardy)
1953Publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female by Alfred C. Kinsey, it is the second part of his study on human sexual behavior.
1953Arthur Summerfield, Postmaster General during the Eisenhower Administration from 1953 through 1961, was a vigorous opponent of “smut”. Summerfield mobilized the Post Office and the public in a governmental sponsored anti-obscenity campaign. (Robert Bienvenu)
1953Maurice Girodias founds the Olympia Press in Paris. (Son of Jack Kahane (1887-1939) who founded Obelisk Press (1931-1939)). After World War II, Girodias began to accumulate a crew of American and British writers living in Paris to produce what became known as “dirty books” under his Traveler’s Companion Series. These were small green paperbacks and written in English and sold mainly to American servicemen and tourists who helped to distribute then throughout the world. After the censorship barriers were broken in the U.S. and in Europe, Girodias moved Olympia Press to New York City, (circa 1967) where it remained until its demise in 1973.

Somewhere along the way, Girodias begins publishing under the Ophelia press title and publishes these books in the pink covers. (Dates are unknown about this at this time) (GHardy)
19542One magazine includes its first article about a women’s issue. Lesbians continued to be included in the content, and on the staff, until 1959.
195410Postal officials once again seized the magazines of ONE and charged the editors with sending obscene material through the mail, a violation of the 1873 Comstock Act. The Judge ruled for the Post office and on appeal a second judge concurred, dismissing ONE as “cheap pornography”. (GHardy)
1954Leonard Burtman (Bizarre Life and Exotique) becomes active as a publisher. (Robert Bienvenu)
1954Publication of Historie d’O by Pauline Reage (real name, Anne Declos) in France. In 1955 it on the Deux-Magots prize, an important French literary award. In 1965 Grove Press publishes the first English language edition as The Story of O.
1954Publication of Leonard Burtman’s first publication, a digest-sized magazine titled Exotica. Only a single issue of Exotica was published. (Robert Bienvenu)
1954With the publication of Bizarre issue 1 and Bizarre issue 14, John Coutts experienced troubles with Agencies of Social Control. These two issues were released within a few days of each other and contained sarcastic remarks about religion. Bizarre 14 contained an article “Now it Can Be Told! The True story of Adam and Eve” in which eve was recast in a fetishized version of the classical story. Bizarre #1 contained “The Lowdown on The Uplift”, disparagingly linked the development of fashion with ascetic Christian morality and aversion to the body. Coutts was convinced that the Catholic Church was behind his 1954 police problems with Bizarre. (Robert Bienvenu)
1954The movie The Wild One starring Marlon Brando as a leather jacketed motorcycle gang member is released, creating a sensation and giving seed to an image.
1954The San Francisco police stage a crackdown on “Sex Deviates” hitting particularly the area of Market and Embarcadero streets.
1954Birth of Bob Flannigan, SM performance artist and Super masochist
1954Birth of Pat Califia in Corpus Christie, Texas. Califia grew up in a working class Mormon Family and attended the University of Utah where, during her freshman year, she came out and changed her last name to Califia after an Amazon queen. After leaving college, she moved to California and volunteered at the San Francisco Sex Information Switchboard. (GHardy)
1954Formation of Satrys MC (first gay Motorcycle club) Los Angeles, Ca
1955228Houston, TX, Birth of erotic artist David Ray Grieger, better known as “David.” David passed away on March 18, 1994. Brush Creek media published a collection of his artwork in the publication Fag slave to the Muscle Gods. (GHardy)
19554Robert Harrison dropped most of his cheesecake titles, maintaining only Whisper, which focused on the scandal/exposure genre. (Robert Bienvenu)
1955711Newsweek article “The Curious Craze for Confidential Magazines” identified Edythe Farrell as one of Robert Harrison’s early associates. (Robert Bienvenu)
1955921The Daughters of Bilitis, the first Lesbian organization in America, is formed in San Francisco. Founded by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. From its beginning with 8 members, it soon grew into a major force, promoting civil rights. Daughters of Bilitis soon opened chapters in dozens of U.S. Cities and even Melbourne, Australia
1955Publication Exotique by Leonard Burtman begins, which ran for 36 issues from 1955 to 1959. Exotique was distributed nationwide and was one of the key fetish publications of the late 1950’s. (Robert Bienvenu)
1955Publication of Couch of Desire. (GHardy)
1955Publication of Peitsche und Rohrstock (Whip and Rod) in Basel, the magazine is published, which is distributed on the quiet. The magazine is in DIN A4 format, costs 10SFr, and is reported to have a print run of 500 exemplars. From about 50 pages, 20 pages are reserved or the ads of professional studios. (DACHS Timeline)
1955Publication of True Police Magazine (GHardy)
1955Publication of Two by Eric Jourdan in France. This novel of male love with definite SM elements was published in English in 1963.
1956112Samuel Roth is convicted by a jury in the District Court for the Southern District of New York upon 4 counts of a 26-count indictment charging him with mailing obscene circulars and advertising, and an obscene book, in violation of the federal obscenity statute. Roth is sentenced to five years for each count (to run concurrently) in the Lewisburg Penitentiary and fined $5,000 (
1956Publication of The Picture (L'Image) by Jeanne de Berg using the pseudonym Jean de Berg, Jeanne de Berg, a sadomasochistic novel which was dedicated to Pauline Reage. For a long time, her husband, Alain Robbe-Grillet is thought to be the author. (DACHS Timeline)
1956Publication of The Street of the Sun by Lance Homer. Most homoerotic and SM of the Mandango family of novels
1957John Coutts sells Bizarre magazine to a close friend and moved to Los Angeles. (Robert Bienvenu)
1957Publication of Color of Darkness by James Purdy (born July 14, 1923)
1957Publication of Fantasia by Lucian Press in Los Angeles, it was similar in style and format to Exotique. Lucian Press resold materials published by Leonard Burtman. Lucian Press also published 3 issues of Domestic Discipline Bulletin. (Robert Bienvenu)
1957Publication of Story of O by Olympia Press
1957Publication of The Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. (born July 23, 1928)
1957The Spring issue of Physique Pictorial magazine includes the first published erotic art of Tom of Finland, and marks the first time that name is used.
1957Amsterdam’s first leather bar and hotel, The Argos, opens. It is still in business!
1957In the Crittenden Report, the US Navy concludes that homosexuals serving in the military do not create a security risk. The Pentagon denies the existence of this report for twenty years.
1957In the case of Samuel Roth vs. U.S., the Supreme Court eliminated components of the Hicklin standard and began a chain of decisions that decisively narrowed the legal definition of obscenity. Roth reformulated the impure thought criteria in terms of a “prurient interest” test.

Roth shifted the standard from the most susceptible (children) to the average person.

The prurient interest criteria was a change in terminology rather than spirit from Hicklin.

Two key changes are:
1) If for the average person, applying contemporary standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a while appeals to the prurient interest, then it is obscene.
2) Stipulated that the work as a whole, rather than isolated passages, must be taken onto consideration in question of obscenity.

The Roth decision narrowed the criteria under which material could be prosecuted as obscene. (Robert Bienvenu)

Samuel Roth
1) If for the average person, applying contemporary standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a while appeals to the prurient interest, then it is obscene.
2) Stipulated that the work as a whole, rather than isolated passages, must be taken onto consideration in question of obscenity.

The Roth decision narrowed the criteria under which material could be prosecuted as obscene. (Robert Bienvenu)

Samuel Roth
1957Betty Page in Bondage Exotique Publication
1957Erotic artist George Quaintance dies
1957The German physician Hans Lehfeldt founds the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) in New York.
1958Eric Stanton shares a studio with the spiderman painter Steve Ditko, Stanton’s S&M paintings are hand colored by Ditko. (DACHS Timeline)
1958113One magazine took its case all the way to the supreme court and the court delivered an astonishing unanimous pro-gay decision, overturning the rulings of the two lower courts and limiting power of the Comstock Act. As a result, Gay and lesbian publications could be mailed without legal repercussions, though many continued to experience harassment from the Post office and the U.S. Customs. (GHardy)
19586Chuck Renslow becomes manager of The Gold Coast in Chicago and creates the first Leather Bar.
1958The German artist Hans Bellmer takes photos of female bodies that are tied up with thin ropes that deeply cut into the flesh. According to his own words, he is fascinated by the view of a body distorted by those ropes. (DACHS Timeline)
1958Publication of Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima first published in English
1958Publication of Muscle Boy by Bud Clifton, gay SM novel
1958Publication of The Balcony by Jean Genet
1958Publication of The Question by Henri. An account of the French Algerian newspaper man’s torture at the hands of French Paratroopers
1958Publication of Those About to Die by Daniel P. Manix. History of Roman games and arena shows.
1958Publication of Unhurried View of Erotica by Ralph Ginzburg.
1958Both Federal and Chicago authorities charge Kris studios with censorship violations. Renslow fights back, surprising the prosecution. His defense uses the simple stand that nudity is not obscene. In support his attorney shows photos of nude male sculpture in the courthouse where the case is being held. Kris was found not guilty, prosecution appealed and eventually the same decision came from the US Supreme court.
1958Leonard Burtman (Burmel Publishing) began to experience police problems from local New York Authorities, the FBI and the Postal Inspection Service. Employees were being tailed by police. The FBI, without search warrants, began stopping and searching vehicles carrying Exotique magazines. (Robert Bienvenu)
1958Formation of Oedipus MC Los Angeles, Ca
195941New York vs. Benedict Himmel and Leonard Burtman. New York officials prosecuted Burtman and Himmel for 12 novelette publications, of which 3 were found obscene. Their initial conviction in this case, which had a suspended sentence, contributed to the demise of Burmel Publishing Company and seizure of Burmel assets. The conviction was reversed on appeal and a new trial ordered. The charges were dropped in November 1961 due to mistakes made by state and judicial officials and skillful legal work by Burmel’s Attorney, Herbert Monte-Levy. (Robert Bienvenu)
195946The same day Burtman and Himmel were tried in New York; an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was pushed to the prosecution stage. The grand jury delivered a 39-count indictment against Ben Himmel. A search warrant and warrant for arrest of Himmel were issued the following day. (Robert Bienvenu)
195947Federal Marshals and Postal Inspectors descended on Burtman’s offices, arrested Ben Himmel and spent the day carting away virtually everything. In effect, the offices were stripped bare. Despite the massive effort on part of federal agents, after some initial legal skirmishing the case in language, there was no trial. However, federal authorities retained most of the material until September of 1968, nine years after the initial seizure. (Robert Bienvenu)
195956The New York Post office impounds 24 packages from Grove Press containing 164 copies of unexpurgated editions of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. A hearing is held on May 28th to determine the mailability of the books. The judge declines to rule the book obscene and refers the decision to the Post Master General (P.O.D. Docket No. M-18). On June 11th, the Postmaster bans Lady Chatterley’s Lover from the mails. Barney Rosset immediately sues in the Federal District Court asking that the ruling of the Postmaster be laid aside. On July 21st, after both sides argue their case, Judge Bryan issues an order that the book be allowed all the privileges of the mail (Grove Press v. Christenberry, 175 F. Supp. 488 (S.D.N.Y. 1959). This decision is upheld on March 26, 1960 in Grove Press, Inc. v. Christenberry 276 F.2d 433 (2d Cir. 1960) (
19599Kaysey Sales was created by Burtman and Seymour Grasberg was appointed president of the company. Burtman insisted that he had no relationship to the new Kaysey Sales in an effort to shield himself and the new company from further prosecution. (Robert Bienvenu)
1959108Postmaster general, Arthur Summerfield presented a speech before the Women’s City Club of Cleveland on Obscenity in the mail: How You Can Stop it. In addition to his own efforts, Summerfield appointed a special staff of 3 republican women it deliver this message to various community groups. These women traveled to civil groups with “actual samples of obscene materials.” (Robert Bienvenu)
19591124New York City police arrested Grasberg and searched the offices of Kaysey Sales. Without a warrant, they removed 3 boxes of materials and was later held to be illegal. New York Police phoned the local office of the Postal Inspection Service and a Postal Inspector arrived on the scene while the New York Police search was still underway. The postal Inspector immediately initiated a search warrant. (Robert Bienvenu)
19591125Kaysey Sales office was raided again by Federal officers and on a much larger scale. Federal Marshals and Postal Inspectors removed nearly 5 tons of material during the search. Grasberg was convicted on 4 counts. Grasberg appealed and charges were eventually dropped in light of a Federal court ruling, which addressed the admissibility of evidence gathered by Federal officers on November 25, 1959. The ruling held illegal the New York search and seizure conducted on November 24, 1959, as well as on technical grounds, the federal seizure on November 25, 1959. All material was ordered to be returned. (Robert Bienvenu)
1959Bizarre magazine ceases to be published. (Robert Bienvenu)
1959Burmel Publishing Company (Leonard Burtman and Himmel) closed following an obscenity conviction (later reversed) and ownership of Exotique was transferred to Kaysey Sales under president Seymour Grasberg. The magazine continued with issues 37 and 38 under the title of New Exotique. Grasberg became embroiled in legal difficulties in 1959 and in 1960, the magazine, under Burtman and Himmel’s new company, Selbee Associates, became Masque magazine and approximately 4 issues were published and the magazine was discontinued by December 1961. (Robert Bienvenu)
1959Publication of Hell Fire Club: The rise and fall of a shocking secret society by Daniel P. Mannix
1959Publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence. US Supreme court rules in favor of allowing distribution.
1959Publication of Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (born Feb 5, 1914
1959Publication of Story of O by Olympia Press, Travellers Companion French Edition
1959Irving Klaw opens his New Jersey based Nutrix company and began publishing a series of digest sized booklets (Robert Bienvenu)
1959Kellers (bar) opens in New York City and becomes a gathering place for gay motorcycle riders.
1959The Big Dollar at 34th & 3rd in New York City opens A VERY leather bar.
1959The Spur Club a leather friendly bar at 126 Turk in San Francisco’s tenderloin is raided and closed.