Women’s Leather History Project Gains Momentum in 2011

The Leather Archives & Museum’s Women’s Leather History Project (WLHP) celebrated a momentum building year in 2011.  The second year of the WLHP saw an exhibit opening, the naming of a project historian, contributions to the collections and plenty of media attention.

A Room of Her Own

In May 2011, the LA&M WLHP opened “A Room of Her Own” to a packed gallery.  Curator Dr. Alex Warner assembled the previous year’s WLHP collection along with the existing Women’s collection at the LA&M to create the exhibit. WLHP co-founder Sarah Humble said “A Room of Her Own is a milestone for the LA&M Women’s Leather History Project.  The exhibit displays the importance of women’s history, stories and contributions to the leather community.”  The exhibit is on display through 2013 at the museum in Chicago and several resources from the exhibition have been made available through the museum’s website.
More after the jump! 
LA&M WLHP Project Historian

Dr. Alex Warner

Following the launch of “A Room of Her Own”, Dr. Alex Warner was named project historian for the WLHP.  Dr. Warner received her doctorate from the History Department at Rutgers University on May 15th, 2011. Her recently completed dissertation examines the intersections of the politics of feminism and sexual liberation through investigating the organization of lesbian sado-masochists in the 1970s and 80s.  Her doctoral work and subject matter expertise will assist in her work at the LA&M developing collections, working with historians and managing special projects.

New collections
International Ms. Leather’s (IMsL) 25th anniversary in April 2011 yielded sashes, papers and artifacts from former IMsL winners.  Many books and magazines were added to the Teri Rose library during the year, including “Tough Girls” and “Sapphistory”.  The LA&M fine art and photography collections grew thanks to contributions from Janet Ryan and Master Ces Williams, among others.  Finally, more women’s stories became available through the oral history collection thanks to interviewers Sarah Humble, Tracy Wolf and Cherries Jubilee.

The LA&M would like to thank all financial contributors to the project, including these events and organizations that contributed over $500 during the year : Ms. San Francisco Leather, Inc., Philadelphia Leather Pride Night, NLA Dallas, Mistress Serena, and JC Cestou / Mama’s Family film screening.

2012 holds much in store for the LA&M WLHP.  As work continues toward the second exhibition (expected to open in early 2014), many oral histories that have been collected will be digitized and made available online.  The traveling exhibition will is expected to receive a facelift and update and will be on location in San Francisco for International Ms. Leather 2012.

About the Women’s Leather History Project The Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) is committed to collecting, preserving and providing access to the contributions, experiences, and histories of women in leather, BDSM, fetish, and related lifestyles. The Women’s Leather History Project (WLHP) represents the LA&M’s ongoing commitment to making the diverse voices of women in leather visible and heard. The WLHP collects artifacts, stories, and other items that represent the experience of all women (straight, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, women of color). The project’s first exhibition “A Room of Her Own” was opened in May, 2011.  For more information about the project, please visit http://www.leatherarchives.org/wlhp

About Leather Archives & Museum
The Leather Archives & Museum is a library, museum and archives pertaining to leather and alternative sexual communities. The geographic collection scope is worldwide and includes all sexual orientations and genders. The library collection contains books, magazines, scholarly publications, films and electronic resources related to the subject matter. The museum collection contains original erotic art and artifacts from alternative sex organizations and individuals. The archival collection contains unpublished papers and records from notable activists, artists, businesses and organizations related to the subject matter.  For more information about the LA&M, please visit http://www.leatherarchives.org.