2021 Chuck Renslow & Tony DeBlase Founders' Award

The 30th anniversary of the founding of the Leather Archives & Museum brought an opportunity for the organization to reflect on its own history and growth, and on the individuals who worked tirelessly to build a remarkable and unique institution that continues to flourish today. Without them, LA&M and its vast collections would not be here today to preserve our history.

The number of community members who stepped up to get LA&M off the ground is vest, including those who nurtured it in its earliest years, bringing visibility to the importance of our existence. However, among all those who gave their time and support, several stood out as going above and beyond. It is those individuals whom we wish to honor, recognize and thank.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Leather Archives & Museum, the LA&M Board of Directors honors the following individuals with the 2021 LA&M Founders’ Award, recognizing their immense contributions to the organization in its earliest years.

  • Joseph Bean – Joseph was brought in as the first director of LAM. He helped to establish LAM as an institution and helped to acquire the current building, overseeing the move into LAM’s first permanent home. Joseph brought a significant network of leather individuals to the table from his connections as editor of Drummer, and as a writer and artist in the leather and BDSM communities.
  • Jill Carter – As International Ms. Leather 1996, Jill used her platform to bring visibility to LA&M, educating people about the importance of preserving our history. Her work brought in new collections and raised critical funds for the new organization.
  • Pat Daley – Pat was an early financial supporter of LA&M, and helped keep the organization afloat during some very lean years.
  • Joanne Gaddy – Joanne was active in earlier years of the institution. She helped to raise money and collections, especially from women in leather in the late 90’s. She recently retired as co-producer of the Fireside Chats oral history project.
  • Chuck Higgins – Chuck was an early board member, serving 1993-1996. He was a former title holder (MR. SE Leather) and former chair of National Leather Association.
  • Barry Johnson – Barry helped develop LA&M in its earliest stages, and became one of the first board members.
  • Vi Johnson – Vi was an early promoter of LAM, and served on the early Board of Directors for 5 years. As partner to Jill Carter, Vi she helped bring in new collections to LAM in the earliest years. Vi co-founded the Carter-Johnson Leather Library.
  • Albert Kraus – Albert was a leather activist and LAM Board member from 1992-1996. He founded the Windy City Bondage Club in Chicago.
  • Jon Krongaard – Jon served on the Board of Directors for 17 years. He served as Board President for many years, and oversaw many major transitions
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