Larry Townsend
27 October 1930 - 29 July 2008
Editor's Note: This new thumbnail biography, approved and updated by Larry Townsend, is reprinted from Jack Fritscher's leather-heritage book Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer: A Memoir of the Sex, Art, and Salon of Drummer Magazine, which, published June 20, 2008, also includes Larry's "Eyewitness Introduction," his last published writing.

Spill A Drop for Lost Brothers
The Official Obituary of Larry Townsend written by Jack Fritscher
Published by the Leather Archives & Museum, Chicago

Thumbnail of Official Obituary: Larry Townsend was the pseudonymous author of dozens of books including Run Little Leather Boy (1970) and The Leatherman's Handbook (1972) at pioneer erotic presses such as Greenleaf Classics and the Other Traveler imprint of Olympia Press. Growing up as a teenager of Swiss-German extraction in Los Angeles a few houses from Noel Coward and Irene Dunne, he ate cookies with his neighbor Laura Hope Crews who was Aunt Pittypat in Gone with the Wind. He attended the prestigious Peddie School, and was stationed as Staff Sergeant in charge of NCOIC Operations of Air Intelligence Squadrons for nearly five years with the US Air Force in Germany (1950-1954). Completing his tour of duty, he entered into the 1950s underground of the LA leather scene where he and Montgomery Clift shared a lover. With his degree in industrial psychology from UCLA (1957), he worked in the private sector and as a probation officer with the Forestry Service. He began his pioneering activism in the politics of gay liberation in the early 1960s. In 1972, as president of the "Homophile Effort for Legal Protection" which had been founded in 1969 to defend gays during and after arrests, he led a group in founding the H.E.L.P. Newsletter, the forebear of Drummer (1975). As a writer and photographer, he was an essential eyewitness of the drama and salon around Drummer in which his novels were often excerpted. Contrary to myth he was not a founder of Drummer. His signature "Leather Notebook" column appeared in Drummer for twelve years beginning in 1980, and continued in Honcho to Spring 2008. His last novel, TimeMasters, was published April 2008; his last writing was an introduction to Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer (June 2008). ©

Read works on and by Larry Townsend on this site

Introduction to the Leatherman's Handbook - Silver Anniversary Edition by Jack Fritscher
Introduction to Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer by Larry Townsend
The Prime of Mr. Larry Townsend: Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer by Jack Fritscher
"The Official Obituary of Larry Townsend," written by Jack Fritscher, The Leather Archives and Museum, The Leather Times, No. 2, 2008

Copyright 2007 by Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. & Mark Hemry - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED