Larry Townsend

Larry Townsend (27 October 1930 – 29 July 2008) was the American author of dozens of books including Run, Little Leather Boy (1970) and The Leatherman’s Handbook (1972), published by pioneer erotic presses such as Greenleaf Classics and the Other Traveler imprint of Olympia Press. Leatherman’s Handbook, with illustrations by Sean, was among the first books to popularize BDSM among the general public


Born Michael Lawrence Townsend, he grew up as a teenager in Los Angeles, where his neighbors included Noël Coward, Irene Dunne, and Laura Hope Crews. He attended the Peddie School and was stationed as Staff Sergeant in charge of NCOIC Operations of Air Intelligence Squadrons from 1950 through 1954 with the United States Air Force in Germany.[1] Completing his tour of duty, he entered into the small, underground 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 homophile liberation in the early 1960s. During this time he met Fred Yerkes (August 27, 1935 – July 8, 2006), who would become his companion of 43 years.

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 Magazine (1975). He lived in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the center of the Los Angeles leather scene (the equivalent of the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco). As a writer and photographer, he was an essential eyewitness of the drama and salon around Drummer, which often excerpted his novels. Townsend’s signature “Leather Notebook” column appeared in Drummer for twelve years beginning in 1980, and continued in Honcho to 2008. His last novel, TimeMasters, was published April 2008. His last writing was Who Lit up the Lit of the Golden Age of Drummer an introduction to Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer (June 2008).


In 1995 Townsend received the Steve Maidhof Award for National or International Work from the National Leather Association International.[2]

In 2016 Townsend was inducted into the Leather Hall of Fame.[3]

Books in order of publication:

2069 Trilogy1969
The Leatherman’s Handbook1972
The Leatherman’s Handbook, 3rd Printing1977
Masters’ Counterpoints1990
One For The Master, Two For The Fool: A Bruce Mac Leod Mystery1992
The Sexual Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes1993
Run No More1993
Run, little leather boy1993
The Case Of The Severed Head1994
The Faustus Contract1994
Kiss of Leather1994
The Gay Adventures of Captain Goose1994
The Long Leather Cord1994
Ask Larry1995
Beware the God Who Smiles1995
Mind Master1996
Man Sword1996
Leather Ad-S1996
M (Leather Ad)1996
The Scorpius Equation1996
The Construction Worker1996
Bondage Photos of Tom “Ropes” McGurk1997
Stalked: An Anatomy Of Sexual Obsession1999
The Hounds Of Hell And Other Sm Stories2000
A Binding Passion & Other Sm Stories2001
DreamMaster and Other SM Stories2004
Master Of Masters2004
The Leatherman’s Handbook II: The Sequel, New Millenium Edition2006
A Slave’s Gambit2007
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