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  • Sailor Sid Collection
Sailor Sid Collection

Sailor Sid Collection

Here at, we previously wrote about the efforts to preserve the body piercing archive of Sailor Sid Diller, including making the collection available online. We’re excited to share the announcement that the digital archive of the Sailor Sid collection is now live!

Sailor Sid was present at what was the birth of modern body piercing in the U.S., when it was still a fringe activity mostly limited to a small group of leathermen in California. Sid’s importance was not only as a participant, but as a meticulous documenter, collecting everything from photographs, magazines, and newspaper clippings to 8mm film and slides. When Sailor Sid passed away in 1990, his collection was left to Jim Ward. Jim donated the collection to the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago in 1997. Thanks to the hugely successful IndieGogo campaign—launched last year at the annual APP Conference and Exposition—enough money was raised to not only preserve the collection, but to launch an online archive accessible to the public. Infinite Body Piercing proudly donated to the project as well. The archive can be toured by going to

Sailor Sid Diller

From the Leather Archive and Museum’s description:

The Sailor Sid Diller Piercing Collection consists of 10 Piercing Volumes containing over 2,500 photographs, ephemera, newspaper and magazine clippings, handwritten notes documenting the material culture of piercing and body modification from 1975-1984. Included in these photographs are tattoo, body modification, and piercing innovators such as Fakir Musafar, Jim Ward, Cliff Raven, Alan Oversby (aka Mr. Sebastian), and Bud “Viking” Navarro. The Collection also includes letters between Sid and Roland Loomis (Fakir Musafar), Hal Hess and Doug Malloy, and forty six 16mm and 8mm films.

Browsing the collection takes you down a historical rabbit hole, providing a glimpse into what, for most of us, is another world. The material is populated by personalities  who went on to be the architects of the modern piercing industry—but who were then just people with an unusual hobby: a passion for erotic piercing and tattoos. It’s like opening a digital time capsule.

Leather Times

Thanks to all who donated to help make this possible, with special thanks to Paul King, who tirelessly campaigned to raise money for the project, and Rick Storer, the executive director of the Leather Archives & Museum, who made it happen. If you’re ever in the Chicago area, make an appointment to check out the museum and archives in person. It’s an amazing facility, and absolutely worth the trip.

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