Larry Townsend (pseudonym for Bernhardt) was born on October 27, 1930. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950-1954. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1957, and pursued graduate study at the State University of California, Los Angeles. He became involved in the leather community of Los Angeles in the early 1960s and became an activist in the late 1960s, serving as the president of the “Homophile Effort for Legal Protection” in 1972. As a novelist, photographer, and publisher, he both chronicled and shaped the gay leather community from the late 1960s to 2008, the year of his death. He authored many books and articles on leather and sadomasochism, including The Leatherman’s Handbook, published in 1971. Additionally, he published his own work, as well as that of others, through his publishing house, L. T. Publications. Many of his works have been reprinted by other publishers. Townsend died on July 29, 2008.
From the guide to the Larry Townsend collection, 1972-1999, (Manuscripts and Archives)