Skip to main content

Matt Hoffman leather collection

Identifier: Ms-Coll-56

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of leather gear, organized loosely by material type and purpose: clothing, paraphernalia, and buttons, pins, belt-buckles and ribbons. The collection was assembled by local activist John Cunningham after the death of Matt Hoffman. Most of the items belonged to Hoffman, though a few came from other members of the Philadelphia leather community, including Cunningham (studded leather belt, leather cap), Raymond Lapalme (black and yellow arm band), and others.


  • 1978 - 1993

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may exist. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

Biographical / Historical

Matthew Peter Hoffman was born in Allentown, PA on June 12, 1954. He graduated Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA (where he was in a band with the the future actor Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek: The Next Generation) and attended West Chester University for a B.A, in political science, graduating cum laude in 1976. He worked as a bartender at the Cell Block and DCA clubs (1221 St. James Street) from 1979 to 1984, whereupon he became the general manager at the Bike Stop, a gay leather bar. He was lovingly called "Miss-Management" by his coworkers. Hoffman used his position at the Bike Stop to run fundraisers for HIV/AIDS campaigns. Hoffman was well known for his kindness and his community involvement and a Matt Hoffman Community Service Award was given in the late 1990s through the 2000s by the owner of the Bike Stop.

Outside of bartending work Hoffman was a movie projectionist for over a decade, amassing a deep love and knowledge of film which he used on theme night at the Bike Stop. He was also an avid hot-air balloonist, co-piloting in festivals with his partner, David Caswell (1954-1991). Hoffman was also very active in the gay male leather subculture and helped found the annual Philadelphia Mr. Leather Contest in 1983, which often took place at the Bike Stop. Hoffman was a member of the Companions Motorcycle Club and an associate member of the Philadelphians Motorcycle Club. He died in August 14, 1995 at the age of 41 from AIDS related complications. A community memorial was held at the Bike Stop.


2.5 Cubic Feet (4 flat boxes and 1 hat box)

Language of Materials



Matt P. Hoffman (1954-1995) was a gay man who worked as the general manager for the Bike Stop, "Philadelphia's Leather Bar since 1982," and who was active in gay male leather subculture. The Matt Hoffman leather collection is comprised of objects dated from 1978 to 1993, including leather clothing and accessories, pins and buttons, and kink paraphernalia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, John Cunningham, 2014

Related Materials

Some of Hoffman's leather-themed t-shirts, also donated by John Cunningham, are in the Wilcox Archive's LGBT T-shirt collection.

Matt Hoffman leather collection, 1978-1993
Toby Makowski
December 8, 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center Repository

1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia PA 19107