First Gathering

We  had the great fortune to be part of The First Annual Gathering of the Tattoo Historical Society which took place in Winston Salem, North Carolina on October 12th, 2019.  It was a memorable gathering of museum owners, collectors and enthusiasts that focused on the rich history of tattoo.  

The sound of tattoo machines, a common convention background sound, could not be heard as this was purely an opportunity for enthusiastic tattoo historians to gather in a sort of “love fest” for the ancestry of electric tattooing.  This gathering featured a collection 16 museum owners, publishers and collectors who had tables to buy, sell, trade, and/or show off their collections with the participants.   A intimate gathering which allowed the participants to really take in all that was offered. 

Tattoo Designs by Dana, Ohio Tattoo Museum and The Tattoo Archive; the founding members of this Tattoo Historical Society expertly collected a roster of presenters that gave seminars on the hour for all participants.  Seven different presentations,  like the amazing historical talk of Tattooing in the Bowery by Michelle Myles of DareDevil Tattoo and the viewing of a rare digitally restored 16mm film of Huck Spaulding tattooing brought by Scott Boyer of Yellow Beak Press, were enjoyed by all.

Bill and I both enjoyed listening to Charlene Gibbons.   Charlene shared her family history with her parents, Charles (Red) and Artoria Gibbons,  who are cornerstones of American tattoo history.  She is presently writing a  book about their combined history which, with her talk is an indicator, I am sure will be interesting and moving.  

We really felt like this was one of the finest tattoo gatherings that we have experienced.  All in attendance gathered to purely bask in the history of tattoo.  We saw lots of old friends and made like-minded new ones.  Hopefully, we will have more opportunities to gather under the banner of this newly formed Tattoo Historical Society.    This event was time well spent!

Follow Tattoo Historical Society on Instagram to see listing of the participating museums/collectors/publishers and seminar presenters.  

—Bald Bill Henshaw and Dierdra Michelle


Hillary Cohen, Dierdre Tara Michelle and Monica Moses