The Stud Pin Archive is a repository of Stud pins and ephemera that reflects a deep committment to telling the stories of the lives lived and lost over the generations.

The Stud pins represent the vision of Gidget and countless unknown others by which they could be made visible to each other, manifest their values, and capture the essence of a place and the events that occured there.

Since its establishment in 1966, The Stud Bar has brought all kinds of people together in a transcendent atmosphere of creativity, spontaneity, and community. The pieces that were collected here act as a visual representation of that spirit. The pins, photo albums and most of the photographs and ephemera, are from the collection of former Stud owner Ben “Fiesta” Guibord.

While the Stud’s fame grew out of its legendary drag shows, live music, and dance nights, the bar has always been filled with original artwork as well — hand-painted signs and collages by the Goddess Artista adorned the walls, and tucked away in the basement were stacks of photo albums featuring beautiful, intimate portraits taken by Fiesta of his friends and lovers. Though many artists made pins for The Stud, the pinbacks in this book were predominately created by a longtime Stud bartender, Paul “Gidget” Sinclair, who started designing them after the original button maker, Pat Simpson, passed away.

These pinbacks are like tiny time capsules from the period in which they were created — a visual commentary on popular culture, world events, and local happenings. Pins were made, collected, exchanged, lost, and finally found again; now we are the keepers of them — these little tributes to the Studettes who came before us.

I feel honored to have been able to help sift through the history of The Stud and its artists through these pinbacks. Although this project was born out of curiosity about the artist behind the pins, it grew into a much more expansive effort to collect and preserve the memories of the countless Stud artists, bartenders, performers, patrons, party boys, and drag queens who lost their lives to AIDS. The book grew out of Gay Visions, a collaborative art show that took place at the Haight Street Art Center in 2021, just over a year after The Stud closed its doors. The show marked the first time the twenty years of Stud pinbacks were displayed together, alongside other original artworks from Mike Caffee and Dav Fairall “Goddess Artista”.

-Chloe Miller, The Stud Pin Archives

Photo by Lauren Tabak