Homeward Bound: The Life & Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry
This week I received a copy of Homeward Bound: The Life and Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry and devoured it instantly. This limited edition hardcover is 128 pages filled with rare photos of the tattoo legend and his work, as well as images of turn-of-the-century newspaper clippings, vintage flash sheets, circus sideshow promos, snapshots of WWII sailors on shore leave and "hula girls," and so much more. It is quite rightfully described as using "the life of Sailor Jerry as the conduit to deliver a visual ethnography of American tattooing."
Beyond the images, what makes this book noteworthy are the essays on his Sailor Jerry's life and the historical information on tattooing in America that precedes it. Tons of fascinating facts and stats can be found right at the beginning, including bios on the first notable tattooers in the US, a glossary of sailor tattoos, and the general income of brothels that surrounded tattoo parlors in Hawaii where servicemen shipped off and returned home. ["Honolulu brothels took in $10 million during the war."] Then there are tattoo tidbits on the man himself, like the story behind the iconic Aloha Monkey design, and how Sailor Jerry got his name:
Although born Norman Keith Collins on January 14, 1911, his father nicknamed him him "Jerry" after the family's unruly mule. The nickname and the stubborness stuck.As we noted in January, this year Sailor Jerry would've turned 100 years old. Perfect timing for this tribute. The book is a companion to the Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry film written and directed by Eric Weiss, who is also the creative director and a contributor to the book. Other contributors are Jason Buhrmester, David Farber, Beth Bailey, & Nick Schonberger.
Homeward Bound can be purchased for $75 on the SJ online store. For a better look inside the book, check the video below.