The Father of American Tattooing by Franklin Paul Rogers is an all new volume based on the original book. The original book was published in 1990 by Don Lucas and Paul. They had worked together on the book and Don had done multiple interviews and taped many conversations with Paul about his life with the intention of publishing his story. While working on the book Paul had a stroke and was in a nursing home for about a year before he passed away. Don was able to finish the book and published a limited edition that sold out in the early 1990’s.
Paul’s life in tattooing is the quintessential archetype for the story of tattooing. From his start in the cotton mills to the traveling carnival tattooing to starting Spaulding and Rogers Supply, Paul narrates his own story. When you travel back down the history of tattooing, Paul Rogers is one of the most influential individuals, and his story is connected to everyone in this business.
Not only does the book contain Paul’s story, but it is packed with some really incredible photos and memorabilia from Paul’s personal collection.
This all new volume came about though Don Lucas’s desire to republish the book and work with historian C.W. Eldridge from the Tattoo Archive. Don provided the original text and C.W. Eldridge provides all these great vignette’s about locations Paul lived and worked, historical info, and bio’s about other old school artists that Paul was connected with.
C.W. Eldridge is also on the board of the Paul Rogers Research Center. The Center is the conservator of Paul’s estate and collection and they were able to provide many of the articles that appear in the new book along with tons of never before seen photos.
With the original text from Don and all new text from C.W. Eldridge and the new material from the Paul Rogers Research Center and the Tattoo Archive they just needed someone to put it all together. As fate would have it C.W. got in touch with Presto Art Publishing about a book designer and they suggested me. So now you know that my whole pitch for the book is a bit bias because I designed the book.
I think the book came out great, not because of my part in it, but because the material was rich, and so well researched. Reading the book feels like traveling through a museum of Paul’s life. If you make your bones tattooing you owe it to yourself to read this book, it’s an easy read with tons to look at. Paul was important to tattooing and you can see one man’s journey in tattooing from the beginning to the end, it will give you some perspective and some insight into you own journey, I promise.