Leatherman - Man Dressed in Patches of Leather

Short Film | 3 Minutes 50 Seconds

As a child, I remember the librarian telling us one day during reading hour at the Katonah Library in Westchester County, New York, about the Leatherman. She showed us clippings about him from newspapers dating from the second half of the 19th century. He has stayed engraved in my memory and in this regard I am not alone. Brian Langman, who did the sound design for this video, grew up in a town nearby and also remembers hearing about the Leatherman. 

We filmed Leatherman in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester, New York. The cave in which we filmed was one of the actual caves where he stayed, when he was roaming along the same circuitous route that would take him roughly a month to complete.

There were many "tramps" at this time. Enough for there to exist "tramp laws" in multiple states. Many of the so-called tramps were reportedly veterans of the Civil War, while others were people--in the vast majority men--who had been thrown out of work during what was known as "the long depression" that began in 1873 and ran at least until 1879. What made the Leatherman memorable was that he returned regularly and his odd attire, made out of pieces of leather crudely sewn together. A little like the Leatherman, I hope to return to the subject of the Leatherman again, until I have developed and made a feature film.