Street gang calling cards from the 1970s and 1980s


Very Short List recommended this blog entry featuring Chicago street gang cards from the days of yore.

The We Are Supervision blog has a wild collection of the business cards that Chicago’s gangs printed up in the seventies and eighties and used to make friends and intimidate people.

You’ll see groups like the Stooge Bros. (whose members included Bubbles, Giggles, and Sweet Pea) and Thee Almighty Hells Devils (whose members included Sico, Satan, and Skull).

The above card looks like one that Luther ("Warriors, come out to play-ay-ay"), warlord of The Rogues, would have had.

Street gang calling cards from the 1970s and 1980s


  1. Haha! I had some “friends” in high school (early 80’s) that would get some cheap business cards like this printed up. They weren’t in any gang that I know of so it must have been a wannabe thing. But they were pretty cool.

  2. @#2 ANONYMOUS:
    If you go to the site that has these, they explain that these were “gang” cards made for small neighborhood crews/groups that have very little in common with gangs nowadays.

    Not saying some of them didn’t partake in their share of illegal activities, but consider it more of a teen “men’s club” than a crime group.

    Jack Kirby was in a “gang” in the Lower East Side which was basically just a group of friends that got into trouble.

    Let’s not forget those little rascals in “Our Gang” comedies. None of them sold meth or threw signs… Well, they did have the “high sign” for the “He Man Woman Haters Club”… So I guess they were delinquents.

  3. I saw similar gang business cards, along with gang sweaters and an interesting history (with confused racism apology and unfortunate name justification) at the website for the erstwhile Almighty Gaylords, a teen violence gang from Chicago.

  4. Anyone else notice how the “North Side Almighty Coal Yard” is misusing unicorns?

    And my audio captcha was “In any time you need a laxative, morning”

  5. It looks like every gang had to have a member named “Pee-Wee”, and/or “Satan.” Also, a lot of Black Sabbath references. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that.

  6. I especially liked Invisible Black Vultures – this may have predated (or inspired?) the concept of the Invisible Pink Unicorn; a creature both invisible and pink simultaneously.

  7. One thing’s for sure, when your butler brings one of these calling cards on a silver tray and announces there are three gentlemen waiting in the foyer for you, it’s time to push that button that releases the tigers.

  8. I just finished reading “Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member” for class. There was nothing in there about cards like these Chicago gangs, but there was definitely a dizzying number of names and ‘sets’ to keep track of (and so much more).

    Read it.

  9. My favorite gang name from the 70s/80s (seen from the train going through the Far South Side) was the Insane Gestapo Monsters.That seemed to cover most of the bases.

  10. I’m guessing that by calling themselves the Almighty Gaylords, they’re hoping that people will think “oh shit; if these guys can call themselves that and not be laughed at, they must be real badasses; I’d better not mess with them”, not “OMFGLOL, that is teh ghey”. I bet they’re the kinds of crazy-ass motherfuckers you wouldn’t want to even smile at in case it’s taken the wrong way.

  11. “The Gaylords Street gang has its beginnings in the area of grand and noble on Chicago’s north side. The Gaylords were originally a softball club in the late 1940s or early 1950s, that eventually converted in to a street gang around 1952 (See Chicago Tribune reference). Softball clubs and social clubs were common in Chicago and many neighborhoods had them. Other softball clubs at that time included the Scorpions, Ramrods and the Demons. It is very important to say here, that for many years after the 1950s, gangs referred to themselves as “clubs” in Chicago.

    It has been reported that the name of the Gaylords softball club was at first called “Gay Lords,” which originated from the original leader a guy named “Larry” who looked up the word in the dictionary: “Gaylord is a surname with origins in Old France. Back then it was spelled Gaillard until it was anglicized during the reign of King Edward VI(1547-1553) when protestants from Normandy emmigrated to England to escape religious persecution. Gaylord is defined as meaning brave or representing strength. However, a direct translation of the word gaillard is ribald, bawdy or strapping, as in, ‘he’s a strapping young fellow’,” see Gaillards. The reason for this is unknown, its probably because the usage of the word “Gay” by society at the time to reflect a cheerful mood.

    The Gaylords adopted their name at a time period in which homosexuality had nothing to do with the word “Gay.” It was a trendy and widely used word of the time that described a proud, happy mood. The word “Gay”could be found back then in the names of businesses, books and even in movies such as: The Gay Intruders (1948), and The Gay Amigo (with western star, Cisco Kid, 1949).

    Because of a store front that the original Gaylords congregated in front of Angie’s Bar at 1323 West Huron Street, their first street corners were Huron and Throop. Although Huron and Throop were the main corners, Grand and Noble was the general area in which Gaylords could be found because of many restaurants and other venues of interests on the busy avenue of Grand.

    The Gaylords later moved themselves just blocks away to Ohio and Noble (See Original Clubhouse) and started claiming this as their new main corners because of a new store front or club house that they found themselves congregating at. It has even been reported that organized crime had a presence on this corner and the Gaylords did small favors for them.

    The Gaylords racial make up at its creation was primarily Italian and Irish, which reflects the racial make up of the Grand and Noble area.

    The Gaylords were a a well known street gang by the early 1960s. Other gangs at this time were the C-Notes, Simons Park, PVPs and Lazy Gents. Groups like these were referred to as “Greaser Gangs” because of the greased back hair and other distinctive habits.

    The Gaylords and other gangs in general during the early 1960s were far from the insane violence that would come about decades later. Drug sales and usage at this time was a rarity. Gangs basically fought battles over turf, girls or other rights of passage. “

  12. now open for design bids: “The BB Bastards and Bitches Easy Going Social Club”, “The Insane Web Freaks, BB East” …. etc.?

  13. The 4-Bs?

    I briefly belonged to a city neighborhood teen gang in the 1940s, The 3-Ds (Davison [St.] Dirty Dozen). Working class kids, sons of GM shop rats (Chevrolet, Buick), micks, polacks, hillbillies, hunkies. Our bible was Irving Shulman’s The Amboy Dukes. Clubhouse was a 3-car garage with chairs, sofa, mattresses, beer, sweet wine, cigarettes, Benzedrine; no other drugs. Old cars, gambling, big band dances, drag racing, pre-Little League pick-up baseball games, nearby lakes/reservoir swimming (one drowning each summer), pairing off with bobby sox girls, “rumbles” with Lewis St. Louies or The Sparks (no guns or knives); all waiting, waiting to be old enough for the invasion of Japan…

    But I got a job and went to work instead. When they got a war ready, they knew where to find us. They always do.

  14. the 4B’s, B4 U?.. B is the second letter; “2”…2B or not 4B? or 2B twice is 4B, as B4….

    you writing Buddy?

  15. Don’t be so sure the past is so far behind. I used to hang with half the Freaks on the above card, which is from around 1984 if I remember right. The M-A stands for Milwaukee & Austin. If you take a drive past that corner right now, 25 years later, guess what you’ll see – a couple dozen Stoned Freaks. Some things never change.

  16. Great-American-Youth-Leading-Our-Repuplic-Demonstating-Strength


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