Collins, Norman Keith, S1c

 Service Photo   Service Details
492 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Seaman 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
S1c-0000-Seaman 1st Class
Last Rating/NEC Group
Seaman First Class
Service Years
1928 - 1932
Seaman 1st Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

105 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Collins, Norman Keith, S1c.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Reno, NV
Last Address
Honolulu, Hawaii

Date of Passing
Jun 12, 1973
Location of Interment
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section T Site 124

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
United States Navy Memorial Famous People Who Served
  2015, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2015, Famous People Who Served [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Nov 03, 1928, Service Dates
  Aug 05, 2015, General Photos20
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Sailor Jerry
If you don’t know who Sailor Jerry is you don’t know tattoos. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins  is considered the foremost American tattoo artist of his time. Arguably, he did more for the ancient art of tattoo than most any other single person.

Collins was born on January 14, 1911 in Reno but grew up in Northern California. As a child he hopped freight trains across the country and learned tattooing from a man named "Big Mike" from Palmer, Alaska, originally using the hand-pricking method. In the late 1920s he met Tatts Thomas from Chicago who taught him how to use a tattoo machine. He practiced on drunks brought in from Skid Row. From his 20s to his late 50s, he stopped tattooing entirely as a part of a disagreement with the IRS. Believe it or not, Sailor Jerry only tattooed for approximately 12 years.

Originally there were few colors available to tattoo artists– Sailor Jerry expanded the array by developing his own safe pigments. He also created needle formations that embedded pigment with much less trauma to the skin, and was one of the first to utilize single-use needles and hospital-quality sterilization.Sailor Jerry’s first studio was in Honolulu’s Chinatown, then the only place on the island where tattoo studios were located. His work was so widely copied, he had to print “The Original Sailor Jerry” on his business cards.

Sailor Jerry regarded tattoos as the ultimate rebellion against “the Squares”. His legendary sense of humor is oft reflected in his work– but he was never one to compromise his professionalism or take his craft and responsibilities lightly.

In addition to sailing and tattooing, he played the saxophone in his own dance band and frequently hosted his own radio show on KTRG (AM) where he was known as "Old Ironsides".

Sailor Jerry went out of his way to mentor those tattoo artists whose talents and attitude he respected, among them tattoo legends Don Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, to whom he entrusted his legacy of flash designs. He also railed against flashy tattoo artists such as Lyle Tuttle, and what he called “hippie tattoo” culture.

Navy and the Ocean
At age 19, Sailor Jerry enlisted in the US Navy. It was during his travels at sea that he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. Artistically, his influence stems from his union of the roguish attitude of the American sailor with the mysticism and technical prowess of the Far East. He maintained a close correspondence with Japanese tattoo masters during his career. Sailor Jerry remained a sailor his entire life.

Jerry was outraged after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and tried to join the Navy at age 30 to fight the Japanese. Rejected because of his heart condition, he joined the Merchant Marines instead. During WWII he could not reenlist in the US Navy but instead was a Merchant Marine on  3 Military Cargo Ships and was three ships that were shot out underneath him. 

Even during his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands. Sailing and tattooing were his only two professional endeavors.

His Legacy 
In 1999, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone partnered with an independent Philadelphia company to establish Sailor Jerry Ltd., which produces rum, clothing and other goods.
Other Comments:
Not Specified
Copyright Inc 2003-2011