Irving Klaw was born in Brooklyn on November 9, 1911. His father worked as a conductor for the BMT subway system; his mother was a housewife. Both had earlier and later marriages from which a total of three sons and three daughters was produced. Among them, Irving was closet to his sister Paula, about ten years his junior. The elder Klaw's death occurred while Irving was still in high school. Off Irving went to begin the first of a succession of jobs, with Paula going to live with her mother. Irving's first proprietary adventures was as owner of a book and photo store at 209 East 14th Street in Lower Manhattan. By 1939, the photos were outselling the books and Irving moved across the street to 212 East 14th Street and opened "Irving Klaw Pin-Up Photos." His outdoor window sign touting "Pin-up photos of your favorite movie stars, latest movie scenes, bathing beauties, popular cowboy stars and vocalists, bandleaders" still sits there, 45 years after it was painted and despite the company's name change a decade ago to "Movie Star News."
Klaw's pin-up photo business flourished during and after World War II. In the late 1940's, he added different pictures to his stock-pictures of attractive females tied up and gagged and dressed in bizarre leather, rubber and satin wardrobes. Where he had been doing alright before, he was prospering now. Eventually, the Klaw bondage photo stockpile of black and white and color scenes numbered 4000, not to mention his prodigious selection of film and well conceived bondage cartoons.
Throughout the 1950's and early 1960's, Klaw found himself on the receiving end of a salvo of serious government charges, primarily conspiracy to use the U.S. mail to send X-rated materials. He and Kramer were indicted on June 27, 1963, with Klaw being freed on $10,000 bail and Kramer $5,000. They were found guilty, but the verdict was later reversed by the Federal Court of Appeals. No matter, Klaw had wearied of the relentless legal opposition and, despite the lucrative business, destroyed his entire collection of negatives and scrambled out of the bondage business. These surviving films are the rarest of the rare.