Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, University of Minnesota Libraries



University of Minnesota


Jean-Nickolaus Tretter began the collection. After being discharged from the Navy, he and his friends organized the first Twin Cities commemoration of the Stonewall Riots in June 1972. At around the same time, Tretter began to collect gay and lesbian materials in a piecemeal fashion. He didn't start out with the grand scheme of an archive; he just gathered things that seemed to matter.

Tretter studied social and cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota from 1973-1976 and wanted to specialize in gay and lesbian anthropolgy but could not get the institutional support he needed. Tretter dropped out of the university and began working as a counselor at a Ramsey County residence for youth with mutiple disabilities. He also began studying gay and lesbian history on his own, beginning the accumulation of materials that currently make up his collection.

The Tretter collection is the largest LGBTQ-specific archival repository in the upper Midwest, and is national and international in scope, with a focus on the upper Midwest. It encompasses approximately 3,500 linear feet of material—including books, periodicals, grey literature, personal and organizational records, zines and pamphlets, artifacts and ephemera, and audiovisual materials.

peer reviewed

Audrey J. Li



org. type


currently holds

Item sets