Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

Coordinates: 44°58′23″N 93°14′35″W / 44.973147°N 93.243047°W / 44.973147; -93.243047
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Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies
LocationElmer L. Andersen Library, Suite, 222 - 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Other information
DirectorAiden Bettine

The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies is a collection of LGBT historical materials housed in the Special Collections and Rare Books section of the University of Minnesota Libraries. It is located underground in the Elmer L. Andersen special collections facilities on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. The Tretter Collection houses over 40,000 items, making it the largest LGBT archive in the Upper Midwest and one of the largest GLBT history collections in the United States.[1][2] The collection, which was created by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, is international in scope and is varied in media.


Burnt remains of book, "Le Marquis de Sade et Son Temps" which survived the Nazi book burnings of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft.

Although books are the core of the collection (including a large holding of gay pulp fiction), substantial sections include textiles, glassware, film, music, art works, and three-dimensional objects such as statuary, event buttons, and furniture. The collection includes unpublished manuscripts, vertical files, and periodicals in approximately 56 languages.[3][4] Much of the material is from people and organizations in the United States during the last third of the twentieth century.

Among the significant archival holdings are:

The collection was started by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, a Minnesota-born archivist, in the 1950s, and donated to the University of Minnesota Libraries in the early 200s when the collection grew large enough to be a fire hazard in his home.[6]

Selected items from the collection and timelines are frequently assembled and displayed worldwide. Recent displays have been at the Motor City Pride in Michigan in 2007 and 2009, and the first Moscow Pride festival in May 2006.

In 2005, the collection started its official newsletter, The Tretter Letter.[7]

In 2006, The Tretter Collection, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and the Quatrefoil Library presented the first GLBT ALMS (Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections) Conference in Minneapolis.[8][9][10]

It is the home of the Transgender Oral History Project, which has gathered 200 video interviews of transgender individuals, primarily in the Upper Midwest, and which has received funding for a second phase.

Awards, honors and media recognition[edit]

In 2016, The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection was the inaugural recipient of the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence in Library Services and Outreach to the GLBT Community.[11]

"The Newlen-Symons Award recognizes the tremendous impact of the Tretter Collection and its leadership in collecting and preserving the record of the GLBT community, from the University of Minnesota campus and beyond," said American Library Association President Sari Feldman. "Through preservation, collection development and advocacy, the Tretter Collection embodies how libraries can transform lives and communities."[12]

In 2017, The Tretter Collection won the Diversity Award presented by the Society of American Archivists. The Society of American Archivists annually recognizes outstanding contributions, leaders, and achievers in advancing diversity within the archives profession. Tretter was honored for its dedication to filling in the gaps of the GLBT archival record and for striving to include marginalized voices from within the GLBT community.[13]


In 2015, Andrea Jenkins began work at the Tretter Collection as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marcotte, Mike (2020-10-08). "Serve Our Society: Tretter Collection | Lavender Magazine". Lavender Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  2. ^ Birkey, Andy (10 November 2010). "Tretter Collection Celebrates 10 Years of Preserving LGBT Community". The Column. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Log Cabin Will House Its Archival Material at the University of Minnesota's Tretter Collection". Georgia Log Cabin. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Lavender Legacies Guide: United States: Minnesota". Society of American Archivists. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Collection: Stuart Ferguson Papers". Retrieved 2022-12-17.
  6. ^ Jackson, Zoë. "Jean Tretter, local LGBTQ archivist and advocate, dies". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  7. ^ "Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts" (PDF). University of Minnesota Libraries. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
  8. ^ "GLBT ALMS 2006 Conference Program". GLBT ALMS 2006 Conference Program. 2006.
  9. ^ Cook, Elizabeth (2006-05-24). "Anderson Library Hosts International GLBT Materials Archiving Conference". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  10. ^ Keim, Adam (2008). "Chapter 7 : In conclusion". History of Quatrefoil Library (PDF). Golden Valley, MN: Friends of the Bill of Rights Foundation. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9780966882827.
  11. ^ SBIRES (2017-07-21). "The Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence". Round Tables. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  12. ^ HCHO (2016-01-15). "GLBTRT selects the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries for the Newlen-Symons Award for Excellence". News and Press Center. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  13. ^ "2017 Fellows and Award Recipients | Society of American Archivists". Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  14. ^ Golden, Erin (April 27, 2015). "Former Minneapolis council aide brings transgender issues to the forefront". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.

External links[edit]

44°58′23″N 93°14′35″W / 44.973147°N 93.243047°W / 44.973147; -93.243047