Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

Part of the 17-unit Archives and Special Collections department of the University of Minnesota libraries, the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies is the largest LGBTQ-specific archival repository in the upper Midwest, holding 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. Although national and international in scope (featuring materials in approximately 58 languages), the Tretter's holdings are especially strong in materials documenting the history of LGBTQ people, organizations, and communities in the Upper Midwest, especially the Twin Cities area. The Tretter also serves as a center for LGBT and queer ideas, hosting panel discussions, community conversations, and other events designed to support critical inquiry into LGBTQ pasts.

Our manuscript collections are described in finding aids that are available through the Archives and Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries; publications (including books, newspapers, magazines, zines, and newsletters) are searchable within the University Library's central catalog. To help users, we have created a handful of guides to support discovery of materials in the collection, including:


Notable subject areas within the collection

Personal papers of LGBTQ figures from the Twin Cities

Elected officials, e.g.:

  • Karen Joy Clark
  • D. Scott Dibble
  • Andrea Jenkins
  • Allan H. Spear

Artists and writers, e.g.:

  • Roger Arvid Anderson
  • Judith Katz
  • Nancy Manahan
  • Catherine Lundoff
  • Patrick Scully

Activists, e.g.:

  • Robert W. Halfill
  • Michael McConnell and Jack Baker
  • Billy Navarro, Jr.
  • Ethan O'Brien
  • Ana Silva
  • David Wood and Brian Mulhern

Educators, e.g.:

  • Lisa Albrecht
  • Toni McNaron
  • Beth Zemsky
  • Mary Zubrzycki

The records of Minnesota-based LGBTQ organizations

Youth and student organizations, e.g.:

  • The Trans Youth Support Network
  • District 202
  • Queer Student Cultural Center (at the University of Minnesota)

Legal and legislative advocacy organizations, e.g.:

  • Minnesota Civil Liberties Union GLBT Programs
  • Minnesota Gay and Lesbian Legal Assistance (MNGALLA)
  • Minnesotans United for All Families

BIPOC organizations, e.g.:

  • Minnesota Men of Color
  • The American Indian Gay and Lesbian Organization
  • Shades of Yellow (SOY)

Arts organizations, e.g.:

  • Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Out And About Theatre
  • Patrick’s Cabaret
  • Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus

Documentation of non-Minnesota-based people and organizations 

Such as:

  • Cliff Arnesen
  • The Golden Commune
  • Materials related to Sri Lankan Organizations Equal Ground and The Women’s Support Group
  • Log Cabin Republicans
  • Midwest Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC)
  • Network for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Concerns in Occupational Therapy


The Tretter Collection holds a wide variety of periodical, including newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, organizational newsletters, and zines. Among those publications are materials that fall into several areas, including:

Periodicals by and for LGBTQ communities of color, e.g.:

  • Association of Lesbian and Gay Asians Newsletter
  • BLK
  • Hasha : a newsletter by and about Iranian lesbians/gays/bisexuals
  • Onyx: Black Lesbian Newsletter
  • Thing
  • Trikone
  • Two Eagles

Periodicals by and for trans* and gender non-conforming communities, e.g.:

  • City of Lakes Crossgender Community Newsletter
  • Gender Euphoria
  • Original Plumbing
  • St. Louis Gender Foundation Gazette
  • Transgender Community News
  • Transvestia
  • Tranz

Periodicals by and for bisexuals, e.g.:

  • Bi women: the newsletter of the Boston Bisexual Women's Network
  • BiNet news: the newsletter of the Bisexual Network of the USA

HIV/AIDS activist and organizational publications, e.g.:

  • Aliveness newsletter.
  • British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society News
  • Minnesota positive: HIV monthly newsletter
  • People with AIDS Coalition of New York Newsline
  • PWAlive
  • TPA news: the monthly newsletter for Test Positive Aware Network.
  • Treatment issues: the GMHC newsletter of experimental AIDS therapies

Feminist and lesbian publications, e.g.:

  • CLOUTreach: Quarterly newsletter for Christian Lesbians Out.
  • Feminist Bookstore News.
  • International Lesbian Information Service Newsletter
  • Le'sbeinformed: the Lesbian Resource Center newsletter.
  • Lesbian Feminist Organizing Committee Newsletter
  • Matrices : a lesbian/feminist research newsletter
  • Mom's apple pie: newsletter of the Lesbian Mothers' National Defense Fund

Early homophile publications, e.g.:

  • Arcadie: revue littéraire et scientifique
  • Die Freunde
  • Der Kreis
  • The Ladder
  • Mattachine Review
  • One
  • Vriendschap

Audiovisual collections

The Tretter’s audiovisual collections range widely in format and content. We hold original and commercial recordings of a wide range of radio and television programs; raw documentation of protests, rallies, performances, and other events; experimental films; erotica and pornography; home movies; oral history recordings; theatrically-released motion pictures; and many other types of materials.  (For a rudimentary listing of many of the materials in our collection, see this inventory.)

Areas of strengths in our audiovisual collection include:

Radio broadcasts, e.g.:

  • Feminist Radio Network
  • Fresh Fruit (KFAI)
  • The Lesbian Frequency
  • This Way Out (Pacifica)
  • We Want You to Know (KFAI)
  • Womenfolk (KFAI)

Television programs, e.g.:

  • Bi-Cities!
  • In The Life
  • Network Q
  • posi.TV

Oral histories, e.g.:

  • Tretter Transgender Oral History Project
  • The HIV/AIDS Caregivers Oral History Project
  • Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project

Digital collections 

Info about how to use our digital collections API is viewable here.


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