Preserving Queer Culture: The Tretter Collection
Produced by Dixie Treichel
In the 1970s Minnesotan Jean Tretter started collecting and saving items as a way to help him write and talk about queer history and culture. Thanks to his foresight, passion and dedication the collection has now grown to over 30,000 items from around the world.
The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies is located on the University of Minnesota campus in the Elmer Anderson Library for Special Collections. It is an archival library, research facility and museum that is open everyone, including the general public and scholars alike, who want to learn about queer culture both past and present.
The collection is international in scope and has materials in approximately 58 languages. It covers all time periods, from a 4,000-year-old phallic statuette from Egypt, up to current editions of GLBT periodicals. Although books are the core of the collection, substantial sections include textiles, glassware, film, music, art works, and three-dimensional objects such as event buttons and furniture. The collection includes unpublished manuscripts, vertical files, and periodicals from all over the world.