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Wearing Gay History collection

Identifier: MSS 690

Scope and Contents

The Wearing Gay History collection consist of approximately 3.5 linear feet of material dating approximately from 1972 to 2019. The collection includes T-shirts, research conducted by students in relation to the T-shirts, including correspondence and interviews, and publications related to the project.


  • Creation: 1972 - 2019

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open and available for research in the MSU Libraries Special Collections' reading room. Researchers are limited to accessing three folders at a time for security.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored off site. Please request 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

Michigan State University students enrolled in Dr. Tim Retzoff's course Advanced Seminar in Women's and Gender Studies (WS 492) in the Spring of 2018 were given the prompt: Do T-shirts reveal local LGBTQ history?

The project was meant to provide an introduction into Michigan's LGBTQ history by tracing the stories behind the apparel people once wore. Students were expected to contact activists and other members of the Michigan LGBTQ community, solicit shirts related to their activism or social life, and trace the stories behind the garments. A few shirts were purchased or given as a gift and added to the collection after the WS 492 project had concluded.

A subsequent project intends to incorporate photographs of the shirts from this project to Wearing Gay History, a digital respository of historical LGBT T-Shirts from across the United States.


3.5 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized in three series: research, publications, and t-shirts. Documentation related to each t-shirt can be found under the research series.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Dr. Tim Retzloff in 2018, with a second accrual in 2021.

Related Materials

More information about the Wearing Gay History project can be found at: Wearing Gay History

Processing Information

Eli Landaverde processed this collection in 2020.

Wearing Gay History collection
4 Published And Cataloged
Eli Landaverde
July 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA