Lavender Legacies Guide: United States: North Dakota

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University Archives, North Dakota State University
Location: 1305 19th Avenue North – Rm. 117
Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address: Dept 2080, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 701-231-1017
Fax: 701-231-5631
Contact: Michael J. Robinson, Archivist

Collection Growth and Information: Please see finding aid at:

Access and Use:
What are the requirements for using the organization's/institution's material?
Collections are accessed at the Archives in the Reading Room.
Hours: During Academic Year: 8-4:30 M, Tu, Th, Fru & 8-8 W; Summer & Holiday: 7:30-4, M-F
Site is wheelchair accessible.

University of North Dakota
Address: Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections
Chester Fritz Library
University of North Dakota
3051 University Avenue Stop 9000
Grand Forks, ND 58202-9000
Phone: 701-777-4625
Fax: 701-777-3319
Contact: Curt Hanson, Department Head

Mission Statement:
The mission of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, is to identify, acquire, preserve, and make available published resources and historical records, regardless of format, that document the political, economic, social and cultural heritage of North Dakota, the Red River Valley, the city of Grand Forks, and the University of North Dakota.

Special Collections was founded as part of the University Library in 1954. When the Chester Fritz Library was built in 1961, the Department was simply known as the “North Dakota Room.” We became the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in 1985, following the death of Dr. Robinson, a long-time member of the History Department, who wrote the definitive history of the state, History of North Dakota.

Current Holdings:
We have only one collection that deals specifically and solely with LGBT history.
Thom Higgins Papers
OGLMC 1292; .25 linear feet; 1967-1977
Thom L. Higgins was born on June 17, 1950, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He was the son of Leo and Kay Higgins. He attended high school at Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. After attending the University of North Dakota in 1967 on a special summer program for gifted high school juniors, he decided to enroll at the University. At UND, he was the Arts and Entertainment editor of the Dakota Student, as well as a writer for In Which, a publication of the Honors Program. He was also a member of the Young Democratic Club of North Dakota, the Interdorm Council, and acted in the play MacBird. He was also involved in the production of an underground newspaper entitled the Snow Job. This publication resulted in his suspension from UND in March 1968. Following this, Higgins did not return to UND. He instead moved to Twin Cities, where he became a gay activist. He became one of the four Archons (ministers) in the Church of the Chosen People, which advocated homosexuality as a "healthy and fulfilling personal option." He was also known for throwing a pie in the face of anti-gay activist Anita Bryant on October 14, 1977, in Des Moines, Iowa. He worked in various professions during his life, including nursing and advertising. He was a voracious reader, who also enjoyed collecting art and listening to music. Thom Higgins died on November 10, 1994, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Scope and Content Note:
The Thom Higgins Papers date from 1967-1977. Included are materials related to the controversial underground newspaper, the Snow Job, UND student senate minutes, and university symphony and concert announcements. Also included are copies of an honors program newsletter publication entitled In Which, and several newspaper clippings. The newspaper clippings document the Vietnam War, protests at the University of North Dakota, and Thom Higgins' suspension.

Collection Growth:
The Department of Special Collections continues to document and preserve all aspects of North Dakota history.

Access and Use:
What are the requirements for using the organization's/institution's material?
Typical archival rules are enforced: no food, no drink, no pens, etc. Otherwise, there are no formal rules for using Special Collections.
Regular hours when UND classes are in session: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday: 8am-5pm; Wednesday: 8am-9pm; Friday: 8am-4:30pm
Regular hours when UND classes are not in session: Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm
Site is wheelchair accessible.

1. Research space
2. Reference assistance on site
3. Telephone reference
4. Internet reference (e-mail/web)
5. Copying services
6. Audiovisual facilities
7. Exhibitions Loan agreements for exhibits
8. Borrowing privileges for individuals - All items in the Department of Special Collections must be examined in Special Collections. We do, however, have an Inter-Library Loan agreement for archival material with other archives in the state. Patrons can request our collections through this arrangement. Collections must be hand delivered to the other archives and may be examined there. The length of the loan does not exceed three months.

Indices to the collections:
All of our books are indexed in ODIN, the Library’s catalog, as well as OCLC’s WorldCat. The finding aids to our collections are uploaded to our website, and catalog records are created for ODIN and WorldCat.

Updating Collection Descriptions:
We list any new collection on our “What’s New” webpage and our Department’s Twitter feed.