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Finding aid for the James E. Ritter Journals
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: James E. Ritter Journals
    Dates: 1989-1994
    Collection number: 1997-03
    Creator: Ritter, James E.
    Collection Size: 1 box 6 journals
    Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
    San Francisco, California 94105
    Abstract: 6 Journals from January 1989 to November 1994. Daily entries capture the life of an HIV positive gay male living in Northern California.
    Physical location: Stored at the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], James E. Ritter Papers, 1997-03, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Library by Carrie Broeker on February 11, 1997.


    James (Jim) Ritter was born in 1960 and was raised in Minnesota. He moved to Monterey in 1977 to attend to attend the Navy's Defense Language Institute where he studied Russian. After leaving the Navy he went on to work in the hotel industry in Monterey and also sold real estate part-time after earning his real estate license in 1989.
    Ritter volunteered much of his time with the Monterey County AIDS Project (MCAP), after joining the group in 1987. He served on the MCAP board, attended weekly support group meetings, acted as an advocate for people with HIV and AIDS, interviewed potential volunteers, organized training sessions and events and helped with many other aspects of the organization. In the last years of his life Ritter developed and implemented the MCAP food drive, collecting food for people with AIDS. He was also very active in organizing local residents to attend the Gay Pride Parade each year in San Francisco. Ritter often spoke to high schools and other groups in the Monterey area about AIDS and safe-sex issues. Ritter died of AIDS related complications on June 18, 1995.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    These six bound journals depict the life of an HIV positive gay man copoing with the daily stresses of life, while also dealing with the burden of his diagnosis. The journals provide insight into every aspect of Ritter's life, from work to play to health and everything in between. The entries show that Ritter cherished friends, family, and personal relationships above everything else. Staying healthy was also extremely important to Ritter and he maintained an active physical lifestyle, enjoying running, swimming, scuba diving, biking, and skiing. Each journal contains a list of every AIDS-related death that struck Ritter's circle of friends in that year.
    The collection consists of a single series: Journals. There are 6 red bound journals, one for each year from 1989 to 1994.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Gay men
    AIDS (disease)