Rikki Swin

Founder of the Rikki Swin Institute

Rikki Swin was born in Chicago in 1947. In 1970, she started Tec Air, Inc., a US manufacturing business specializing in plastic injection molding. This business grew to annual revenues of US$20,000,000 and, in 1999, she sold the business. Taking her business acumen and the resources available to her, Ms. Swin founded the Rikki Swin Institute (RSI).

In March of 2001, the Rikki Swin Institute opened its doors in conjunction with the 15th Annual Conference of the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE). A first of its kind educational and research facility located in Chicago, RSI was dedicated to transgender research and education. Its mission was to stimulate changes in culture to improve trans person understanding and acceptance worldwide.

Contained in its own building, the Institute had four aims: the housing of a library and archives; conference co-sponsorship; digital video education; and research. The institute was established to form a partnership between professional providers, corporations, individuals, and transpersons with the goal of advocating for better understanding and acceptance and benefiting society as a whole.

Rikki made the decision to move to Victoria, British Columbia and decided that the library and archival holdings would benefit from being held in the public trust. The Institute closed in December 2004. In 2007, Ms. Swin donated the entire contents of the Institute to the University of Victoria. This incomparable collection includes records of the IFGE and the Outreach Institute for Gender Studies. One of the gems of this collection is the incomparable collection of newsletters and publications from both large and small transgender organizations, including Fantasia Fair. Archival collections from Virginia Prince, Ari Kane, Merissa Sherril Lynn and Betty Ann Lind are also part of this wonderful collection.

The University of Victoria Archives is dedicated to preserving, protecting and providing public access to the valuable material in its care. Important additions such as the Rikki Swin Institute Materials distinguish the Archives. Our archival collections were built and continue to grow through the generosity of great collectors who dedicate themselves to building a collection and then graciously donate it for many to benefit. Rikki has given us a scholarly resource to be proud of, to cherish and to share.