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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Jean Berry papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1989-2000
Creator: Berry, Jean (1938- )
Extent: 4.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0297
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Des Moines-based artist.

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 videocassettes [V132 and V408]
Photographs in Box 1

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 407) were donated by Jean Berry in 1997.

Preferred Citation: Jean Berry papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Jeanette (Jean) Berry, artist, was born August 22, 1938, in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She married early in life and had three children.

Berry began studying art as a teenager and took instruction in art at the Kansas City Art Institute. Berry then moved to Des Moines, Iowa, and received an Associate of Arts degree from Des Moines Area Community College in 1980. She trained with artists Chancey Rosenbaum and Brenda Jones.

The death of her youngest child, Toni, was a watershed for Berry, after which she threw [herself] into [her] art to fill the void. In spring 1987, she enrolled as a student of art at Drake University in Des Moines. There she completed a B.F.A. in May 1989. Berry' work was exhibited regionally and nationally after she received her degree and was included in a Smithsonian Institution exhibition. In 1989, she won the Fourth Annual King Celebration Art Award.

Berry works predominantly in charcoal and paper, focusing primarily on depicting African Americans.

The Jean Berry papers date from 1989 to 1996 and measure 4 linear inches. The papers are divided into 6 series: Biographical Information, Professional Career, Publications, Correspondence, Fine Art Print, and Photographs. These papers document Berry's life as an artist whose focus is African-American culture in the United States.

The Biographical Information series contains narrative biographies about Jean Berry. Background material and listings of exhibitions, awards, and associations are included, as well as a video containing a segment about Berry from Videoscan's Show # 1: "African American Artists in Iowa", (1993).

The Professional Career series (1989-1995) comprises the bulk of the collection. It chronicles the exhibitions of which Berry was a part. Flyers and pamphlets from the exhibitions and newspaper clippings are included.

The Publications series (1990-1996) contains publications to which Berry contributed and publications containing articles about her. A book, Mediated Messages and African-American Culture (1996), for which Jean Berry contributed cover art, was co-edited by her daughter, Venise T. Berry, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Iowa, and is shelved in the printed works collection.

The Correspondence series (1990-1996) contains professional correspondence concerning exhibitions. Correspondence with patrons is also included.

The Fine Art Print, "Mary Louise" was created by Berry in honor of Mary Louise Smith, former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, for the 100th anniversary of the YWCA of Greater Des Moines.

The Photographs series contains photographs of Berry's exhibits and photographic images of particular artworks by her.
In IWA: Venise T. Berry papers.

Venise Berry is the daughter of Jean Berry.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Series 3: PUBLICATIONS
Series 4: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 5: FINE ART PRINT
Series 6: PHOTOGRAPHS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Narrative
  • Artist
  • Events and memorabilia - 1995-2000
  • Series 2: PROFESSIONAL CAREER
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1989-1992
  • General - 1993-1994
  • General - 1995
  • General - 1996
  • General - 1997-2000
  • General, undated
  • Newspaper clippings - 1991, 1995
  • Grants, awards, and letters of recognition - 1987-1999
  • Series 3: PUBLICATIONS
  • Box 1:
  • "How to Get Your Bearings and Get a Job" - 1990
  • "Interview: Jean Berry," Iowa Woman - (Spring 1994)
  • "One of Ten Thousand Goddess Lore & Ritual," [co-illustrated by Berry], Iowa Visions of Color - 1995
  • "Jean Berry," Iowa Visions of Color
  • Series 4: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1990-1996
  • General - 1997-1999
  • Series 5: FINE ART PRINT
    shelved in map case
  • Series 6: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 1:
  • First show, October Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 1989
  • "A Taste of Africa" event, First United Methodist Church, Des Moines - 1993
  • Various exhibitions
  • Artworks