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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Joan Blundall papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1986-1998
Creator: Blundall, Joan (1945- )
Extent: 3.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0486
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Social worker who developed support services for rural families during the 1980s farm crisis in Iowa.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 825) were donated by Joan Blundall in 2001.

Preferred Citation: Joan Blundall 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

Joan Whitwer Blundall was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended Temple University and graduated in 1966. She married the same year and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she worked at a social welfare agency and entered the University of Rhode Island master's degree program in child development/family relations. Her son Jonathan was born in 1970, and she completed her degree in 1976. In the late 1970s, Blundall divorced her husband and moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa to work for the Iowa State University Extension Service. In 1984 as the farm crisis emerged, Blundall began work at the Northwest Iowa Mental Health Center (later renamed Seasons Center). She designed an outreach program that provided farmers in dire straits with twenty-eight professionals to contact. Furthermore, she trained nearly 400 community volunteers to visit the homes of distressed families and developed a number of support groups where farm families could meet to discuss their worries. Once the farm crisis stabilized, Blundall re-immersed herself in education. She completed her master's degree in Health Care Administration at the University of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines in 1999. In the late 1990s, she served on committees including the Iowa Department of Health's Rural Health and Primary Care Advisory Committee and the Iowa Department of Justice's Consumer Advocate Panel.

The Joan Blundall papers date from 1986 to 1998 and measure three linear inches. They consist primarily of newspaper and journal articals concerning the farm crisis in Iowa in the 1980s and Blundall's work with emotionally and economically distressed farmers. The papers include articles about Blundall's work, articles published by Blundall in journals and newspapers, and professional papers Blundall presented at conferences for professional organizations such as The National Institute of Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas and the National Association of Social Workers. Two videotapes from NBC and CBS news programs in the mid-1980s depict Blundall working with farmers who were suffering severe emotional trauma as they faced the loss of their farms and other economic crises.
'Voices from the Land' oral history project, Iowa Women's Archives.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: ARTICLES

  • Box 1:
  • "Families who need someone to care," by Claudia Dreifus, Redbook, December - 1988
  • "Joan Blundall: A woman for all seasons," The Dickinson County News, June 3 - 2000
  • Series 2: ARTICLES
  • Box 1:
  • "The initial response from a community mental health care center," Human Services in the Rural Environment - 1986
  • "Keeping peace on the farm: stresses of two-generation families," Journal of Extension, summer (co-authored with Daniel J. Weigel and Randy R. Weigel) - 1986
  • "Farm families and marital disruption during a time of crisis," Families in Rural America: Stress, adaptation, and revitalization, March (co-authored with Rosalie Huisinga Norem) - 1988
  • "Lives of courage, legacies of love," Earth Matters, Spring - 1989
  • "Farm families' preferences toward the personal social services," Social Work, November (co-authored with Emilia E. Martinez-Brawley) - 1989
  • "When the crisis is chronic," Farm aid update, Winter - 1990-1991
  • "In celebration of those bearing gifts," Seasons, Winter - 1992
  • "Mental health response to the current rural economic crisis," Party-line, Winter - 1999
  • Newspaper articles about Blundall (typescripts) - 1989
  • Newspaper clippings about Blundall - 1989-1992
  • Box 1:
  • "The challenges facing working families and rural communities," presented at the National Rural Conference, Ames IA, April 25 - 1995
  • "Help, helpers, and helping: farm families' preferences toward the personal social services," presented at National Association of Social Workers 1988 National Conference (co-author Emilia E. Martinez-Brawley) - 1988
  • "Confronting post-traumatic stress issues among emergency service providers in rural areas," presented at 15th National Institute of Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas (co-author Cindy Chicoine)
  • "Rural communities dealing with changing times," conference materials - 1988
  • "The rural economic crisis and mental health: then and now," December 16 - 1998
  • "Whom shall we help? Farm families and attitudes about need," first draft (co-author Emilia E. Martinez-Brawley)
  • "The farm debtor as client: The human side of family crisis," undated
  • "Support groups and the rural crisis," undated
  • "Peer listening program: empowering community members as helpers," undated
  • "Children growing up in changing times: The role of school in community," undated
  • "Community and family: responding to immediate needs," undated
  • "Select committee on children, youth and family," undated
  • "Critical factors in mental health in Iowa," undated

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Blundall, Joan, 1945-

Corporate Names:
Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Service


Farm foreclosures
Rural families

Social workers

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Fort Dodge
United States -- Iowa

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers
Video recordings

Rural and Farm Women