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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Joan Hemm papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1998-2004
Creator: Hemm, Joan (1957-)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0509
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Records of the Shady Ladies, a Colorado based historical performance organization founded by Hemm.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor will be transferred to the University of Iowa in 2048.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 883) were donated by Joan Hemm in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Joan Hemm 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 A. Hemm was born in Strawberry Point, Iowa, in 1957. She was adopted as an infant by Marie Andersen, a registered nurse, and Dean Andersen, a researcher at the University of Iowa Department of Pediatrics. Hemm was raised in Iowa City, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in journalism and mass communication. She married Tom Hemm in 1986.

Hemm worked for various telecommunications, marketing, and advertising companies, including the Bell telecommunications system. In Boulder, Colorado, she worked for a greeting card manufacturer and later, an advertising agency. She next worked at the University of Colorado as an advertising coordinator for the environmental engineering program.

Hemm was inspired by a high school drama teacher to pursue her interests in theater. In 1992, Hemm created a women's historical performance organization, The Shady Ladies of the Central City Motherlode, in Boulder, Colorado. The Shady Ladies study the history of the western United States, present book reports, and write and perform plays about women in the nineteenth-century West. According to Hemm, "We talk about birth control, which piques everyone's interest. We talk about how options for women were very limited during Victorian times, that a woman was the property of her husband, that she didn't have the right to vote. It's exciting that we can make history interesting.

The Joan Hemm papers date from 1998 to 2004 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers consist of meeting records, newspaper clippings, club letters, and photographs of the Shady Ladies of the Central City Motherlode. This collection also includes the script and other records of "Parlour House," a play written and performed by the Shady Ladies. Photographs of Shady Ladies performers in their costumes complete the collection.
Janie Yates-Glandorf papers (IWA): Yates-Glandorf was one of Joan Hemm's teachers at City High School in Iowa City. The Yates-Glandorf collection includes correspondence between Hemm and Yates-Glandorf, along with photographs and a scrapbook of Hemm's wedding and work with the Shady Ladies.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Shady Ladies

  • Series 1: Shady Ladies
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 2002-2003
  • Minutes - 1999-2003
  • Newspaper clippings and publicity - 1998-2004
  • Parlour House - 2000-2001
  • Photographs - 2003