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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Bonnie Kern papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 2004-2009
Creator: Kern, Bonnie (1945-)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0797
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Iowa author who was a victim of sexual and physical abuse, served time in jail and eventually was pardoned.

Arrangement: Bonnie Kern's book, Proclivity, is shelved in the printed works collection in IWA.




Preferred Citation:

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Bonnie Kern was born in Dexter, Iowa, in 1945. She completed her BA in Sociology at Drake University in 2000 and an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling, also from Drake University, in 2009. A victim of physical and sexual abuse throughout her childhood, Kern was sentenced to prison for writing a bad check in 1963, two years after the death of her nine-month-old daughter in a car accident. She was released in 1969, the first woman in Iowa to be placed on the work release program. Her citizenship was restored in 1974 and eight years later she received an executive pardon. In 2007, Bonnie Kern published her book, Proclivity, a fictionalized memoir detailing sexual abuse, the death of her mother and daughter, and how Kern dealt with these issues afterward.

The Bonnie Kern papers date from 2004 to 2009 and measure 5 linear inches. The papers are arranged in two series: Biographical (2004-2010) and Proclivity (2007-2008). The Biographical series contains information about Kern's education, her work as a commercial truck driver, letters of reference, and articles about her writing. The Proclivity series provides insight into the writing, editing, and publication of her novel, Proclivity including both published and unpublished reviews and responses.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • General - 2004-2009
  • Employment - 2004-2009
  • Education - 2006-2009
  • Professional organizations - 2007-2009
  • Series 2: PROCLIVITY
  • Box 1:
  • Publishing - 2007
  • Publicity and reviews - 2007-2008