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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Josephine Marie Pletscher papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1922-2015
Creator: Pletscher, Josephine Marie (1918-2013)
Extent: 3.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0913
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Artist, librarian, and student of Corita Kent.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs, slides, and audiovisual materials.

Access: The papers are open for research.

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

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 1237) were donated by Kimberly Kirkpatrick Sparling and Ann Sayler In loving honor of Josephine Marie Pletscher, artist, Iowan, and student of Corita Kent.

Preferred Citation: Josephine Marie Pletscher 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

Josephine Pletscher, artist and librarian, was born in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1917, and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1935, Pletscher studied at Drake University. She later worked as a sales representative for Addressograph Multigraph, a company that produced address labeling machines, in Des Moines.

In 1959, Pletscher decided to formally pursue her interest in fine arts. She moved to Los Angeles and enrolled as an art student at Immaculate Heart College, a Catholic college that was home to a lively and close-knit art department. At Immaculate Heart, Pletscher studied under art professor Corita Kent (then Sister Mary Corita Kent), whose influence left a lasting mark on Pletscher's own artistic sensibilities. She received her bachelors' degree from the college in 1962 and her masters' degree from the same institution in 1964.

While working as a fine arts reference librarian at the Pasadena Public Library, as well as libraries at Rio Hondo College and Santa Monica Community College, Pletscher continued to make art. Her preferred medium was the serigraph, but she was well-known among her friends and colleagues for her hand-designed Christmas cards. She exhibited her serigraphs at a variety of venues in southern California and central Iowa, as well as Japan and Germany. In 2011, Pletscher self-published her first children's book, The Little Doves, which was followed by her second book Hobo in Hollywood, in 2012. Josephine Pletscher died in 2013.

The Josephine Pletscher Papers date from 1922 to 2010 and measure 3.5 linear feet, with the majority of the materials dating from the mid-1950s and later. The collection reflects both Pletscher's interest in the career of her mentor and friend, Corita Kent, as well as her lasting connection to Immaculate Heart College. Over the course of several decades, Pletscher amassed a variety of materials related to Immaculate Heart College and Corita Kent. Her "Corita archive" became well-known among her former Immaculate Heart classmates, who then forwarded Pletscher their own keepsakes and other materials of interest.

The collection is arranged into ten series: Biographical Information, Correspondence, Immaculate Heart College, Corita Kent, Research Files, Photographs, Slides, Artwork, Artifacts, and Books.

The Biographical Information series includes information relating to Corita Kent as well as her extended family. Folders include obituaries of Corita Kent and her older sister, Sister Mary Ruth Kent, as well as family trees and pedigrees drawn up in the early 2000s. The series also includes a binder of newspaper clippings and family materials, gathered and put together by Pletscher.

The Correspondence series contains correspondence to Josephine Pletscher from friends and former classmates from Immaculate Heart College. It includes a small number of letters from Corita Kent, as well as Kent's brother, Mark. Much of this series consists of correspondence between Pletscher and Sister Mary Ruth Kent. The two began writing in 1986, shortly after Corita Kent's death, and continued to write to one another until Sister Mary Ruth's death in 2004.

Pletscher's relationship to Immaculate Heart College as both a student and an alumna is reflected in the third series, Immaculate Heart College. Reflecting Pletscher's time as a student, the series includes brochures, posters, and flyers produced by the Department of Fine Arts, as well as newspaper clippings about the college's fine arts department as well as its religious sisters. Copies of the IHC newsletters Comment, Irregular Bulletin, Tower Tattler, and Reunion, further provide a window into the life of the college in the 1960s.

Pletscher's alumna connection is reflected in newspaper clippings and alumni newsletters, dating from 1980 to the mid-2000s. Many of these discuss the closing of Immaculate Heart College in 1981, and the activities of its successor institution, the Immaculate Heart College Center, which itself closed in 2000.

The fourth series, Corita Kent, focuses on Corita Kent's career, and includes exhibit brochures, art sale flyers, price lists, and some examples of commissioned artwork. A rich variety of magazine and newspaper articles not only trace Kent's career, but also speak to her place in the cultural zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s.  Also included are materials and correspondence relating to various academic and creative projects based on Kent's life; these include a doctoral dissertation, a play, and a PBS documentary, Primary Colors.

The Research Files series contains Pletscher's handwritten notes and research into Corita Kent's life and work. These notes were either compiled by Josephine Pletscher, or given to her by Sister Mary Ruth Kent. Some undated drafts and articles which may have been part of a book about Corita Kent are also included in this series.

Visual material is included in both the Photographs and Slides series. These both include photographs and slides of Corita Kent's artwork, as well as Immaculate Heart College. The Photographs series also includes several photographs of Kent's extended family.

The Artwork series comprises artwork by both Corita Kent and Josephine Pletscher. It includes twenty-seven serigraphs by Corita Kent, mostly dating from 1957 to the mid-1960s.  It also includes twenty-one titled serigraphs by Josephine Pletscher, which date from 1961 to 1964. The series also includes a number of untitled serigraphs from the same period, as well as Christmas cards and miscellaneous artwork created by Pletscher from the 1960s to the mid-2000s.

The Artifacts series is composed of two items: a 1979 "I Love You Very" collector's plate, and Corita Kent's personal rosary beads, which were given to Pletscher by Sister Mary Ruth Kent. Books written or illustrated by Corita Kent form the bulk of the Books series, as well as several books tackling religious themes.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 3: IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE
Series 4: CORITA KENT
Series 5: RESEARCH FILES
Series 6: PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 7: SLIDES
Series 8: ARTWORK
Series 9: ARTIFACTS
Series 10: BOOKS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Career of Josephine Pletscher - 1990-2007
  • Corita Kent: biographical information
    Audiocassette
  • Corita Kent: copy of will - 1986
  • Corita Kent: obituary and memorial service - 1986
  • Kent family genealogy - 2002
  • Kent family newspaper clippings - 1922-1987
  • Kent family pedigree - 2001
  • Sister Mary Ruth Kent, obituary and memorial services - 2004
  • Binder of Kent family materials - 2002
  • Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • General - 1956-2008
  • Lucia Capaccione - 2000
  • Corita Kent - 1967-1982
  • Mark Kent - 1962-1986
  • Box 2:
  • Sister Mary Ruth Kent - 1986-1994
  • Sister Mary Ruth Kent - 1995-1999
  • Sister Mary Ruth Kent - 2000-2004
  • Lisa Mitchell - 1991-2003
  • Irene O'Garden - 2000-2003
  • Series 3: IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE
  • Box 2:
  • General - 1973, 1980-1985
  • Christmas cards - 1962-1969
  • Class notes and journal, undated
  • Closing of Immaculate Heart College - 1980, 1998
  • Closing of Immaculate Heart College: newspaper clippings - 1980
  • Corita Art Center - 2000-2003
  • Corita Kent Peace Awards - 1998-1991
  • Box 3:
  • Department of Fine Arts - 1958-1980
  • Department of Fine Arts: art sales - 1958-1975
  • Department of Fine Arts: exhibits and shows by IHC art students - 1958-1966
  • Department of Fine Arts: "Mosaics for Everyone" - 1958
  • Department of Fine Arts: Mademoiselle write-up - 1961
  • Department of Fine Arts: newspaper clippings - 1952-1965
  • MA program in Feminist Spirituality - 1998-1999
  • Mary's Day events - 1964
  • Newspaper clippings - 1966-2000
  • Newsletters: IHC Alumni Association newsletters - 1992-2000
  • Newsletters: IHC Comment - 1962-1963
  • Newsletters: IHC Comment - 1961-1968
    Shelved in box 11
  • Newsletters: IHC Reunion - 1964
    Shelved in box 11
  • Newsletters: Immaculate Heart Community News - 1991-1996
  • Box 4:
  • Newsletters: Immaculate Heart Community News - 1997-2007
  • Newsletters: Irregular Bulletin - 1958-1959
  • Newsletters: Irregular Bulletin - 1961
  • Newsletters: Irregular Bulletin - 1963
    Shelved in box 11
  • Newsletters: Tower Tattler - 1959-1961
    Shelved in box 11
  • School of Library Science - 1959-1966
  • Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - 1957-2000
  • Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: newspaper clippings - 1968-1993
  • Sister Magdalen Mary - 1957-1995
  • Box 5:
  • Sister Magdalen Mary: article in Texas Quarterly - 1962
  • Sister Magdalen Mary: "Maggie at dinner," undated
    Audiocassette
  • School of Library Science - 1959-1966
  • Special events - 1960-1999
  • Series 4: CORITA KENT
  • Box 5:
  • Book proposal - 1989
  • Boston gas tank - 1971-1977
  • Commissioned artwork (2 folders) - 1966-1985
  • Commissioned artwork: advertisements - 1967-1972
  • Commissioned artwork: advertisement in Lookmagazine - 1968
    Shelved in box 11
  • Commissioned artwork: International Dining With Spice Islands - 1963
  • Box 6:
  • Dissertation about Corita Kent - 2000
  • Dissertation about Corita Kent: correspondence - 1999-2000
  • Exhibits and shows - 1954-2010
  • Exhibits and shows: sales, undated
  • Exhibits and shows: UCLA exhibit - 2000
  • Box 7:
  • Interviews with Corita Kent - 1965, 1984
  • Interviews with Corita Kent: 50th birthday interview - 1967
    Videocassette
  • Interviews with Corita Kent: about creative process, undated
  • Little Heart, play by Irene O'Garden - 2006
  • Learning by Heart: correspondence and notes - 1980-1991
  • Learning by Heart: draft edited by Josephine Pletscher - 1991
  • Learning by Heart: publicity - 1992
  • Love stamp - 1985
  • Magazine articles - 1965-1967
  • Magazine articles - 1967-1970
  • Magazine articles - 1970-1980
  • Magazine articles: Newsweek - 1967-1968
  • Magazine articles: Saturday Evening Post - 1961
    Shelved in box 11
  • Box 8:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1961-1966
  • Newspaper clippings - 1966-1973
  • Newspaper clippings - 1974-2007
  • Newspaper clippings: California Living - 1968
    Shelved in box 11
  • Newspaper clippings: Pletscher card catalogue, undated
  • Price lists - 1961-1980
  • Primary Colors (documentary) - 1991
    Videocassette
  • Primary Colors (documentary): correspondence and publicity - 1989-1992
  • Primary Colors (documentary): introduction by Jeffrey Hayden - 1990
    Audiocassette
  • Primary Colors (documentary): remarks by Jeffrey Hayden - 1990
    Audiocassette
  • Prints and postcards, undated
  • Published works by Corita Kent - 1960-1970
  • Published works: Moments - 1982
    Shelved in box 12
  • Published works: Sister Corita - 1967
    Shelved in box 12
  • Series 5: RESEARCH FILES
  • Box 9:
  • General, undated
  • Drafts prepared by Josephine Pletscher, undated
  • Given to Pletscher by Sister Mary Ruth Kent - 1990-2000
  • Series 6: PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 9:
  • Artwork by Corita Kent, undated
  • Immaculate Heart College - 1960-1970
  • Kent family, undated
  • Sister Magdalen Mary - 1991
  • Unidentified photographs, undated
  • Series 7: SLIDES
  • Box 9:
  • Artwork by Corita Kent, undated
    Shelved in slide collection
  • Corita Kent - 1991
    Shelved in slide collection
  • Immaculate Heart College, undated
  • Immaculate Heart High School mosaics, undated
  • Series 8: ARTWORK
  • Box 10:
  • Books by Josephine Pletscher - 2011-2012
  • Christmas cards by Josephine Pletscher - 1973, 1984, 1988-1992, 2003
  • Christmas cards by Josephine Pletscher, undated
  • "This is a Library" poster and mockup, undated
  • Miscellaneous artwork by Josephine Pletscher, undated
    Some shelved in box 12
  • Kent, Corita. Assumption. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
  • Kent, Corita. Bajo el Sol. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Christmas. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Custodiat. Serigraph on paper. - 1957
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Each a Heart. Serigraph on paper - 1961
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. In the Beginning. Serigraph on paper. - 1956
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Jacobs Ladder. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Lovestamp, first day of issue - 1985
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Luke 2, 19, 51. Serigraph on paper. - 1963
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Madonna. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Magpie in the Sky. Serigraph on paper. - 1961
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. May the Winds Blow Sweetly. Serigraph on paper. - 1982
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Passion. Pair of serigraphs on paper. - 1960
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Pigeons on the Green Alas. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. She Brought Forth a Son. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Seven Swords. Serigraph on paper. - 1957
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Someday is Now. Serigraph on paper. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. The Baby. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. The Desert Pastures are Blooming. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. The Valleys Covered with Grain. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Towers. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Untitled, quote from Ugo Betti. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Untitled, quote from Ugo Betti. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Vision of Ezechiel 1:4. Serigraph on paper. - 1961
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Wedding Blessing. Serigraph on paper. - 1957
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Wonderbread. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Words of the Angel. Serigraph on paper, c. 1960.
    Shelved in map case
  • Kent, Corita. Yellow Spring. Serigraph on paper. - 1960
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Cells. Serigraph on paper. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Field Day. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. High Above. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Jonah. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Light of the World. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Little Man. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Naturlich Naturally. Set of 6. Serigraphs on paper. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Primitive King. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Southward Flight. Serigraph on paper. - 1961
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Summer Ends. Serigraph on paper. - 1961
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Summer Shadows. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. The Flowers That Appear on the Earth. Serigraph on paper. - 1962
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. The King Comes. Serigraph on paper. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. The Orange Fields. Serigraph on paper. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Tree of Life. Serigraph on vellum. - 1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Pletscher, Josephine. Untitled. Serigraphs on paper. - 1961-1964
    Shelved in map case
  • Series 9: ARTIFACTS
  • Box 13:
  • "I Love You Very" plate - 1979
  • Rosary beads
  • Series 10: BOOKS
  • Ault, Julie. Come Alive: The Spirited Art of Sister Corita. - 2007
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Berrigan, Daniel. Love, Love at the End: Parables, Prayers, and Meditations. - 1968
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Berrigan, Daniel. They Call Us Dead Men: Reflections on Life and Conscience. - 1966
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Caspary, Anita M. Witness to Integrity: The Crisis of the Imaculate Heart Community of California. - 2003
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Dammann, April. Corita Kent. Art and Soul. The Biography. - 2015
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Evans, Fallon. Pistols and Pedagogues. - 1963
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Huckaby, Gerald, and Corita Kent. City, Uncity. - 1969
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Kent, Corita. Damn Everything But The Circus. - 1970
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Kent, Corita, and Jan Steward. Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit. - 1992
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Kent, Corita, and Jan Steward. Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit, 2nd ed. - 2007
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Pintauro, Joseph, and Sister Corita. To Believe in God. - 1968
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Pintauro, Joseph, and Corita Kent. To Believe in Man. - 1970
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Pintauro, Joseph, and Corita Kent. To Believe in Things. - 1971
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Rainwater, Janette. You're in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist. - 1979
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Sister Corita. Footnotes and Headlines: A Play-Pray Book. - 1967
    Shelved in printed works collection
  • Williams, Sheila Quinlan. The Unholy Darkness: An Autobiography. - 2002
    Shelved in printed works collection

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.