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Jean Shoots papers

Identifier: IWA0308

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Scope and Contents

The Jean Shoots papers date from 1990 to 1998 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers also include some undated material. The collection consists primarily of photocopied items, yet also includes audiovisual material. Two videocassettes comprise the collection: the first features Shoots reading two of her stories, "Dogs and Cats "and "Cousins," on the Iowa City public cable-access program, "Open Channel, "and the second is Shoots's presentation of an excerpt from her public-access cable television show "Letters to My Sister." A copy of the introduction of Shoots at this program, which was a Black History Month event at the Iowa City Johnson County Senior Center, is also included in the collection. The papers also contain newspaper clippings, a biographical sketch about Shoots, a photograph of Shoots accepting the Governor's volunteer award from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and the award itself. Other contents include five of Shoots's short stories, correspondence, and an introduction of Shoots, who introduced University of Iowa law professor Adrien Wing at a 1997 lecture.


  • Creation: 1990-1998


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of all literary material created by the donor has been retained by the donor and her heirs.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Jean McDonald Shoots, an African-American nurse, volunteer, writer, and performer, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on April 12, 1926, to George Edward and Christina Robinson McDonald. During the Depression, in the early 1930s, Jean McDonald and her family were sent to live in a tented community in Dennison, Iowa, where men were constructing buildings for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). As a girl, Jean McDonald and her sisters performed as a song-and-dance group. They were featured in their own fifteen-minute radio show in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Jean McDonald went on to marry and became known as Jean Shoots. She had one son. Jean Shoots received her practical nursing degree from a school for special surgery in New York City after receiving her general equivalency diploma (GED). She later earned a degree in registered nursing from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Shoots spent most of her career as a registered nurse in Iowa City, Iowa, including several years at the Veterans' Hospital and at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

After her retirement from nursing, Shoots volunteered her time with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)and the Youth and Elderly in Service program (YES) in Iowa City, Iowa. She also served on the Citizen's Advisory Committee of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. She received an award from Governor Terry Branstad at the Governor's Annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony in 1997. In 1998, she was the keynote speaker at a University of Iowa Community Convocation in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Week. Shoots also became active in the creative arts in Iowa City: she wrote short stories, acted in the Seniors Standing Room Only (SSRO)group, and performed in the Iowa City public-access television shows, "Open Channel" and "Letters to My Sister."


1.00 linear inch

2 videocassettes (2 videocassettes [V126 and V192])

Language of Materials



Writer, performer, volunteer, and nurse in Iowa City.


Two folders, shelved in SCVF.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 422) were donated by Jean Shoots in 1997 and succeeding years.

Kristen Rassbach, 1997; Kate Jones, 1998; Kathryn Neal, 1998.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)