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Elayne Zalis papers

Identifier: IWA0566

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Scope and Contents

The Elayne Zalis papers date from 1992 to 2006 and measure 2.5 linear inches. The bulk of the collection consists of her written work and includes the manuscripts of both of her unpublished novels. "Vagabond Scribe (Leah's Backstory)," an extension of Zalis's doctoral dissertation, uses multimedia approaches to women's autobiographies and explores the roles played by personal and public archives. It draws upon material from Zalis's own personal archives and may be seen as a prequel to "Arella's Repertoire." Zalis describes the technical and creative processes through which she created "Vagabond Scribe" in her essay, "Video-Graphic Alchemy: Transforming 'Dear Diary.'" Summaries of her novels and two strips of color photographs of Zalis, taken in photo booths, complete the collection.


  • Creation: 1992-2006


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been retained by the donor.

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

Elayne Zalis, writer and multimedia artist, was born in Miami, Florida, in 1953. She received her BA in 1975 from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and studied library science at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1976. After receiving her MA in journalism and scriptwriting at the University of Florida in 1983, Zalis enrolled at the University of Iowa, where she worked with the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries on its Artists Television Project. In 1993, she completed her PhD at the University of Iowa in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on humanities and the media arts. She then completed two novels, the first of which developed from her doctoral dissertation, "Reconfiguring Autobiographical Scenes: Intermedia Convergences and Women´s Texts." Zalis moved to southern California, and in 2005 she earned a certificate from the Advanced Oral History Summer Institute at the University of California in Berkeley.


2.50 linear inches

Language of Materials



Writer and multimedia artist who received her doctorate from the University of Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1030) were donated by Elayne Zalis in 2006.


Ashley Goulden, 2007.
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Script of description
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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)