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Jack, Jill, 1957-



  • Existence: 1957-


Political activist Jill Jack was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1957 to Mary T. (Hayes) Jack and James A. Jack, a detective in the Chicago police department. Jill Jack's parents divorced when she was young, and Jack and her two older brothers were raised by their mother, who was an office manager. Jack graduated from Taft High School in Chicago and moved to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1975 to attend the University of Iowa; she received a BA in 1981 and an MA in 1985. In 1995, Jack earned an MLS from Indiana University. Jack and her partner, Diane Finnerty, have one daughter, Jennifer. Jack and Finnerty were the second couple to register with the city of Iowa City as domestic partners.

Jill Jack's political activism began in the civil rights, anti-war, and environmental movements of the 1960s and 1970s, which led her to work on George McGovern's presidential campaign in 1972. After she moved to Iowa City, Jack became involved with the feminist and lesbian movements. She worked with organizations such as the Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) and the Iowa City-based publication Common Lives/Lesbian Lives, and on issues and projects including Women Take Back the Night, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Safe Ride, and the domestic violence shelter. Jack headed the Lesbian Alliance from 1978 to 1992, and co-founded the local Gay/Lesbian Pride month celebration. In addition, Jack worked at the Plains Woman Bookstore and played on softball teams sponsored by the Emma Goldman Clinic, Plains Woman Bookstore, and WRAC. Jack's political work illuminates the connections among peace, women's, gay, environmental, racial, and economic issues.

Jack's professional work has included diverse jobs such as factory worker, waitress, bookseller, and office worker. After receiving her degree in library science, Jack worked as a librarian at Cornell College, the State Historical Society of Iowa, and Kirkwood Community College. Jack became the "unofficial" historian of the women's and lesbian community in Iowa City, collecting and saving papers and posters documenting that community's activities, struggles, and triumphs. In 1995, she began her own business, Paper Trails, as a freelance archivist and consultant.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Catherine Lewis papers

Identifier: IWA0217

Interviews and field reports prepared by Lewis for the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklore.

Dates: 1995

Jill Jack papers

Identifier: IWA0519

Iowa City political activist.

Dates: 1967-2006

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1961-1970 1
1971-1980 1
1991-2000 1
2001-2010 1
20th century 1