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Phyllis Harper-Bardach papers

Identifier: IWA0319

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Scope and Contents

The Phyllis Harper-Bardach papers date from 1940 to 1998 and measure 18 linear inches. The papers are arranged in five series: Biography,Professional Life, Correspondence, Photographs, and Artifacts.

The Biography series primarily consists of papers relating to Harper-Bardach's education, including primary and secondary school, and her post-secondary education at Howard University and the University of Iowa. Also included in the biography section are three vitae, the most recent one dated 1985. The biography series concludes with a scrapbook that Harper-Bardach kept on her son Freeman's education. Born deaf, Freeman's educational opportunities and progress were closely monitoredby his mother.

The series, Professional Life, consists of the papers Harper-Bardach kept regarding her teaching career, her participation on state and national boards, conferences and workshops she both participated in and attended, papers she presented and had published, certificates she earned, and various notes, resources, and abstracts she collected. Of particular interest is her article "A Visible Speech Device" in the Volta Review, 1970, which gained national attention and the various presentations she made regarding parental involvementin the education of hearing impaired children. Also included in the Professional series are numerous newspaper articles written about Harper-Bardach, her achievements and appointments, and several newspaper articles that she saved pertaining to programs for the deaf. A small scrapbook contains both journal and newspaper articles that Harper-Bardach preserved.

The Correspondence series is divided into personal and professional correspondence. The bulk of the series contains professional correspondence spanning thirty years from1960-1990. Also included are thank-you letters, invitations to serve on national committees, including the National Implementation Advisory Council of the White House Conference Action Unit, andletters from parents of deaf children who had either met or heard of Harper-Bardach and her work.

Most of the photographs in the Photograph series are of Harper-Bardach working with unidentified children. Also included is a photograph of Harper-Bardach's doctoral commencement from the University of Iowa, 1980 and a photograph of Harper-Bardach with then-governor Terry Branstad, receiving the Governor's Volunteer Award in 1998.

The Artifacts include memorabilia from Harper-Bardach's days at Curtis High School in New York. They include a 1945 yearbook, her letters forsoftball and basketball, and an athletic medal. Also included is the 1973 yearbook for the Illinois School for the Deaf, which is dedicated to Harper-Bardach.


  • Creation: 1940-1998


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

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

Phyllis Margaret Freeman was born on January 3, 1928 in Staten Island, New York. Freeman attended Curtis High School where she served as captain of the undefeated girl's basketball team during her senior year. Freeman graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a B.A. in Spanish in 1948, followed by a wedding on June 12 to William H. Harper, Jr.

The Harper's had three children, the youngest of whom was born deaf. As a result of her son Freeman's disability, Harper earned an M.A. in Deaf Education at Columbia University in New York City in 1959. She achieved a doctorate in Educational Administration at the University of Iowa in 1980. Harper's early professional life was focused around the education of deaf children, incorporating a pedagogy that included parents' participation.

Harper taught in the Quincy, Illinois school district from 1959-1966. She supervised the Parent-Pupil Tutor Program at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, Illinois from 1966-1972, where she drew national attention for her article "A Visible Speech Aid" in The Volta Review. During the summers between 1961 and 1975, Harper was a lecturer on Parent Education Guidance and Counseling at the Summer Institute for Parents' and Preschool Deaf Children in Illinois. In 1975, Harper became an itinerant teacher for the hearing impaired in the Lee County, Iowa public school system. From 1975-1977 she was also the supervisor of the Hearing Conservation/Education Services in Ft. Madison, Iowa. Harper served as a lecturer, supervisor, coordinator, teacher and consultant at the University of Iowa from 1977 until her retirement in 1990.

Harper's knowledge and experience placed her on several state and national boards including: the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, TRIPOD (support service for hearing impaired individuals and their families), the National Advisory Committee on Individuals with Disabilities, the National Planning and Advisory Council for the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals, the Parent Committee of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, the Iowa Council on Speech, Hearing and Language Disorders, and the National Advisory Group for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

After being widowed for several years, Harper married Janusz Bardach, a plastic surgeon in 1981. Janusz Bardach died on August 16, 2002. Before he died, he received critical success as an author, particularly for his memoirs as a prisoner in the Soviet gulag, Kolyma. Since her retirement in 1990, Harper-Bardach has been active in volunteer activities at area schools and with Speak Up! Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). In 1998, Harper-Bardach was one of several Johnson County seniors who received awards from then-Governor Terry Branstad in recognition of their service to nonprofit agencies. Phyllis Harper-Bardach passed away in 2015.


18.00 linear inches

Photographs in Box 3, 2 videocassettes [V263, V264] boxes

Language of Materials



Educator of hearing-impaired children and retired professor of Education at the University of Iowa.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 436) were donated by Phyllis Harper-Bardach in 1997.

Related Materials

Virginia Harper papers (IWA) and Lois Eichacker papers (IWA):  Phyllis Harper-Bardach's first husband was a cousin to Virginia Harper and Lois Harper Eichacker.

Lisa Mott, 2002.
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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)