»PAPERS, DATES:»1990-1998

QUANTITY:»1 linear inch and audiovisual material




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


The »papers are open for research.


»Two videocassettes shelved in the videocassette collection (V126 and V192).


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


Your name, year»Kristen Rassbach, 1997; Kate Jones, 1998.


Kathryn Neal, August 1998. [ShootsJean.doc]



            Begin text here:»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.”


Scope and Content Note


            Begin text here: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.



Related collections

Janie B. Yates papers


Box no.           Description


Box 1

Biographical sketch, undated

Poster:  “In Our Midst,” Black History Month event featuring    Kathryn Neal,  Iowa Women’s Archives, Iowa City/Johnson    County Senior Center, 1998

Correspondence, 1994-1997

Governor’s Volunteer Award and photograph, 1997

Introduction of Shoots

Adrien Wing lecture, 1997

“Letters to My Sister:  A Special Reading Honoring the Civil

   Rights Struggle and For My People, A Poem by Margaret

   Walker, Black History Month event featuring Jean Shoots,

    Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, 1998

Letters to the editor, 1995 and undated

University of Iowa Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Week

   Community Convocation Program, 1998

Newspaper clippings, 1990-1998 and undated

“Nostalgia,” WMT Radio reading, undated

Senior Standing Room Only performance schedule, 1995

Short Stories

“The Family,” 1992

“The Words,” 1994

“Baby Dear’s Party,” 1996

“Sometime--Just Once You Take a Stand,” 1997

“The Graduation,” 1997

“Shopping,” 1998


“Open Channel,” 1996 (VHS 13 minutes) [shelved in

videocassette collection: V126]

A reading from “Letters to My Sister,” 1998 (VHS 25 minutes)

[shelved in videocassette collection: V192]

Photograph:  Jean Shoots at African-American Read-In, South

East Junior High School, Iowa City, Iowa, 1998