Joanne Kilgour Dowdy papers, circa 1975-2017

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Dowdy, Joanne Kilgour.
Title: Joanne Kilgour Dowdy papers, circa 1975-2017
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1435
Extent: 10.75 linear feet (12 boxes), 2 oversized papers boxes (OP), AV Masters: 5 linear feet (5 boxes), and 582 MB born digital material (1,260 files)
Abstract:Papers of Trinidadian actor, dancer, and educator, Joanne Kilgour Dowdy, including journals, professional papers, audiovisual material, and born digital material.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this material.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Access to processed born digital materials is only available in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (the Rose Library). Use of the original digital media is restricted.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Special restrictions apply: Per donor request, the audiovisual material in this collection may be accessed only in the reading room. The Rose Library cannot provide copies to patrons for personal study or educational purposes.

Photographs in OP2 may not be photographed, photocopied, or digitized.


Gift of Joanne Kilgour Dowdy, 2017.

Custodial History

Joanne Kilgour Dowdy packed the collection in her home and shipped the material to the Rose Library.


[after identification of item(s)], Joanne Kilgour Dowdy papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Pellom McDaniels, III, Curator of African American collections, acquired the collection as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American and African diasporic art and theater. One copy of Ancestral Dialogues: The Photographs by Albert Chong was removed from the collection and discarded. Because the book had been wet, the clay coated paper pages were stuck together and could not be separated by conservation staff. Appraisal decisions were made by Manuscript Archivist Sarah Quigley.


Arranged and described at the box level by Sarah Quigley, April 2018.

Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Brenna Edwards, 2020. Born digital materials include files taken from 21 3.5" floppy disks, 3 Zip disks, and 12 optical discs.

Forensic disk images were created from the floppy disks using Kryoflux and from the Zip disks and optical discs using GuyMager. Individual files were extracted using FTK Imager and scanned for viruses using McAfee’s anti-virus software; none were found. Duplicate and system files have been removed, and files were scanned for personally identifiable information; none were found. Text-based files were migrated to PDF using Adobe Acrobat and image files were migrated to JPG using Microsoft Paint. File dates have been changed from the original creation date. Access copies retain original folder titles and file names.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Joanne Kilgour Dowdy (1959-) was born to Lennox Kilgour and Kathleen Kilgour in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on November 22, 1959. She attended Holy Name Convent Secondary School (Port of Spain, Trinidad) and began performing with the Trinidad and Tobago Television Workshop (later known as Banyan TV) while still a student. In 1982, she moved to the United States to attend the Boston Conservatory (Massachusetts) where she was mentored by poet, Derek Walcott. After one year, she transferred to the Julliard School (New York, New York), earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater in 1987. The next year, she completed a master's degree in teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University (New York, New York) and went on to complete a Ph.D. in Literacy Studies at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) in 1997. Dowdy was Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and an Associate Professor at Georgia State University (Atlanta) from 1997-2001 and has been a professor of adolescent and adult literacy at Kent State University (Kent, Ohio) since 2001. She has published works on literacy and teaching, as well as a memoir entitled In the Public Eye (2009). The memoir is a book of photography with extensive captions documenting her life as a performer.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Joanne Kilgour Dowdy from circa 1975-2017 and includes journals, professional papers, printed material, photographs, audiovisual and born digital material. Professional papers are primarily comprised of subject and teaching files relating to Dowdy's scholarship and work at Kent State University. Audiovisual material includes recordings used in Dowdy's research, as well as recordings of Dowdy's work as a dancer and actor. Printed material consists of clippings about Dowdy and promotional material for her work. Born digital material includes photographs, transcripts, and writings.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Finding Aid Note

An inventory of numbered audiovisual recordings is available from the repository by request.

Selected Search Terms

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
RRL Access copies of processed born digital material [Reading room access ONLY]
BD1 - Born digital material, 2000-2013 [21 3.5" floppy disks, 3 Zip disks, and 12 optical discs]
OP2 - Degrees
1 - Journals, 2002-2007
2 - Journals, 2006-2001
3 - Journals, 2012-2014
4 - Journals, 2010-2011 and 2015-2016
12 - Kent State University diversity award
OP1 1 Photographs
4 - Professional papers [1]
5 - Professional papers [2]
6 - Professional papers [3]
7 - Professional papers [4]
8 - Professional papers [5]
9 - Professional papers [6]
10 - Professional papers [7]
11 - Professional papers [8]
11 - Printed material [1]
12 - Printed material [2]
OP2 1 Printed material [3]
12 - Photographs
OP2 1 Scrapbook
AV1 - Tapes 1-33 [33 VHS, and 7 DVD]
AV2 - Tapes 34-66 [33 VHS, 1 Betamax SP, and 6 DVD]
AV3 - Tapes 67-93 and 101-104 [33 VHS, 1 Betamax SP, and 4 DVD]
AV4 - Tapes 100 and 105-133 [35 VHS and 8 DVD]
AV5 - Tapes 94-96, 98-99, 134-137, 158 and unnumbered tapes [14 VHS, 23 DVD, 14 Mini DV, 23 audiocassettes, and 6 CD]