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MC 836

Heald, Jane Dewey. Papers of Jane Dewey Heald, 1920-2011: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 836
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Heald, Jane Dewey
Title: Papers of Jane Dewey Heald, 1920-2011
Date(s): 1920-2011
Quantity: 11.47 linear feet (27 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 5 photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, journals, and professional papers of Jane Dewey Heald, counselor and librarian

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 2012-M117, 2013-M142
The papers of Jane Dewey Heald were given by Jane Dewey Heald in July of 2012 and August 2013

Processing Information:

Processed: June 2017
By: Brett Freiburger, with assistance from Mark Vassar and Margaret Dalton.

Access Restrictions:

Access. While some material in the collection is unrestricted, access to the following requires the donor's written permission: personal journals (#8.12-16.5), correspondence with Peter Cross (#7.1-7.6, 7.8-7.9, 8.2-8.3), and correspondence with Carol Spargo Pierskalla (#6.1-6.2, 6.5-6.7, 7.7).
Should the donor's death occur before 2060, the above material will be closed from the date of her death until January 1, 2060.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jane Dewey Heald is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Restricted material may only be copied with the donor's permission, which is included in permission for access. Open material may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Jane Dewey Heald Papers, 1920-2011; item description, dates. MC 836, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Jane (Priscilla) Dewey Heald, daughter of Kirk Martin Dewey, a Congregational minister, and Grace Gray Thomas Dewey, was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, on March 19, 1931. She graduated as valedictorian from Sidney High School (Sidney, Montana) in 1948, afterward attending Oberlin College where she received a BA in history in 1952, spending a semester at the Hampton Institute, an historic black college in Virginia, in 1951. She married Mark Aiken Heald in 1952 and began courses at the New Haven State Teachers College (now Southern Connecticut State University) receiving a BS in education the following year. After completing her degree and teaching for several years, the couple settled in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where her husband was a professor at Swarthmore College and where she spent the 1960s caring for the couple's children: Kathryn (born 1956), John (born 1958), and Charles (born 1965). She completed a MS in library science from Drexel Library School in 1970, and worked as a reference librarian (1971-1978) at the J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester, Pennsylvania. During this period she was also a contributing editor to Photophile, an amateur photography magazine.
Heald attended her first class in Re-evaluation Counseling (RC) with Ruth Crouthamel in 1979 and continues to participate to the present time, at age 86. Re-evaluation Counseling began as a peer counseling method started by Harvey Jackins and others in the 1950s. Its underlying theory holds that bad and inappropriate behaviors are caused by the "restimulation" of past "hurts," physical or psychological trauma. Through peer counseling, which consists of joint session of split time where each counselor listens in a non-judgmental way as well as "contradicting" certain internal beliefs to facilitate "discharge,"these "hurts" can be "discharged" and the individual can relieve themselves of these harmful behaviors The ultimate goal is for individuals to realize their full intellectual ability since the "hurts" limit people to only a small percentage of their ability to function and enjoy life.
Heald and Carol Spargo Pierskalla, founded the National Support Center for Families of the Aging in 1981, and wrote and published Help for Families of the Aging. Heald continued her work on elder care models through the National Support Center for Families of the Aging through lectures, workshops, and publications throughout the mid-1980s, receiving the American Association of Retired People National Caregiver award in 1986. She resigned from the National Support Center for Families of the Aging the same year, founding Support Source in 1989 to continue her work in elder care. Also during this period, Heald began to participate in the Progoff Intensive Journal Program which is designed to use writing exercises on a various topics like health, sex, life's meaning, dreams, and personal relationships. These are all written down privately to help an individual gain awareness of the diversity of their lives, connect with their "real self," and to lead a more meaningful life. During the mid-1990s, Heald and her husband began searching for a retirement home, eventually moving to a retirement community in Present Hill, Tennessee, where she initiated a study of the Eden Alternative, a person-directed care model for the elderly that encourages lifelong learning and activity (2004). Heald also received the Council on Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ "Towel and Basin" award in 2009, and the Eden Elder Award at the International Eden Conference for her life's work in caring for elderly people in 2010. Heald continues to write and publish material on elder care, as well as pieces of fiction and poetry (one of which won a contest on Prairie Home Companion). Heald currently resides in Tennessee.


The collection is arranged in two series:


The papers of Patricia Dewey Heald consist of correspondence, personal journals, photographs, articles, workshop materials, etc. Much of the personal papers of Patricia Dewey Heald document her work in Re-evaluation Counseling and would be of interest to those studying peer counseling techniques. Also documented is her courtship with her husband Mark Heald. The bulk of her professional papers document her work with healthcare and aging.
Series I, Personal, 1948-2004 (#1.1-16.5, PD.1-PD.5), consists of letters between family and friends, holiday cards, personal journals, clippings, maps, photographs. Also included are Heald's personal correspondence with her parents beginning with her first semester in college (1948); with her future husband Mark Heald during their courting period in her last two years of college; and letters to Heald and Dewey family members after the couple's marriage. These letters discuss developments in Heald's hometown of Sidney, Montana; college life; progress at Oberlin College; her time at Hampton Institute; race; and personal issues; the couple's careers; and her relationship with her husband and the early years of their marriage. Correspondence with co-counselors in Re-Evaluation Counseling including Peter Cross, Joel Carrow, Ruth Crouthamel, and John Heron discusses counseling techniques; developments in Re-evaluation Counseling; personal problems; health and aging; family; and travel. Also documented in her correspondence are the subjects of elder care, aging, and writing and publishing for the National Support Center for Families of the Aging with Carol Spargo Pierskalla; religion and spirituality with Ralph Price; legal reform; and Re-evaluation Counseling techniques and religion with Hector Ayala, a prison inmate. Also included is a short note and correspondence on sailing, moving to Tennessee, and creativity. Her personal journals date from 1953-1956 and 1973-2004 and include topics such as religion; spirituality; aging and elder care; anger; finding happiness; women's roles in marriage; sex; counseling with peers and developments in the field; book reviews; workshop and publication ideas; courage; mental health; racism and racial and gender equality; and same-sex marriage. Some folders contain guides and reflections on their contents provided by Jane Heald. Heald's original folder titles were retained. Notations in square brackets were added by the processor. Series is arranged alphabetically and chronologically therein. Most of the photographs in this series are or will be digitized and available online.
Series II, Professional work, 1948-2011 (#16.6-20.8, FD.1), contains letters, articles, brochures, notebooks, calendars, manuscripts, facsimiles, maps, and photographs. Also included are drafts of Jane's resumes; workshop materials including manuals, workbooks, and journals for topics such as Re-Evaluation Counseling, Progoff Intensive Journal program, elder care, aging, interpersonal communication, and self-evaluation; manuscripts for published materials on elder care, religion, and photography; scripts of audio books; drafts of books and articles by Jane Heald on caring for Alzheimer's patients, religion, spirituality, fiction, and poetry, speeches given by Jane and Carol Pierskalla on elder care and aging; articles, clippings, and correspondence on a variety of topics, mostly covering elder care, aging, love, coping. affirmations, grief, religion, spirituality, public policy; future book and audiovisual ideas; photography notes, correspondence, and publications for Photophile; honors and degrees received, etc. Some folders contain guides and reflections on their contents provided by Jane Heald. Heald's original folder titles were retained with processor's notations appearing in square brackets. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Caregivers--Services for--United States
Librarians--United States
Older people--Care
Re-evaluation counseling--United States
Women--Religious life
National Support Center for Families of the Aged