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Northeast Indiana Diversity Library collection

Identifier: L747

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises the records and collections of the Northeast Indiana Diversity Library (NIDL) from Fort Wayne, Indiana, a non-profit organization that served the local LGBTQ community, documented its history, and collected books, periodicals, pamphlets, manuscript collections, ephemera, and other items relating to the queer experience. The dates for the materials range from 1919 to 2023.

Record group 1 contains the financial and organizational documents of the Northeast Indiana Diversity Library and its previous incarnations as Gay Lesbian Organization and Up The Stairs Community Center. Many records comprise correspondence, planning and project documents, programs, minutes, bylaws and policies, ephemera, reports, receipts, and bank statements. There are also documents reflective of the organization as a working library, such as forms, labels, policies and procedures, articles, inventories, and statistics.

Series 2 and 3 are the periodicals published by the organization, TROIS from 1980 to 1987 and Rainbow Reader from 1997 to 2007.

The subject files in Series 4 exist predominantly as they were created by the Northeast Indiana Diversity Library. They contain newspaper clippings, articles, newsletters, flyers and other documents both from organizations and collected on subjects such as AIDS, aging, cities, political figures, and more.

Series 5 contains material reflective of community activities, calendars, events, businesses, individuals' hobbies and clubs, education, and creation. There are photographs, flyers, invitations, information and directories, and other miscellaneous materials.

Series 6 consists of published works on various subjects. Formats include books, periodicals and magazines, and various audiovisual formats.

The realia in Series 7 has material that would have been seen and used inside the community center or library, as well as items created by individuals and organizations for events, businesses, and causes.

Series 8, the periodicals library, comprises NIDL's circulating portion of the magazines, journals, and newspapers related to Indiana and the Midwest region.

Record group 2 comprises the papers of Joan Uebelhoer, a discrete manuscript collection which was donated to NIDL late in her life and made part of its holdings. The collection largely documents her careers as a math teacher, part-time professor of the Women's Studies Program at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), Planned Parenthood clinic director, and social services manager; her activism in women's rights, particularly regarding the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights, and other social movements; and her involvement with numerous local and national women's organizations, including the Fort Wayne Feminists and Fort Wayne Women's Bureau.

Series 1 encompasses Uebelhoer's personal papers, ranging from 1970 to 2012 and undated, which include correspondence, papers, scrapbooks, clippings, legal documents, travel journals and souvenirs, essays, speeches, performance scripts mostly used at feminist coffeehouses, photographs, and papers from friends of hers, Marge Slabach and Mary Kay Blakely. There are also a number of materials from the NGO Forum on Women in Beijing, China in 1995, which Uebelhoer attended.

Ranging from 1954 to 2009, Series 2 comprises records from the Women's Studies Program at IPFW regarding its history and activities, as well as materials related to Uebelhoer's classes, taught from 1977 to 2007, including syllabi, assignments, readings, research material, correspondence, student feedback, and grading notes.

Series 3 constitutes subject files related to Uebelhoer's interests and vocations, mainly containing articles and publications, some of which were used for her Women's Studies courses. Topics include women, feminism, literature, violence, liberation and oppression, children's welfare, and the LGBT community.

Series 4 is composed of records from two local women's organizations, the Fort Wayne Feminists (FWF) and the Fort Wayne Women's Bureau (FWWB). The Fort Wayne Feminists records, ranging from 1970 to 2001 and undated, include correspondence, papers, invoices, receipts, account records, ephemera, event flyers, and newsletters. There are also records for two of its underlying organizations, the Women's Educational Union and Sisterspace Coffeehouse. Ranging from 1973 to 2005, the Fort Wayne Women's Bureau materials include correspondence, papers, newsletters, workshop materials, and documents from programs such as Run, Jane, Run, a sports competition for women, and Transitions, a substance abuse program for pregnant women and women with children younger than 5 .

Series 5 contains publications, ranging from 1911 to 2011, which include books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuals and guides, and reports largely concerning women and the women's movement. There are also texts concerning poverty and wealth, globalization, labor, American history, war, violence, substance abuse, activism, and Christianity.

Series 6 comprises audiovisual material and physical media, ranging from 1977 to 1995 and undated. Many of the reel-to-reel audiotapes were programs and public service announcements created by the Women's Educational Union for local radio, including a weekly program, Bread and Roses (1978-1979). Other audio includes interviews and recorded music. The visual materials include moviing image recordings from personal and professional events, such as political marches and rallies, road trips, Women's Studies courses, the 1995 NGO Forum on Women in Beijing, China, and Uebelhoer's performances and speeches. There are also motion picture films that were most likely used in Uebelhoer's Women's Studies classes. Physical media includes a DVD-RW containing a Fort Wayne "herstory" project document.

Series 7 includes oversize broadsides, periodicals, documents, and clippings regarding Uebelhoer's life, activities, and interests, ranging from 1955 to 2009 and undated.

Series 8 constitutes realia, ranging from 1974 to 2011 and undated, which includes awards, buttons, t-shirts and other textiles, signs, bumper stickers, blank postcards and greeting cards, trivia card decks, and other items. There is also a suitcase containing clothing and props, such as candlesticks and holders, artificial flowers, and a teacup, which Uebelhoer used for her impersonation of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.


  • 1919-2023


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Some materials are restricted due to HIPPA, FERPA, and other privacy laws, or restricted by age. Contact the repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Joan Daley Uebelhoer (pronounced Jo-Ann Day-Lee E-Bell-Hair) was a civil and women's rights activist, educator, child welfare advocate, and public servant from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Mary Joan Daley was born December 7, 1928 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the eldest child of Elizabeth (Berghorn) and Neil Francis Daley. She attended both Ward School and St. Patrick's School before graduating with honors from Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne in 1946. Daley married James Edward Uebelhoer, Sr. (1927-2005) on August 8, 1953 and they had 5 children: Carol (1955-), James Edward, Jr. (1959-), Laura (1960-), Martha (1963-), and Patty (1966-). Joan Uebelhoer attended Mount Mary College in Milwaulkee, Wisconsin, attaining a B.S. in Mathematics and Biology in 1950. She later attended St. Francis College (now the University of St. Francis) in Brooklyn, New York, graduating with an M.S. in Mathematics and Biology in 1970.

Uebelhoer was a junior high school teacher for Fort Wayne Community Schools from 1950 to 1955, teaching mathematics, health, and English. From 1963 to 1968, she taught math and English at St. Henry School. Then in 1968, she started at Bishop Luers High School as a math teacher, working there until 1974 and also, holding the position of dean of students (1973-1974).

In 1974, Uebelhoer served as a member of the Fort Wayne Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women. She was also elected Allen County auditor in 1974, serving from 1975 to 1979. Uebelhoer then worked as a controller at the Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corporation (1983-1985), then the director of the Women's Health Organization (Planned Parenthood) in Fort Wayne (1985-1989). In 1989, she was named the Indiana Department of Public Welfare's regional director of District III, which comprised 11 counties in the northeastern region of the state (1989-1995).

Uebelhoer was raised a Roman Catholic and remained active in the Catholic Church until middle age, when her frustration and discontent with the church's treatment of women prompted her to leave it entirely. Uebelhoer was a founding member of Fort Wayne Feminists (FWF), a local activist group which lobbied and protested for women's rights, including pay equity, reproductive rights, equality in education and athletics, lesbian and gay rights, and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The organizaiton also established a coffeehouse and bookstore, Sister Space Collective, located at 1414 Broadway Street in Fort Wayne. Many FWF members also helped found the Fort Wayne Women's Bureau (FWWB), a city agency founded in 1975 to aid women in combatting discrimination, which eventually became a nonprofit organization. FWWB ran support groups, hosted workshops and women's athletics competitions, and assisted divorced and widowed women to return to work.

Uebelhoer grew into an outspoken activist for women, the poor, and the LGBTQ community. She participated in numerous protests over the decades, primarily for the women's movement, but also against the war in Iraq and the World Bank. Uebelhoer was an experienced public speaker, giving many speeches for her work and activism on a wide variety of topics, including unequal pay, education, abortion, rape, and domestic abuse. Uebelhoer also frequently performed at the Sister Space Coffeehouse and was a well-known Elizabeth Cady Stanton impersonator. She attended the NGO Forum on Women, in conjunction with the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China during August 30-September 8, 1995. Uebelhoer also helped found multiple nonprofit organizations: Daybreak, Inc., a children's shelter now called Daybreak Crisis Homes, of which she was executive director from 1980 to 1981; the Center for Nonviolence, formerly Men for Nonviolence until 1984; and Fort Wayne Hedge School, which comprised a women's history collection to serve researchers of the Hoosier feminist movement. She also established Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN), which still exists in 2022.

In the 1970s, Uebelhoer assisted Psychology professor Cathryn Adamsky in the creation of the Women's Studies Program at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW), where she was a part-time professor for 3 decades. She sat on the committee founded by Adamsky in 1974 to gather support for the new program. A Women's Studies minor was first offered in 1976 thanks to their efforts, and eventually, a major. Uebelhoer remained active on the Women's Studies Committee and taught an average of 2 women's studies courses a semester from 1977 to 2007, which included Philosophy and Education in Sexism, Women in American Culture (W200), Introduction to Women's Studies (W210), and Global Feminisms (W301). In 2008, conflict with the current administration meant she resigned from teaching at IPFW. However, to honor her, the program began offering an annual award in her name in 2012, to a high school student who demonstrated academic excellence and activism, giving the winner a book, bullhorn, and cash prize. As of 2022, the Women's Studies Program at Purdue University Fort Wayne offers the Joan Daley Uebelhoer Outstanding Women's Studies Major Award.

Uebelhoer was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and received the Lifetime of Achievement Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission of Women in 2010. She was also the annual history winner of the 2012 Extra Mile award for the way she positively impacted the lives of many. Joan Daley Uebelhoer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and died on September 8, 2012 in Fort Wayne.


Items in the collection. "James Uebelhoer." Indiana, U.S., Death Certificates, 1899-2011. Accessed August 2, 2022. "Mary Joan Daley." 1930 United States Federal Census. Accessed August 2, 2022. "Mary Joan Daley." 1940 United States Federal Census. Accessed August 2, 2022. "Mary Joan Daley." Indiana, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1907-1944. Accessed August 2, 2022. "Joan Daley." U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999. Accessed August 2, 2022.

Center for Nonviolence. "Our Story." Center for Nonviolence. Accessed August 3, 2022.

Clausen, Jeanette, and Linda Fox. "Senate Reference No. 12+2." Purdue University Fort Wayne. Accessed August 3, 2022.

"Joan Daley Uebelhoer." September 8, 2012. Accessed August 3, 2022.

Klampe, Michelle L. "1970-1979: Era of Crises: Women Lobbied for Rights, Access." The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN). Accessed November 29, 2022.

Murphy, Sandra. Interview. By Adade Wheeler. 1977 International Women's Year (IWY) Oral History Collection. National Women's Conference, Houston, Texas, November 19, 1977. Accesseed Novembe 29, 2022.

SCAN, Inc. "Daybreak Crisis Homes." SCAN. Accessed November 29, 2022.

SCAN, Inc. "Our Vision." SCAN. Accessed November 29, 2022.

"Uebelhoer Wins Extra Mile Award Postumously." Fort Wayne News-Sentinel (IN), January 2, 2013. Accessed July 13, 2022.

Historical Note

The Northeast Indiana Diversity Library was a library, archive, and resource center located in Fort Wayne, Indiana from the late 1970s until 2020. Its mission was “to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and its allies in the Fort Wayne and surrounding area by acquiring, preserving and providing access to materials that embody the culture and history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, with a focus on items of local and regional interest whenever possible. Through sound management of resources, our hopes are that the collection will contain the knowledge to dispel homophobia, encourage the exploration of diversity and promote personal discovery.”

The organization began as a community resource center called the Gay Lesbian Organization. Since its inception, the library has been housed in various locations and gone through multiple name changes. At one point in its early history, the library was housed in an apartment. Due to its location at the time, it was colloquially known as “Up The Stairs Community Center”, a appellation it then adopted. UTSCC did business as the Fort Wayne Community Center in order to apply for grants and other funding. The members did not think they could get funding as a gay space at that time. The library and archive began with a single shelf of resources in a room used by the GLBT Hotline.

Scott Mertz became the director of Up the Stairs Community Center in 1997. At that time, an inventory showed the library had 650 books. In 2009, the community center side of the organization ceased, and the name was changed to Northeast Indiana Diversity Library. It also published the newsletters The Rainbow Reader (1997-2008) and Three Rivers’ One in Six (TROIS) (1980-1987). The Northeast Indiana Diversity Library was closely tied to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne as well as other LGBTQ organizations throughout Indiana, such as Justice, Inc.


138 Cubic Feet (171 manuscript boxes, 64 cubic-foot boxes, 2 small clamshell boxes, 9 small flat boxes, 8 large oversize boxes, 10 extra-large oversize folders, 1 plastic container of negatives, 1 suitcase, 1 poster tube, 4 placards, 1 poster board, 2 plastic signs, 2 banners)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Record group 1: Northeast Indiana Diversity Library

Series 1: Organizational documents, 1976-2019 Subseries 1.1: Organizational documents, 1977-2017 Subseries 1.2: Financial documents, 1976-2019 Subseries 1.3: Library documents, 1978-2018

Series 2: TROIS issues and documents, 1980-1987

Series 3: Rainbow Reader issues and documents, 1997-2007 Subseries 3.1: Issues and general documents, 1997-2007 Subseries 3.2: Advertising accounts, 1997-2007

Series 4: Subject files, 1940-2012 Subseries 4.1: AIDS, 1981-2012 Subseries 4.2: A-Z, 1940-2008

Series 5: Community documents, 1971-2020 Subseries 5.1: Travel documents and directories, 1983-2012 Subseries 5.2: Documents on community events, activities, and concerns, 1971-2017 Subseries 5.3: Documents from other organizations and community centers, 1980-2020

Series 6: Publications, 1939-2018 Subseries 6.1: Books and manuscripts, 1951-2010 Subseries 6.2: AIDS periodicals, 1985-2011 Subseries 6.3: General periodicals, 1967-2018 Subseries 6.4: Other published material, 1951-2012 Subseries 6.5: Audiovisual material, 1939-2013

Series 7: Realia, circa 1940-2013 Subseries 7.1: Apparel and flags, circa 1980-2013 Subseries 7.2: Framed material, prints, plaques, and signs, 1958-2013 Subseries 7.3: Other realia, circa 1940-2000

Series 8: Periodicals library, 1965-2013

Record group 2: Joan Uebelhoer papers

Series 1: Personal papers, 1954-2012, undated Subseries 1.1: Correspondence and papers, 1970-2012, undated Subseries 1.2: Speeches and scripts, 1968-2009, undated Subseries 1.3: Photographs, circa 1970-2004 Subseries 1.4: Other womens' papers, 1954-1994, undated

Series 2: IPFW Women's Studies Program records, 1954-2009, undated Subseries 2.1: Program history records, 1973-2009 Subseries 2.2: Course records, 1977-2007 Subseries 2.3: Course resources, 1954-1991, undated

Series 3: Subject files, 1955-2005, undated

Series 4: Local women's organizations records, 1970-2005, undated Subseries 4.1: Fort Wayne Feminists (FWF) records, 1970-2001, undated Subseries 4.2: Fort Wayne Women's Bureau (FWWB) records, 1973-2005, undated

Series 5: Publications, 1919-2011, undated Subseries 5.1: Periodicals and pamphlets, 1919-2002, undated Subseries 5.2: Reports and other publications, 1971-2009, undated Subseries 5.3: Manuals and guides, 1971-2008 Subseries 5.4: Books, 1920-2011

Series 6: Audiovisual and computer materials, 1977-2010, undated Subseries 6.1: Audio materials, 1977-1995, undated Subseries 6.2: Moving image and computer materials, 1987-2010, undated

Series 7: Oversize materials, 1955-2009, undated

Series 8: Realia, 1974-2011, undated Subseries 8.1: Awards, 1979-2011 Subseries 8.2: Buttons, 1979-circa 2003, undated Subseries 8.3: Textiles, 1974-circa 2007, undated Subseries 8.4: Other objects, 1977-2007, undated

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Scott Mertz on 2021/08/15; 2023/02/13.


Further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digitized materials from the collection are available online in the ISL Digital Collections (

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

L198: Jeffrey Huntington collection

L737: Justice, Inc. records

Historical Context Note

The Indiana State Library strives to provide extensive access to our diverse collections, in person and online. Materials within these collections appear as they were originally published or created and may include content that that some viewers find offensive or objectionable. These materials are preserved and presented to provide a true historical representation of their time and should be viewed in the context in which they were created.

Most restricted material in the Northeast Indiana Diversity Library collection requires library users to be above the age of 18 due to adult content. Some material is restricted to all users due to legal restrictions regarding personal identification information, student records, and medical history.

Processing Information

NIDL collection record group processing completed 2023/01/12 by Lauren Patton. Oversize NIDL and Joan Uebelhoer papers processing completed 2022/12/21 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2023/01/23 by Lauren Patton and Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid updated 2023/07/20 by Lauren Patton.
Northeast Indiana Diversity Library collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.