Lee Hadley

Honored by:English Department Faculty
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Lee Hadley (1935-1995), a professor in the Department of English, was well loved by students, colleagues and many others in the Ames community. She was also co-author of more than a dozen fine novels for teenagers. An Iowa native, Lee Hadley graduated from Drake University and received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She taught for seven years at a junior college in New Jersey before coming to Iowa State in 1969.

Specializing in a subgenre known as "problem" novels, Lee Hadley and her collaborator, Annabelle Irwin, wrote under the pen name Hadley Irwin. Their books for teenagers dealt with complex adult themes such as racism (Kim/Kimi and I Be Somebody), suicide (So Long at the Fair), aging (The Lilith Summer), alcoholism (Can't Hear You Listening) and sexual abuse (Abby My Love). "Abby My Love" was a breakthrough novel that stunned the publishing industry as the first in children's literature to deal with the theme of incest. The book was later made into a CBS after-school special that received an Emmy award for writing. Lee Hadley and Annabelle Irwin, both lively and sought-after public speakers, traveled extensively and gave lectures about children's literature and their special kind of collaboration to schools libraries and conferences.

Hadley Irwin's books were translated all over the world and received dozens of awards and honors, including the Junior Guild offering, the American Library Best Book List, the Golden Pen Award, the Virginia Young Reader List, the Iowa Teen Best Book Award, The Sequoia Award (best young adult book for 1987), the Children's Award from the Society of Midland Authors, the Jane Addams Peace Prize, a Book of the Month Club selection, the Ruby Slipper award (from the Children's Film and TV Society of America) and a Newbery Award nomination.

During her twenty-six years at Iowa State, Lee Hadley supervised student teachers and taught Freshman English and creative writing courses. Her magazine writing and young adult writing courses were always over-subscribed and Lee often worked with students individually on their writing projects. She was an enthusiastic kind-hearted and generous teacher who genuinely liked young people -- and her students all seemed to know that.

Lee Hadley will be remembered by those in the English Departnent as a colleague of warmth and humor and as a prolific and successful writer of modest demeanor. She is survived by her long-time companion, Jona Mann of Madrid, Iowa, and a sister, Mildred Rich of Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Submitted Sept. 8, 1995 by Fern Kupfer and Kathy Hickok on behalf of the faculty of the ISU Department of English.