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Endesha Ida Mae Holland Papers

Identifier: GV009

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains materials related to Holland's work as a playwright and university professor, including correspondence, manuscripts, production materials, university- and teaching-related materials, publicity, and audio/visual materials.


  • c. 1962-2006

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by the public.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holders.

Biographical Note

Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland was born August 29, 1944, in the rural community of Greenwood, Mississippi. She was raised in poverty by her mother Ida Mae Holland, a local midwife, whom Holland greatly admired. After being raped by a white man at the age of 11, Holland worked as a prostitute and was arrested numerous times for prostitution and shoplifting. In her late teens, she followed a potential customer into the offices of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the civil rights group, an encounter that would shift the trajectory of her life. Dr. Holland soon became an active member of the organization. In 1965, Dr. Holland's mother died in a house fire that Dr. Holland believed was caused by the Ku Klux Klan. Not long after, Dr. Holland obtained her high school diploma and enrolled at the University of Minnesota. She received her bachelor's degree in African-American Studies in 1979, followed by a master's in American Studies in 1984 and a doctorate 1986, also in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Holland became a professor of American Studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 1985, and taught there until 1993. She was Emeritus Professor of Theater at the University of Southern California (USC) from 1993 to 2003. Dr. Holland died January 25, 2006, from ataxia, a neurological disease affecting muscle control.

Dr. Holland's first two major plays, Second Doctor Lady(1980) and The Reconstruction of Dossie Ree Hemphill(1980), were projects born of a playwriting class at the University of Minnesota. Both are about her mother, Ida Mae Holland. Second Doctor Ladywon the 1981 Lorraine Hansberry Award for best play. Dr. Holland later expanded this play into her most well-known work, From the Mississippi Delta, which debuted Off-Broadway in 1991 and was later adapted and published as a memoir in 1997. Dr. Holland's other notable work includes Miss Ida B. Wells(1984), a play about the life of civil rights and women's rights activist Ida B. Wells.


55 Linear Feet (35 Boxes)


This collection includes the correspondence, manuscripts, publicity, academic materials, production materials, and audio/visual materials of Endesha Ida Mae Holland.


The collection is organized into five series, all of which have further been arranged into subseries. The series arrangement is as follows:

  1. Playwriting
  2. Personal
  3. Teaching/Academic
  4. Audio/Visual
  5. Miscellaneous

Physical Location

West Bank Office Building (WBOB)


This collection was donated to the University of Minnesota Libraries by Endesha Ida Mae Holland in 2004.

Related Material

Related materials can be found in the Givens Collection can be found in the Penumbra Theatre Archives (GV002).

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Karla Y. Davis, and the finding aid written by Delaney Churchwell.

Endesha Ida Mae Holland Papers
Delaney Churchwell
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Givens Collection of African American Literature Collecting Area