Southeast to Celebrate Donation of Jo Ann Emerson Congressional Papers to Special Collections and Archives


On Sept. 9, Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate the donation of the Jo Ann Emerson Congressional Papers to Southeast’s Special Collections and Archives in Kent Library.

The event is planned for 3 p.m. in Academic Hall (Show Me Room-Room 101 near the front entrance).

The Jo Ann Emerson Congressional Papers contain more than 100 boxes of materials documenting Emerson’s time in Congress. Her papers include press releases, hearing booklets, correspondence, speeches, election certificates and more. Video tapes, photo reels, signed portraits of dignitaries and more than 11,000 photographs also are included.

“The Jo Ann Emerson Congressional Papers are an incredible resource for Special Collections & Archives to acquire,” said Roxanne Dunn, Special Collections and Archives librarian in Southeast’s Kent Library. “This will be the first set of Congressional papers in the Archives, and we’re thrilled that Rep. Emerson decided to entrust them with us here at Southeast Missouri State University.

“The strength in the collection really lies in the incredible number of photographs documenting her time in Congress and the materials documenting her work on the Appropriations subcommittees,” Dunn continued. “It is very exciting that these resources will now be made available to the people of the 8th Congressional District and beyond.”

Dunn says Special Collections and Archives staff have been inventorying and processing the collection over the past three years. Work continues to digitize the photography portion of the collection.

During Emerson’s tenure serving the 8th Congressional District, her efforts contributed to upgrading Southeast facilities, promoting economic development in southeast Missouri and securing federal dollars for rural development, healthcare, nursing and agriculture research, all building a brighter future for this region.

Jo Ann Hermann Emerson was born in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sept. 16, 1950. Her father served at one time as the executive director of the Republican National Committee. In 1972, Emerson graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. After graduating, she worked in communication and lobbying roles for the American Insurance Association, the National Restaurant Association and the National Republican Congressional Committee. She married Norvell William “Bill” Emerson in 1975. Bill passed away in 1996. Jo Ann Emerson then married Ron Gladney in 2000.

Bill Emerson represented Missouri’s 10th and 8th districts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 until his death. In November 1996, Emerson was elected to finish her husband’s term in the 104th Congress, and to a new full term in the 105th Congress. Emerson was the first Republican woman to represent Missouri in Congress. She was reelected eight times, representing Missouri’s 8th district from 1996 to 2013.

Her rural, agricultural district included all of southeast Missouri and much of the south-central region of the state. From the 106th Congress (1999-2001) until her resignation, Emerson served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Emerson resigned from Congress in 2013 to become president and chief executive officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She retired from that position in 2016.

*Parking: Guests attending this celebration may park in the following lots which can be found on this campus parking map.

Lot 2-9 Parking Lot

Lot 2-13 Parking Lot

Lot 1-22 Visitor Parking Lot

Lot 2-16 Parking Lot

Lot 1-20 Parking Lot