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Sloan, Jane (1887-1983) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Sloan, Jane (1887-1983)
Variant Name: Hunter, Jane Mae, Jane May Hunter (Sloan)
Fuller Form: Sloan, Jane Mae


Historical Note:

Jane Hunter (Sloan) was a graduate of Lake Forest College, 1910.  According to the 1911 Forester (yearbook), she was born August 15, 1887 in Sioux City, Iowa, and grew up there.  She was the daughter of Sioux City attorney Robert Hunter (b. 1858), a generous Presbyterian.  She entered Lake Forest in 1906  and was a good student at the College (Prize in French) and active in co-curricular organizations, with leadership positions.  In her senior year she was president of Lois Durand Hall, the women's residence hall: a responsible post indeed. 

She married Martin Luther Sloan, Jr., an Iowa State graduate, in 1911 and moved then to Ohio (Youngstown and then Cleveland), where she lived until January 1950, when her husband retired. They had no children. 

In a 1926 history of northwestern Iowa and discussing Robert Hunter, Jane's spouse M. L. Sloan, Jr., is reported to be an electrical engineer with General Electric in Cleveland.  In a 1943 letter to the College she reported that her husband was the general manager of the Lamp Division, General Electric Company.  Jane later writes in a manuscript in the collection about being a vice-president's wife, apparently also for GE.  She chafed in the traditional role, but entertained as befit her husband's role. 

The Sloans traveled to Europe in 1921 and 1936, and to Mexico in 1936.  this was in addition to other unspecified touring in the U.S. and Canada.

Jane Sloan attended three semesters of classes in poetry at Cleveland College and ca. 1940 one semester of graduate level poetry study at Western Reserve University. She also studied verse writing with Ralph Cheney, and studied poetry reading at the Cleveland Playhouse.  She belonged to the Cleveland College Club, the Women's City Club, and the Shaker Heights Country Club. 

Her poetry seems to have been her main interest, with her first book appearing in 1939, Prairie Vagabond.  In 1942, she reported to her alma mater that she had started writing poetry five years previous, or not long before Prairie Vagabond was published.  But mostly her poems appeared in newspapers, especially the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but also the Washington Post, the New York Herald-Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor.  After the Sloans retired to the hills outside of San Francisco, she began publishing her work in the San Francisco Examiner and the Oregonian (Portland).  Periodical appearances of her work were mostly in little magazines, but also Educational Forum and the Christian Century.

Some of her poems had a religious basis and she wrote some seasonal and holiday verses.  But she also wrote on timely subjects with sensitivity, such as the youth rebellions and war-related issues of the late 1960s and 1970.  Much of her poetry reflected the Renaissance in the poetry field of the early 20th C., and her subjects and her forms reflect this period, as well as classic forms such as the sonnet. 

Sometime in the earlier 1960s at holiday time she issued a small chapbook of thirteen of her poems, Greetings and Best Wishes.  This 8 pp. item was microfilmed with her alumni file in the 1980s, and the original discarded.  But a list of the contents is lodged with the collection.  Perhaps this had a good response, and one of the poems printed there, Moment Apart, yielded the title for her 1967 book, her second and last.

After the 1967 publication of her book, Moment Apart, Lake Forest College granted her an Alumni Distinguished Service Citation at Commencement, June.   

When her spouse retired from his executive post at General Electric, they relocated to Los Altos, CA, three and a half acres about forty miles south of San Francisco in the hills, and with views of the mountains. The town of Los Altos was incorporated in 1952; today it is the home of many high-tech moguls.  There the Sloans had a family-scaled orchard and a flower garden.  Jane Sloan's interests then included also golf and bridge. 

Jane Sloan continued to work on her poetry, joining groups and especially the local (Palo Alto) Women's PEN group.  She appears to have been working on another book of poems when she died, January 7, 1983.  This was tentatively entitled Shape of Friendship, the manuscript being among her papers here. 

Sources: 

Alumni file. 

Forester (Lake Forest College yearbook), 1911. 

General Register of Lake Forest College, 1865-1931.  Lake Forest, 1931. 

Northwestern Iowa, Its History and Tradition, v. 3 (1804-1926).  http://iagenweb.org/history/ni/nibv3h.htm

Sloan, Jane.  Moments Apart.  Francestown, NH: Golden Quill Press, 1967.  A biography of the author, apparently from the dust jacket, is cut out and pasted onto the front flyleaf.

Sources:

Alumni file.

Forester (Lake Forest College yearbook), 1911. 

General Register of Lake Forest College, 1865-1931.  Lake Forest, 1931. 

Northwestern Iowa, Its History and Tradition, v. 3 (1804-1926).  http://iagenweb.org/history/ni/nibv3h.htm

Sloan, Jane.  Moments Apart.  Francestown, NH: Golden Quill Press, 1967.  A biography of the author, apparently from the dust jacket, is cut out and pasted onto the front flyleaf.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller, Archivist and Librarian for Special Collections, amiller@lakeforest.edu





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