Irwin, Hadley

About the author

Hadley Irwin was the pseudonym used by Lee Hadley and Annabelle Irwin, who both taught English at Iowa State University. Together they wrote books which tackled the difficult and ignored head on. Their Abby My Love tackled incest, and other books went on to look at racism (Kim/Kimi), suicide (So Long at the Fair) and alcoholism (Can’t Hear You Listening). Lee Hadley was educated at Drake University and the University of Wisconsin, and went on to become the only woman on the Iowa State faculty who was made a full professor although she had no doctorate.

The two wrote their books during the summer holiday, and revised them during the school year. Annabelle Irwin said that Ms Hadley was better at characters, and she at plots. Annabelle Irwin took music at Morningside College in Sioux City, and taught that and English until she took a Masters in English, and went to teach at Iowa State, where she met Lee Hadley.

Finding the books
Easy to find.

Links and sources
Thanks to Lisa Catz for summaries and photographs
Hadley Irwin at The Feminist Press (link no longer works)
Lee Hadley obituary, New York Times, August 26, 1995
Anabelle Irwin, obituary, New York Times, September 20, 1998

Bibliography (horse books only)

Moon & Me

Margaret K McElderry, 1981, 150 pp.
Signet/Vista, 1987

Kirkus review

14-year-old Elizabeth Jane (E.J.) has to spend the summer and part of the school year on her grandparent’s farm in the Midwest. She is agog with the idea of first love, and meets a very smart boy called Moon, but he is only twelve. But it is Moon who helps E.J. get her horse, Lady Gray, ready for the big hundred-mile endurance race. He also arranges her first date, with a boy that E.J. finds worthy. But things don’t turn out the way that E.J. expects, and before she goes home, she learns an important lesson about friendship.

Jim Dandy

Margaret K McElderry Books, 1994, 135 pp.
Troll Communications, 1996, pb

Based on fact, this is the story of Caleb, who lives on a Kansas homestead, soon after the Civil War. His mother has died, and his stepfather treats him harshly. His life changes after the birth of the foal, Dandy. Although forbidden to do so, Caleb breaks Dandy to ride, and finds freedom, exploring the untamed prairie. Caleb’s stepfather sells Dandy to Custer’s Seventh Cavalry, and Caleb runs away, to stay with Dandy. He is plunged into Custer’s Winter Campaign against the Cheyenne, and realises the brutal senselessness of the Indian Wars.