DENVER NEVAAR - SISTER WHO PAPERS
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection spans the years 1981 to 2005. It follows the life of Denver NeVaar who explores identity through his “spiritual alter-ego” Sister Who. Sister Who created a public access television show titled Sister Who Presents of which the Denver Public Library possesses videotapes in the Western History Collection. The videos are numbered 1 – 106, in order of completion. Sister Who taped episodes 56 through 83 in Billings, Montana, and the remaining in Denver, Colorado. Papers comprise manuscripts, and correspondence related to Sister Who Presents, newspaper articles by Sister Who, a newsletter, Sister Who’s Perspective, printouts of his web site, sisterwho.com and scrapbook pages with notes and color photographs of his travels. Sister Who’s work focuses on issues of identity and spirituality.
Representing NeVaar’s personal life, the collection contains manuscripts with hand written notes, personal correspondence and resumes from the 1980s and 1990s. His journals reflect his thoughts on his personal identity and Sister Who from 1995 to 2002. The correspondence provides information on NeVaar’s interest with internet discussion groups. The personal material focuses on his relationships with friends and lovers, as well as his search for spirituality. The collection remains open for additional material.
One box of color photographs taken between 1991 and 1995 in Paris, France; New York City, New York; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Georgetown, Colorado and several mountain peaks, including hand written notes made in 1997 by NeVaar.
Papers related to NeVaar's activities in the persona of Sister Who constitute the bulk of the series. These include his sermonettes, newsletters and website printouts as well as correspondence about his television show. Correspondence and clippings of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Sisters of Incessant Revelation are included in this series with memorabilia from other Sister Who related activities and events. Also, programs and articles about organizations and events for which Sister Who volunteered comprise a portion of the series. BOX 1, FF9 RESTRICTED UNTIL THE YEAR 2028.
The series contains newspaper articles and editorials as well as the progression of manuscripts of NeVaar’s novels, Troll Steps and Re-Inventing the Sacred Clown. Both manuscripts focus on identity. Troll Steps is fiction and the second provides information on NeVaar’s decision to assume the identity of Sister Who.
Papers on various aspects of NeVaar's personal life constitute this series, arranged by topic. For example, annotated scripts for plays in which NeVaar played roles appear under "Acting." Autographed high school and college yearbooks and class papers for the Iliff School of Theology make up the topic "Education." The papers for "Employment" include resumes and job descriptions for positions which NeVaar viewed as necessary for basic survival but not his true calling. The topic "Friends" constitutes the bulk of the series consisting of correspondence to and from NeVaar and his friends mostly in the form of email. Papers for organizations are included in the "Interests" topic. "Religion" contains programs and correspondence with various churches to which NeVaar belonged.
Materials received from NeVaar between 2005 and 2008. Primarily emails and correspondence, along with some Internet materials, class information, and articles.
Master 3/4" U-matic tapes and VHS dubs of Sister Who's public access television series, Sister Who Presents, comprise the bulk of the series (episodes 1-42 and 92-106) . Also included are videotapes of other projects such as various holiday specials, some CDs and DVDs represented.
Color photographs, mostly in costume, at various events in Paris, France and in the United States. Photographs have been taped to tracing paper and notes written on the borders of the paper regarding the location, costume, or significance of the photo and the date of the event. Several rolls of 35mm color negatives are also included in this series.
Contains material donated after 2008.
The collection is open for research. Box 1, FF9 restricted until the year 2028. Box 14 also contains personal journals that are restricted.
Literary and copyrights - as appropriate - have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Denver NeVaar was born August 5, 1962. As a youth he lived in Wisconsin, where he graduated from a Catholic grade school and a public high school. After graduation, he spent a year at the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New York City. Then he spent five months in a youth ministry at the Kansas City Youth for Christ - Christ Unlimited Bible Institute. In 1985, he moved to Orange City, Iowa to attend Northwestern College where he received his BA in Humanities with an emphasis in theater and a minor in music, art and French. While in college, Francis attained the nickname Denver. On July 7, 1987 he legally changed his name to Denver NeVaar.
NeVaar’s identity transformed at the age of twenty-six when he realized that he was gay. In 1990, NeVaar entered a bodybuilding contest in the Gay Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. NeVaar met Sister X at the games. Sister X was a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order of gay nuns started in San Francisco in 1979. Sister X named NeVaar, Sister Who, short for “Who Does She Think She Is” because of the many years NeVaar experienced an identity crisis. In 1991, Sister Who founded a chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Denver, Colorado, with his partner, Neil Gunderson aka Sister D. D. In 1993, Sister Who changed the name of the order to the Sisters of Incessant Revelation due to a disagreement with the California order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who accused their Denver sisters of not being radical enough.
In 1992, Sister Who started a public access television show in Denver, Colorado titled “Sister Who Presents….” This show provided the spiritual guidance and thoughts of Sister Who accompanied by music and an occasional guest and ended in 1994. NeVaar moved to Montana with his partner and restarted Sister Who Presents… in Billings from 1997 to 1998.
Breaking up with his partner, NeVaar moved to Denver, Colorado in 1999. He restarted the show in Denver in 2000 and as of 2003 he has taped one hundred and seven episodes all together. As Sister Who, NeVaar continues to write a monthly newsletter titled Sister Who’s Perspective and hosts a web site, www.sisterwho.com.
Mr. NeVaar wrote and published Troll Steps, a novel about identity and also an unpublished biographical novel, Re-Inventing the Sacred Clown. He currently resides near Denver, Colorado and is attending the Iliff School of Theology.
17 boxes (17 linear feet)
4 Audiovisual Boxes
1 photo box
1 oversize folder
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Denver NeVaar (also known as Sister Who) donated his papers in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. The Gill Foundation provided funding for the processing of this collection. The collection remains open for additional material.
Number of Boxes: 16 (12 linear feet)
Audiovisual: 4 AVBoxes (4 linear feet)
Photos: 1 Box Oversize: 1 OVFF
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
Ann Brown, 2005
Roger L. Dudley, 2008
Jamie Seemiller, 2018
- Cable television -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Diaries. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Ephemera. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Gay actors -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gay men -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gays -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Gays -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Manuscripts (document genre). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- NeVaar, Denver, 1961- --Archives.
- Photographs. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Public-access television -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Scrapbooks. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence -- Archives.
- Transvestites -- Colorado -- Denver. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- DENVER NEVAAR - SISTER WHO PAPERS
- Revised 2008, 2018
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States