Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Irma Joan Allen  

Pen Name: Irma Waggoner Swierk, Irma Swierk

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1931 in Paradise Township - Mattoon, Illinois

-- Irma Swirk on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Allen was born in Mattoon, Illinois. She lived in Brookfield, IL for many years and now resides in the Chicago suburbs.

Biographical and Professional Information

Irma Waggoner Swierk Allen has always liked to write, and was pleased when a local newspaper published her "Christmas Story." She then coauthored ''Ten Sisters, A True Story'', and ''Ten Little Sisters''. She lived for many years in Brookfield, IL, where she ran a grocery store and found pleasure in her sizeable family and her music. She now resides in the Chicago suburbs, a short distance from three of her sisters. She is featured in the award-winning PBS short documentary on the Ten Sisters (Prairie Fire - PBS WILL) which won a Gracie Allen Award in 2004. She is featured in a full-length PBS documentary, Ten Sisters: A True Story. DVDs are available through PBS WILL 217 333 1070. The story of the Ten Sisters was also featured in ''Family Circle Magazine'', and three newspaper articles about the ten sisters won awards for journalism.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Ten Sisters : A True Story
ISBN: 1878044818

Mayhaven Publishing, Inc.. 1999

5rd printing of this book. First two editions were in hardcover (1997). This is the fifth edition of the book in softcover. But life was no paradise and in 1942, while their two older brothers served in World War II, the courts separated the sisters in a brief legal proceedings in Coles County Courthouse, Charleston, Illinois. Two were adopted, one went to live with grandparents, five were sent to an orphanage and the others worked for families and organizations. It took fifty years to heal the wounds caused on that winter day in 42 and for the sisters to build a new relationship. This book is sad. It is also funny. It has been highly praised for its unique approach to an all too familiar tale. Each sister wrote her own chapter.

Ten Little Sisters
ISBN: 1878044389

Mayhaven Pub. 2002

Based on the non-fiction book, Ten Sisters, this children's Illustrated book is both entertaining and factual and deal with the girls until they were separated in 1942.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)