Title: Heidi Van Arnem papers Creator: Van Arnem, Heidi. Dates: 1977-2003 (Majority of material found within 1994-2001) Extent: 3 linear feet, 1 oversize volume Abstract:
Entrepreneur and disability rights activist from Birmingham, Michigan. The collection document’s Van Arnem’s life and career through news clippings, columns that Heidi Van Arnem wrote for the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, business materials, files relating to her advocacy and fundraising efforts, and visual materials.
Call number: 2009126 Aa 2 Language: The material is in English Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave. Ann Arbor, MI
firstname.lastname@example.org Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Rachael Dreyer, 2009
Access and Use
The collection was donated by Van Arnem's mother, Karen Schram (donor no. 10219) in 2009.
The collection is open to research.
To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS
tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital
formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more
information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.
Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
[item], folder, box, Heidi Van Arnem papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Heidi Van Arnem was born July 31, 1966. In 1983, at the age of 16, she was paralyzed after an accidental shooting; she was shot in the neck, severing her spinal cord. She became a quadriplegic. Van Arnem returned to school and was graduated from Lahser High School in 1985. She attended Oakland University, graduating in 1989, and enrolled in law school at University of Detroit. Because of her health, Ms. Van Arnem withdrew from law school and instead established her own travel agency business. Her company - Travel Headquarters - specialized in arranging travel for individuals with disabilities and other mobility issues, such as senior citizens. While operating Travel Headquarters, Ms. Van Arnem started the Heidi Van Arnem Foundation, a non-profit organization with the goal of curing paralysis. Through annual fundraisers, the Foundation raised $100,000 annually for spinal injury research.
In 1999, after selling Travel Headquarters, Van Arnem founded iCan, Inc., an online community for those with disabilities. iCan provided an avenue for advocacy and social networking, but also provided consulting services to corporations revising employment and accessibility policies after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.
Throughout the 1990s, Van Arnem wrote newspaper columns for Detroit-area papers. Open Roads (1992-1997) was a column carried by the Detroit Free Press and Disability Today (1997-2001) ran in the Detroit News. Both columns discussed disability rights issues from the perspective of as a person with disabilities and highlighted the challenges of navigating able-bodied society.
Van Arnem's other entrepreneurial activities include selling a device that more easily allows a caretaker to lift a disabled individual. The "Slinger" was invented by Van Arnem's mother, Karen Schram but was patented and marketed by Van Arnem on the iCan website.
Heidi Van Arnem died of respiratory failure on November 11, 2001 at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. She was 35.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The collection is arranged into four series, Personal and Entrepreneurial, Fundraising and Advocacy, News Clippings, and Visual Materials.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.
Computers and people with disabilities -- Michigan.
Entrepreneurship -- Michigan.
Fund raising -- Michigan.
People with disabilities -- Michigan.
Quadriplegics -- Michigan.
Golf -- Michigan.
People with disabilities -- Michigan -- Birmingham.
Travel Headquarters (Corporation)
Van Arnem, Heidi.
Reeve, Christopher, 1952-2004.
Van Arnem, Heidi.
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location
Personal and Entrepreneurial files contain interviews with Van Arnem, awards received, and obituaries and memorial material. Included is an interview transcript of a WJR interview with Paul W. Smith, as well a cassette tape with an audio recording of the interview. This series also contains material about Van Arnem's patent for the "Slinger" and iCan, Inc. press releases and publicity materials. The series also contains a scrapbook, which contains material from Van Arnem's childhood and teen years, class photographs and a confirmation bulletin, with sporadic additions from 1977 until 1995.
Oversize Volume 1
(includes 6th grade class photo, athletics award certificates, confirmation and commencement bulletins, cards, letters, and clippings)
United States Patent: Method for Lifting and Transferring a Disabled Person to and from a Wheelchair 1994
Awards: Golden Apple 1997, Women of the Web, 2000 Community Luminary, undated 1997-2000, undated
Interviews with Heidi Van Arnem 2000
(includes cassette recording of Paul W. Smith interview, WJR Detroit 760)
I-Can, Inc. Press Releases and Publicity Materials 2000-2001
Memorials and Obituaries 2001-2002
Fundraising and Advocacy Files [series]
Fundraising and Advocacy files document Van Arnem's involvement with the Heidi Van Arnem Foundation, including fundraising activities, her participation in various events meant to raise awareness of disability issues, and correspondence regarding her fundraising and disability advocacy activities.
Spring into Fashion Benefit 1994
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation Golf Classic 1995-1997
Wayne State University, Disability Awareness Awards 1997
Spend a Day in a Wheelchair 1997-1998
(includes photographs and news clippings)
"Rack 'Em Up for Paralysis" Billiards Event 1998
Executive Declarations and Certificates from Governor John Engler 1997-1999, 2001
Heidi's Dream Ball 2002-2003
(includes CD of photographs, from 2002; DVDs of the 2002 and 2003 events)
News clippings [series]
News clippings is comprised of newspaper and magazine clippings, including columns that Van Arnem wrote for the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, newspaper articles about general disability issues, biographical and profile articles about Van Arnem, and clipping files with material about her business ventures, Travel Headquarters and iCan, Inc.
Open Roads Column 1994, undated
Disability, General 1996-2000
Travel Headquarters 1996-1997
Disability Today Column 1997-1998, undated
Heidi Van Arnem Disability Consumer Research Report 2002
Visual Materials [series]
Visual Materials has been divided into two subseries. Photographs can be found in box 1 of the collection. Many of the photographs document the Heidi Van Arnem Foundation annual Golf Classic. The Videotapes series consists of 25 VHS, eight Betacam, and two U-matic tapes, containing interviews, Heidi Van Arnem Foundation promotional videos, television news segments featuring Van Arnem, and awards presentations.
Formal and Informal
Portraits of Family and Friends
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation Golf Classic
Heidi Van Arnem
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation Radio Spot 06/21/1999
Heidi and Stevie Wonder 2001
Heidi's Dream Ball commercial 2003
Unidentified Heidi Van Arnem Foundation event
Christopher Reeve Speech
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, "Just a Step Away," 1993
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation Video circa 1995
(VHS version in box 3)
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation 1995
(tape no. 1)
Heidi Van Arnem Foundation 1995
(tape no. 2)
EHMS Wheelchair for a Day 03/04/1996
(tape no. 3)
Dateline Detroit 04/13/1996
(tape no. 4)
Five Inspiring Women, Detroit Channel 4 1996
(tape no. 5)
From the Inside Heidi Van Arnem 1996
(tape no. 6)
TV 4 News 01/26/1997
(tape no. 7)
Van Arnem Travel, First Business 04/24/1997
(tape no. 8)
Detroit TV News Clips undated
(includes story about wheelchair-accessible Grand Prix auto races, ca. 1997)
(tape no. 9)
Spend a Day in a Wheelchair 1998
(tape no. 10)
Wyndham's Women on Their Way Awards 2000
(tape no. 11)
Top Women on the Web 2000
(tape no. 12)
I-Can.com on Fox 2 News, Detroit 06/16/2001
(tape no. 13)
Television news coverage of Heidi's Death 11/01/2001
(tape no. 25)
Heidi Van Arnem, iCan! Inc., Entrepreneur of the Year 2001