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Shivvers, Vera, 1897-1990



  • Existence: 1897 - 1990


Laura Vera Hollowell Shivvers, farm woman, wife, mother, teacher, and state senator, was born on June 16, 1897 to Emma Etta Mason Hollowell and William Aaron Hollowell on Prairie View Stock Farm near Dallas, Iowa. She attended the Dallas public schools and graduated from Indianola High School in 1916. She continued her education at Simpson College where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and editor of the school newspaper. She graduated with honors in 1920. The daughter of two rural Iowa school teachers, Vera Hollowell taught high school English in Indianola and Bedford, Iowa, for three years. On September 17, 1924 she married L.C. (John) Shivvers and moved to Fair Acres, the Shivvers family farm near Knoxville, Iowa. L.C. Shivvers was named Levi Charles Shivvers at birth, but his father began calling him Johnny and he was known as John throughout his life. The couple had three daughters: Marietta, Martha, and Charlotte. Vera Shivvers was active in community life, teaching Sunday school, serving as a school board member, 4-H leader, and church pianist. In 1953, Shivvers' contributions to her community were recognized when she was named an Iowa Master Farm Homemaker. In 1962, John Shivvers was a Republican nominee for the Iowa Senate. Vera Shivvers actively campaigned with her husband in Marion and Monroe counties. He was elected, but died before he could serve his term. Through a special election, Vera Shivvers was elected to fill her husband's vacancy in the Senate, making her only the third woman to serve in the Iowa Senate. During her term as a state senator, Shivvers was a leader in legislating Iowa's first Fair Employment Practices Act. She was not re-elected in the Democratic landslide of 1964 and renewed her high level of involvement in community service and volunteer organizations, including the Simpson Alumni Council, the Republican Party, the American Association for University Women (AAUW), the Knoxville Women's Club, and her church. She also helped to create the Marion County Historical Park, established the Shivvers Memorial Lectureship at Iowa State University, and served on the Marion County Extension Council and Planning Commission. In 1978, Vera Shivvers married high school classmate Wallace McKee and moved to the McKee family farm near Indianola, Iowa. After Wallace McKee's death in 1988, Vera Shivvers moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1989, where she lived with her daughter Marietta until her death on March 10, 1990.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories

Identifier: IWA0089

Interviews with Iowa women legislators conducted by Suzanne O'Dea Schenken.

Dates: 1988-1993

Vera Shivvers papers

Identifier: IWA0464

Iowa farm woman who was elected to fill her husband's term in the Iowa Senate following his death in 1962.

Dates: 1914-1990

Additional filters:

1981-1990 1
1991-2000 1
20th century 1
African American women -- Iowa 1
Albuquerque (N.M.) 1