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Everett, Beverly, 1926-2001

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1926-2001

Beverly George Everett, farmer, substitute teacher, speaker, writer, and professional volunteer, was born on January 28, 1926 in Janesville, Iowa to Floyd and Florence George. Her parents were dairy farmers and musicians so Everett and her brother, Neal, grew up surrounded by Iowa farmland and music. After graduating from Janesville High School, she attended Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) where she obtained a bachelors degree in institutional management in 1947. It was at Iowa State that she met her husband Lawrence Everett, who returned to college after serving in the army for three years during World War II. He graduated in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in farm operations.

After college they moved to New Sharon, Iowa where they set up farming a 300-acre spread. Five children were born there: Leslie, who became an agronomist; George, a medical doctor; Rebecca (Sinkler), a teacher; Gordon, a pastor; and Floyd, a farmer and National Guard Captain. All five completed programs at Iowa State University.

Everett 's education did not stop at Iowa State. She took various post graduate courses from the University of Iowa and the University of California, Berkeley. She also obtained teacher certification through William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa. In 1984 she was awarded an honorary doctorate through Iowa Wesleyan College.

Beverly Everett's organizational work began at an early age in the 4-H. Several of her projects included planting a victory garden, redecorating her bedroom (featured in an article in Successful Farming, September 1941), and creating a record book that took second place in a National 4-H contest. She later became a 4-H club leader. In 1965, Everett was named a Master Farm Homemaker.

During the 1950s and 1960s, much of Everett's volunteer work centered around 4-H and the Farm Bureau. Through her writings and speeches she became known for emphasizing the importance of women's roles in agriculture. In one of her speeches she stated, "A great proportion of farmer co-operatives are forgetting to use the talents of women" (May 22, 1963, Speeches, Newspaper clippings and journal articles, 1960-1967). Also during this time she wrote a column entitled "The Distaff Partner" where she talked about various farm issues.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Everett became involved extensively in the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She started out as president of the Oskaloosa branch but soon moved up through the ranks to serve as President of the Iowa Division in 1976. As a key note speaker for AAUW, Everett traveled extensively throughout the United States giving talks and planning workshops for various AAUW branches and state divisions. Her speeches show a great interest in improving the status of women not only in the United States but throughout the world. In 1978, she became the AAUW representative to the United States National Commission for UNESCO. Through the National Commission she served as vice chair for the Status of Women Committee.

Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1976 and reappointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, she also served as a commissioner to the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year. She was chosen mainly as a representative of the rural women of the United States. She was the federal officer for five of the state meetings held before the National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas, in 1977. The Commission's goal for the conference was to have a "national gathering of women to talk about and act upon issues of concern to women." Topics covered included battered women, the Equal Rights Amendment, and women's education. It was the first such meeting since the Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.

Being an active member in the United Methodist Church, she served on such committees as the Camp Fiscal Task Force, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, and the Iowa Area Conference Center Task Force. Through her own church, she served as chair of the Mission Committee which helped raise money for various missionaries throughout the world.

Everett traveled to various foreign countries through the efforts of the Overseas Development Council, the Church World Service, the AAUW, and the International Federation of University Women. Her trips included stops in Ecuador, Asia, and Austria. In each of these places, Everett was very interested in the status and role of women in the society, both social and economical. It was through her son Leslie, who worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture as a maize breeder, that she was able to visit Cameroon, Africa. Here she got first hand experience in the different cultures present there and how these different societies treated women.

In 1983, Everett was nominated to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. In the late 1990s, she was actively involved in nominating others, such as Ann Pellegreno and Denise O'Brien, for this same recognition.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Beverly Everett papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0148
Abstract Family farmer, volunteer, and community activist who served on U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the International Women's Year Commission.

Catherine Lewis papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0217
Abstract Interviews and field reports prepared by Lewis for the Smithsonian Institution's Festival of American Folklore.

Esther Everett papers

 Collection
Identifier: IWA0880
Abstract Home economics professor raised on a farm in Lacey, Iowa.