Iowa Women's Archives
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa


VERA SHIVVERS (1897-1990)

PAPERS, 1914-1990
2.7 linear feet


Iowa Women's Archives
100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Phone: 319-335-5068
Fax: 319-335-5900
E-mail the Iowa Women's Archives

Please cite materials from this collection as follows:
Vera Shivvers Papers, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


Collection Overview

The Vera Shivvers papers (donor no. 682) were donated by Marietta Carr, Charlotte Shivvers, and Martha Skillman in 2000.
The papers are open for research.
Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
In Boxes 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Stacy Ross, 2002 and Britt Nelson, 2005. [ShivversVera.doc]



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. 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, establish 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.

Scope and Content Note

The Vera Shivvers papers date from 1914 to 1990 and measure 2.7 linear feet. The papers are arranged in 6 series: Personal, Legislative, Speeches, Journals, Photographs and Scrapbooks.

The Personal series (1914-1990) contains a wide range of biographical information on Vera Shivvers including personal correspondence spanning nearly seventy-five years and various newspaper clippings regarding Vera from her numerous community activities over several decades.

The Legislative series (1963-1964) mainly holds correspondence Vera Shivvers received from constituents during her Iowa Senate term. Speeches and newspaper clippings from this time are also included. A prominent topic of the speeches and constituent mail is “liquor by the drink.”

The Speeches series (1963-1983) contains the speeches Vera Shivvers gave throughout her lifetime at various community and club gatherings.

The Journals series (1973-1990) holds the calendars and journals Vera Shivvers kept later in life concerning her daily activities.

The Photographs series (1915-1986) ranges from her high school days up until the last years of her life. A few pictures are included of Vera Shivvers at the statehouse during her Senate term as well as a photo of Vera and L. C. Shivvers at their daughter’s wedding and photos of Vera and second husband Wallace McKee at the VEISHEA parade in Ames, Iowa. Also included are photos of all of the houses Vera Shivvers lived in.

The Scrapbooks series (1917-1965) contains two scrapbooks covering Shivvers’ service in the Iowa State Senate and one scrapbook documenting John Shivvers' life.

Box List

Box 1                          
    Personal Information            


          Personal sketch, undated            

Obituary, 1990


Certificates, undated








Business, 1952-1984


Christmas letters, 1957-1989


Legislative, 1963-1977


Letters to the Editor, 1966-1976


Indianola High School Yearbook, 1916


Newspaper clippings




Prose and quotes, undated


Christian Rural Overseas Program, 1953


Pella Rural Women’s Day, 1972


Simpson College Alumni Association, 1924-1989


Prenuptial Agreement, 1978


Vacation brochures, 1958-1982


Address book, 1963


Calendar, 1963

Box 2                    

Constituent Correspondence, 1963-1964


By subject


Liquor by the Drink


Sunday Closing






Newspaper clippings


Special election, 1963


Re-election campaign, 1964

Box 3                    

Pamphlets, 1961-1964


Political sketch, undated


Speeches, 1963


Acceptance speech


HF 4


“Liquor by the Drink”




“So Politics is for Men”


Miscellaneous, 1963-1964



      Folder 1                

“Adventure in Learning” 1963


Livestock group, undated


Farm Bureau, 1964

      Folder 2                  

Future Teachers of America, 1969


Gambling Hearing, 1965


Zoning, 1966

      Folder 3                  

Population Control, 1970


Living History Farms, 1973


Lena Jordan, undated


Harlan and Helen Chandler


Fairview Church


“My Church” 1969


“Spiritual Havens” 1970


Presentation on church history, 1976


Fairview Guest Day, 1976


Christmas, 1976


Simpson College


Brief Reminiscence, 1980


Alumni Achievement Award Committee, 1980


Ruth Sayre Day, 1983


Notes, 1963-1983



Box 4                          

February 2, 1987-August 8, 1987


November 23, 1987-May 2, 1988


September 24, 1988-February 21, 1989


February 22, 1989-December 21, 1989


December 22, 1989-March 5, 1990

    Photographs, 1915-1986            
Box 5                          

State Senator, 1957-1963

Box 6                

State Senator, 1963-1964



Box 7                

John Shivvers, 1917-1965



general information | history and mission | collections | reference services | news and events | home

For more information about this collection contact the Iowa Women's Archives.

Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City IA 52242.
Copyright © 2005. The University of Iowa. All rights reserved.
Please send comments to:

This page was created in April 2005.