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Bowring, Eva Kelly (1892–1985)

Bowring, Eva Kelly (1892–1985)

U.S. Senator, Republican of Nebraska, 83rd Congress, April 16, 1954–November 7, 1954. Born in Nevada, Missouri, on January 9, 1892; died in Gordon, Nebraska, on January 8, 1985; married, in 1924 (widowed); married Arthur Bowring, in 1928.

Eva Kelly Bowring came to the U.S. Senate by way of Governor Robert B. Crosby, who appointed her to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Dwight Griswold. She was sworn in on April 26, 1954, and her term, according to Nebraska law, would run until the next general election, when another candidate would be selected to finish out Griswold's term.

Bowring brought with her political experience and a personal understanding of the needs of Nebraska's agricultural constituents. While helping her second husband work his cattle ranch near Merriman, Nebraska, she was active in local Republican politics and in the Nebraska Stockgrowers Association. She later served eight years as vice chair of the Nebraska Republican Central Committee and was director of women's activities for the Nebraska Republican Party.

Her tenure in the Senate included membership on the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, and the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Bowring's first speech on the Senate floor was to advocate a program of flexible agricultural price supports. She also sponsored legislation providing for flood control works in the Gering Valley of Nebraska and, with senator Hugh A. Butler, introduced a bill for the construction of the Red Willow Dam and Reservoir.

In June 1954, Bowring announced that she would retire from the Senate rather than enter the election for the two-month term to complete Griswold's tenure. She then served on the national advisory council of the National Institutes of Health and on the board of parole of the Department of Justice. She died on January 8, 1985, in Gordon, Nebraska.


Office of the Historian. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Commission on the Bicentenary of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1991.

suggested reading:

Donovan, R.G. "Lady from the Sand Hills," in Independent Woman 33. June 1954, pp. 204–06.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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