MsC 242


Manuscript Register




Collection Dates: 1901 -- 1969

4.25 linear ft.


This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900


Posted to Internet: August, 2002



Acquisition Note: The papers of B.H. Shearer were given to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1971 by Shearer's sons, Paul, William, and Woodrow.


Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.


Photographs: Box 9


Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.


Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"


Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.


Biographical Note

Brainard Hayes Shearer (1881 -- 1970) was born and raised in Ida Grove, Iowa. He graduated from high school in 1902 and attended Drake University for one year. He taught school in Ida County from 1904 to 1907, when he decided to become a printer and traveled to take jobs in South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

In 1909, B.H. Shearer moved to Columbus Junction, Iowa, where he purchased the Columbus Gazette from Mrs. O.I. Jamison. In 1924, he purchased the Columbus Safeguard, which he then incorporated into the Gazette. During the 1920s, Shearer also published a small church newspaper, The Blessed Truth, which had a worldwide circulation of about 3,000 copies each month. B.F. Shearer was also the publisher of the Iowa Union Farmer and the Illinois Union Farmer. He worked closely with Milo Reno who acted as editor-in-chief of the Iowa Union Farmer. Reno was the president of the Farmers Union and the leader of the Farmers Holiday movement. The Iowa Union Farmer was also edited for a while by H.R. Gross, who later went on to be a longtime member of U.S. House of Representatives.

Shearer was very active in community affairs. He was a member of the Columbus Junction school board for nearly twenty-five years, was president of the Columbus Junction chapter of the American Red Cross, was a member of the Masonic Lodge, and was the superintendent of the Columbus Junction Methodist Episcopal Church Sunday school for thirty-two years. In county matters he was a member of the Board of Social Welfare of Louisa County and was treasurer of the Louisa County chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. In 1941, the governor appointed him to the Louisa County Defense Council. As a Democrat, Shearer acted as the Louisa County Chairman during Woodrow Wilson's administration.

B.H. Shearer was honored with many awards over the years. He was given a community-wide appreciation dinner by the Business and Professional Women's Club and the businessmen of Columbus Junction and he was honored by the Press Columnists of Iowa. In 1952, he received the Iowa Master Editor Publisher Award. At the time of his death in 1970, B.H. Shearer had had the distinction of being the editor-publisher of a weekly newspaper in Iowa under the same name and location for over sixty years.

Scope and Contents


The papers of B.H. Shearer include correspondence, journals, subject files, and photographs documenting his life and career. There are nearly four boxes of correspondence spanning some fifty years with letters from such notables as Guy M. Gillette, James A. Farley, Harold Royce Gross, Clyde La Verne Herring, Nelson George Kraschel, William Frederick Kopp, Edward Clayton Eicher, Arthur Capper, Louis Murphy, Lester Jesse Dickinson, Smith W. Brookhart, Alfred E. Smith, Woodrow Wilson, John Hammill, Ray Murphy, Edwin R. Hicklin, Henry Field, Gardner Cowles, and Milo Reno.

Shearer's journals for the years 1901 through 1969 are present, as are the journals of his wife from 1952 -- 1954. The collection also contains Shearer family genealogical records. Business records for his newspapers and other ventures include tax receipts, vouchers, bank statements, and insurance premiums. Financial reports relate not only to his businesses but also to Ida and Louisa counties. Subject files include topics ranging from the Iowa Farmers Union to the Louisa County Fair.

Related Materials:

The Papers of Paul Shearer MsC 489

Box List

Box 1



1909 -- 1929

Box 2

Correspondence, cont.

1930 -- 1937

Box 3

Correspondence, cont.

1938 -- 1959

Box 4


Family Letters, 1941 -- 1945

Vouchers and Receipts

Miscellaneous non-manuscript items

Bank Statements

Tax Receipts

Louisa County Tax Levies

Box 5


"1908 and 1909 Dates and later in book of Sister Bessie " B. H. Shearer

1901 -- 1906

1932 -- 1933

1935 -- 1937

1943 -- 1945

1947 -- 1959

Maude Shearer

1952 -- 1954

Box 6


B. H. Shearer 1960 -- 1969

Box 7

Insurance Premium Receipts

Miscellaneous Printed Material

Newspapers published by B.H. Shearer, including issues of the Iowa Union Farmer, 1933 -- 1934

Obituaries and eulogies for B.H. Shearer

Programs from conventions of The Iowa Farmers Union, 1920, 1937, 1941, 1946

"Greatest Discoveries Ever Made -- Found in Our Bible and The Great Pyramid" by O. Gordon Pickett

Box 8

Programs from Louisa County Fair, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1916, 1918, 1932, 1963, 1966

"What Makes Columbus Community?" 1965

"Columbus Day U.S.A. Celebration, Columbus, Ohio"

Financial Report, Ida County, Iowa, 1935

Financial Reports and Year Books, Louisa County, Iowa, 1916, 1919 -- 1921, 1923 -- 1924, 1927 -- 1936, 1962

"A Tentative Plan of School District Reorganization for Louisa County, January, 1954"

"Genealogical Record of The Shearer and Wise Family Relationship"

"Genealogical Record of the John Plasterer Family"

Box 9


2nd Annual Convention, F.E.C.U.A., Iowa Division, Des Moines, September 11 -- 13, 1918

3rd Annual Convention, F.E.C.U.A., Iowa Division, Des Moines, September 17 -- 19, 1919

14th Annual Convention, Iowa Farmers Union, Des Moines, September 16 -- 19, 1930



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