Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Great American Rail-Trail

Agriculture & Ranching Politics, Policy & Justice Women's History

In this formal portrait, Senator Eva Kelly Bowring wears a plain blazer and has her hair neatly pulled back. In her lap she holds her glasses, as if ready and waiting to get back to work serving the people of Nebraska.

U.S. Senator Eva Bowring’s husband, Arthur, established this homestead and ranch in 1894 and, after his death in 1944, Eva ran it until she died in 1985. At that time Bowring Ranch was donated to the state of Nebraska as a park that would preserve the history of ranching in the Sandhills. Bowring became a senator in 1954, when Nebraska’s governor appointed her to fill the seat of the recently deceased Dwight Griswold. Bowring had over 30 years of involvement with the Nebraska Republican Party and was no stranger to politics. She served only six months in the Senate—choosing not to run for election at the end of the term—but claimed that she took over the seat because of her belief that women had to contribute to political life. When CBS journalist Larry LeSueur asked in an interview whether she could do “just as well on committee work as a man can,” Bowring responded, “You don’t do well or badly because you’re a man or a woman. It depends how you feel about the problems and the intelligence you have to bring about on them.”


Tolchin, Susan J. Women in Congress, 1917–1976. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976.

Alexander Street. “Chronoscope, Sen. Eva Bowring (R-NE), Interview by Bill Costello and Larry LeSueur.” New York: Columbia Broadcasting System, 1954. Accessed December 10, 2019.


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