Guide to the Paul V. Shearer Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1919-1995
Creator: Shearer, Paul V. (1919-1995)
Extent: 1.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0489
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Lawyer, owner and publisher of the Columbus Gazette, and Methodist lay leader. Copies of his newspaper column, correspondence, speeches, and biographical material. Also conference programs, debates, commission reports, etc., relating to the Methodist Church.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 2

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: The papers of Paul V. Shearer were given to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1996 by his widow, Barbara Shearer.

Preferred Citation: Paul V. Shearer Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Biographical Note

Paul Victor Shearer was born in Columbus Junction, Iowa, in 1919, to B.H. and Maude Shearer. B.H. was the owner and publisher of The Columbus Gazette newspaper. Paul Shearer graduated from Columbus Junction High School in 1936. He attended the University of Iowa, where he received his B.A. in 1940 and his law degree in 1942.
In 1943, Shearer married Barbara Smith. He was a veteran of World War II. After his service Shearer and his wife lived in Washington, Iowa, from 1946 until his death in 1995. He was a lawyer with a practice in Washington, Iowa, and he was very active in local civic affairs. He was a member of the YMCA, District Boy Scouts, Masonic Lodge #107, American Legion, Rotary, and the Washington County, Iowa, and American Bar Associations.
Shearer was a member of the Board of Fellows of the University of Iowa School of Religion. He served as president of that Board in 1983-1984. He was also very active in his local United Methodist Church. He taught Sunday school for fifty years. Shearer was a founding trustee of the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He served as a lay leader of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church and was elected as a delegate to ten general conferences worldwide. He was a member of the committee that studied the question of a separate jurisdiction (the Central Jurisdiction) for African-American members of the Methodist Church. Shearer was an advocate for abolishing segregation in the church and was a member of the Iowa delegation that requested the first black bishop outside of the Central Jurisdiction.
In 1979, Paul Shearer took over as owner and publisher of The Columbus Gazette. He wrote a regular column for that paper that also appeared in the Washington Evening Journal. His column in The Columbus Gazette was entitled "ImPRESSions" and featured travel logs of trips taken by himself and his wife, Barbara. Shearer wrote of trips in Iowa, Missouri, the southwestern United States, and Haiti.
Shearer and his wife, Barbara had two children, a son, Mark, and a daughter, Jane. Paul V. Shearer died on April 5, 1995, after an extended battle with cancer.

Content Description

The papers of Paul V. Shearer consist of two boxes of manuscripts, dating from 1919 to 1995. The contents include articles written by Shearer for his "ImPRESSions" column for The Columbus Gazette, biographical data, and correspondence of business, personal, political and religious significance dating from 1937 to 1994. The collection also contains considerable material concerning the Methodist Church, including Iowa, North Central Jurisdictional, and international conference materials. Materials related to the debate about the Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church are in the collection. Shearer's speeches on civic and religious events are included as are copies of family photographs. Shearer headed the committee for the creation of a bicentennial time capsule in Washington county, Iowa, and those materials are represented in these papers.

Related Materials

B. H. Shearer Papers (MsC 242)

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Corporate Names:
United Methodist Church (U.S.)
United Methodist Church (U.S.) Iowa Conference

Church history
Lay ministry
Methodist Church
Newspaper publishing


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Columbus Junction
United States -- Iowa
United States -- Iowa -- Washington

English & American Literature
Writers Archive at Iowa
Newspaper & Magazine Editors & Publishers
Clergy and the Church