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Bell Family, early 1953

Wendell Bell

Silent | ca. 1953

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  • About the video
  • Allan Shivers Allan Shivers
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Home movies from the Bell clan offer a great look at family life in 1950s Gatesville. In this footage, the Bells visit friends and family in south Texas. Also included is footage of Governor Allan Shivers at a Texas Guard parade formation and a Gatesville High School six-man football game.
Allan Shivers was a Texas politician who held several offices spanning the legislative and executive branch.  Born in Lufkin, Texas in 1907, he entered the University of Texas after high school hoping to become a lawyer like his father. Shivers dropped out a year later but returned after a brief stint working at an oil refinery.  Ever determined to the make the most of his college career, he joined several student groups and became president of the Student's Association.  He practiced law in Port Arthur after graduation until 1934 when the 27-year-old ran for his first position in public office: state senator.  His campaign was successful, making him the youngest member of the Texas Senate.
 
After serving in the U.S. military during World War II, Shivers was elected as state lieutenant governor in 1946 and again as an incumbent in 1948.  He is credited with consolidating much of the executive branch's power into this position with roles including the choice of which senators serve on particular committees to setting daily agendas.  Shivers succeeded Governor Beauford Jester upon the latter's death in 1949 and held the position for the next 7 and 1/2 years.  Under this new position he helped create the Legislation Council, the Legislative Budget Board alongside other pieces of legislature, including tax increases that served to expand state services.
 
Shivers took on several controversial positions that marred his image in later years.  He supported Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's bid for Presidency in 1952, seen as a traitorous move by his Democratic party.  Opposing Brown v. Board of Education and scandals involving his administration (such as the Veteran's Land Board Scandal) lost further support.
 
With his political life coming to an end, Shivers took on several leading roles at banks in Texas until gaining a six-year appointment to the University of Texas Board of Regents.  He helped raise funds for both the Law school and College of Communications (a $5 million grant) during this time.  Shivers passed away on January 14, 1985 after suffering from a heart attack.