Skip to main content
Idaho Harvester home, Baby Joe Vandal logo
Special Collections & Archives, University of Idaho Library home
Featured Image

Louise Shadduck

The Lioness of Idaho

Series: Wonder Women

Last summer, the University of Idaho Special Collections and Archives applied for a grant to process the papers of Idaho journalist, political activist, public servant, author, speaker, and lobbyist, Louise Shadduck. Offered through the Idaho State Historical Records Advisory Board this grant provided funding for archival materials and to supplement the pay to hire a student worker to process the collection. Over a period of approximately three months, our newly hired student worker, Jay Gaines, worked to rehouse and organize the collection.

With an interest in Museum Studies, Jay was excited to take on this project to learn about archival processes. The collection consisted of approximately 25 boxes of materials, some of which were in folders, but much of which was loose in boxes. Jay went through the materials rehousing the materials that were already foldered and working to understand what the rest of the materials meant. In the process they learned more and more about Louise Shadduck, not just about her writing and political career, but also that Shadduck loved art and often painted and doodled on pieces of paper.

Going through the organization process, Jay discovered that the materials included, photographs, book research and drafts, speech cards, and materials relating to government, journalism, the government, as well as personal materials, such as Louise’s art. They followed the archival process of organizing materials into Series and Sub-Series and created a finding aid, so that researchers may now more easily find the collection. Below is the biography Jay wrote for the Louise Shadduck papers aid and some select pictures of Shadduck.

Louise Shadduck
Louise Shadduck
Louise Shadduck and four other women
Louise Shadduck and four other women
Louise Shadduck receives Girl Scout pin
Louise Shadduck receives Girl Scout pin
Louise Shadduck and two men from China
Louise Shadduck and two men from China
Louise Shadduck recieves honorary degree
Louise Shadduck recieves honorary degree

Biography for finding aid written by Jay Gaines in February 2022

Louise Shadduck was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 1915 as the only daughter amidst six brothers on a dairy farm. She was a native Idahoan her whole life, and her passion and pride for the state were defining features in her career that eventually earned her the title of the “Lioness of Idaho”. Her career began shortly after graduating high school in 1933 when she was hired as a journalist in Coeur d’Alene. Soon after, her writing skills and involvement with the Republican party garnered the attention of Senator Henry Dworshak. Shadduck would continue her journalistic writing throughout her political career, as the president of the Idaho Press Women in 1966 and president of the National Federation of Press Women from 1971-1973. She then began working for Governor Charles Robins in 1946, where she shortly moved up the ranks and became the first female administrative assistant- and furthermore, the first woman in the U. S. to serve at the state cabinet level.

In 1956 Shadduck ran for U. S. Congress, ultimately losing to Gracie Pfost but making history in the process. Instead, she was appointed by Governor Bob Smylie to head commerce and development. While in this position, she was successful in implementing major events for the state such as the Boy Scout World Jamboree. In 1969, she returned to an administrative assistant position, this time at the helm of Congressman Orval Hansen. Shadduck then went on to lobby for the Idaho forest industry, even traveling to China in 1979 to do so. She also lobbied for various social issues, including speaking against the rise of Aryan groups in Idahoan areas. Louise Shadduck received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Idaho and was recognized in the Hall of Fame of National Federation of Press Women.

Following her political career, her writing career led her to publish five works from 1990 up to her death in 2008: Andy Little: Idaho Sheep King; Doctors with Buggies, Snowshoes, and Planes; At the Edge of the Ice; Rodeo Idaho; and, The House that Victor Built. Louise Shadduck was a decorated speaker as well as writer, and was frequently praised for her quality of speeches which continued to give until her final year. She never married or had children, but was survived by many nieces and nephews who all sung high praises of her character and progress. In her free time, she enjoyed painting and sketching, often decorating binders and envelopes with her art. Shadduck also had a fond spot for humor, as detailed by her speech “Idaho is a Funny State” and her various clippings of humorous quotes. Louise Shadduck’s impact on Idaho can be plainly seen through her assemblage of works in this collection today.

Have Feedback on this post or the site?

Send us your thoughts!