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Vera Cahalan Bushfield (August 9, 1889 – April 16, 1976) was a U.S. Senator from South Dakota briefly in 1948, as well as the First Lady of South Dakota from 1939 to 1943.

Vera Bushfield
United States Senator
from South Dakota
In office
October 6, 1948 – December 26, 1948
Preceded byHarlan Bushfield
Succeeded byKarl Mundt
First Lady of South Dakota
In office
January 3, 1939 – January 5, 1943
GovernorHarlan Bushfield
Preceded byElizabeth Ward Jensen
Succeeded byEmily Auld Sharpe
Personal details
Born(1889-08-09)August 9, 1889
Miller, South Dakota, U.S.
DiedApril 16, 1976(1976-04-16) (aged 86)
Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin, Stout (BA)
Dakota Wesleyan University
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Born in Miller, South Dakota, she attended the public schools, graduated from the Stout Institute in Menomonie, Wisconsin, and also attended Dakota Wesleyan University and the University of Minnesota.

In 1912, she married Harlan J. Bushfield, and they had three children Mary J. (b. 1913), John P. (b. 1914), and Harlan J. (b. 1921). The Bushfields were residents of Miller.

Harlan Bushfield was an attorney and Republican Party official who served as Governor of South Dakota from 1939 to 1943. During his governorship, his wife was the official sponsor of the launch of the USS South Dakota (BB-57) on June 7, 1941, in Camden, New Jersey.

Harlan Bushfield served as a U.S. Senator from 1943 until his death in September 1948. He was not running for reelection in 1948, and the contest to succeed him was between Karl E. Mundt, the Republican nominee, and Democrat John A. Engel.

On October 6, 1948, Vera Bushfield was appointed to the Senate to temporarily fill the vacancy caused by her husband's death. She served from October 6, 1948, until her resignation on December 26, 1948. Mundt had won the November election, and her resignation enabled Governor George T. Mickelson to appoint Mundt to the vacancy, giving him a few days of additional seniority over other Senators elected in 1948, whose terms began in January 1949.

Vera Bushfield died in Fort Collins, Colorado on April 16, 1976. She is buried at the G.A.R. Cemetery in Miller.

See alsoEdit


  • United States Congress. "Vera C. Bushfield (id: B001169)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Vera C. Bushfield at Find a Grave
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Harlan Bushfield
United States Senator (Class 2) from South Dakota
Served alongside: Chandler Gurney
Succeeded by
Karl Mundt