Open main menu

William S. Beardsley

William Shane "Bill" Beardsley (May 13, 1901 – November 21, 1954) was the 31st Governor of Iowa from 1949 to 1954.

William Shane "Bill" Beardsley
Bill Beardsley.png
31st Governor of Iowa
In office
January 13, 1949 – November 21, 1954
LieutenantKenneth A. Evans (1949–1951)
William H. Nicholas (1951–1953)
Leo Elthon (1953–1954)
Preceded byRobert D. Blue
Succeeded byLeo Elthon
Member of the Iowa House of Representatives
In office
Member of the Iowa State Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1901-05-13)May 13, 1901
Beacon, Iowa, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 1954(1954-11-21) (aged 53)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materIowa State University


Beardsley was born in Beacon, Iowa to William and Carrie Shane Beardsley, and grew up in Birmingham, Iowa. The son of a pharmacist, he attended pharmacy school himself, and established a drugstore in New Virginia, Iowa in 1922. He was elected to the Iowa Senate, and served from 1933 to 1941. From 1938 to 1946, he raised cattle and hogs on his farm in New Virginia. He was appointed to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1947 to fill the term of a Representative who had died, and became a prominent opponent of the labor and education policies of Governor Robert D. Blue, a fellow Republican. In June 1948, Beardsley successfully challenged Blue in the Republican primary, and went on to an easy victory in the general election.

Beardsley was known for his advocacy of a balanced state budget, and his opposition to the Truman administration's Brannan Plan. He was reelected in 1950 and 1952, but chose not to run for a fourth term in 1954. During his tenure the following notable accomplishments were achieved: workmen's compensation benefits were increased; the highway patrol was expanded; anti-gambling laws were sanctioned; roads, schools, and institutions were all advanced; and a World War II veteran's bonus was authorized.

On November 21, 1954, Beardsley was killed in a highway accident on Iowa 60 just north of Des Moines while returning from a visit to his son, Dan Beardsley, a student at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He is interred at the New Virginia cemetery in New Virginia, Iowa.