• Due to renovations to our vault, access to our collections is limited until further notice. Please contact us for more information.

Lorena Showers papers

Guide to the Lorena Showers papers

Collection number: HMC-0221.
Creator: Showers, Lorena.
Title: Lorena Showers papers.
Dates: 1922-1997.
Volume of collection: 3.8 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of Anchorage union and senior citizen issues activist.

Biographical note:
Lorena Williams was born in Iowa. She married Roydon Showers in 1924. After living in Minnesota for several years, they moved to Juneau in 1940 and then to Anchorage in 1941. Lorena Showers worked as a waitress in Anchorage and became an active member of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) Union. Showers is often referred to as the “Grand Lady of Labor.” She negotiated the first union health program in Alaska in 1952 and served as one of the trustees of the program. Showers also helped negotiate a pension program between the union and various employers. In addition, Lorena Showers served on the Employment Security Commission Advisory Council and was an advocate for senior citizen issues and rights. She served on committees and boards of Older Persons Action Group (OPAG), Anchorage Senior Center; Anchorage Pioneer Home; the Senior Citizen Project Council; Governor’s Advisory Committee on Aging; Anchorage Municipal Senior Citizen’s Advisory Commission; the 1981 White House Conference on Aging; the Borough Advisory Council on Aging; and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Sourdough chapter 533. For all her work, Showers received numerous awards and accolades. In addition to advocating for union and senior citizen righsts, Showers wrote two books, Fifty Years in Alaska, A Union Member’s Story: Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local Union 878, and Here Come the Showers, about her husband.

Collection description:
The collection contains papers related to the life and activities of Lorena Showers. It contains personal papers, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, union and labor-related records, records relating to her work with senior citizen issues and rights, certificates and awards, and drafts of books she wrote.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Personal and professional papers; 1922-1997
Series 2: Travel records; 1967-1982
Series 3: Employment Security Commission and the Employment Security Advisory Council records; 1945-1972
Series 4: Writing records; 1940-1990
Series 5: Organizational records; 1954-1997
Series 6: Photographs; circa 1950-1996

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to materials authored or created by Lorena Showers.

Preferred citation: Lorena Showers papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Related materials: For more materials related to senior-related issues in Alaska, see the research guide: Senior Citizens Issues and Advocacy Collections. For more materials related to labor and union activities in Alaska, see the research guide: Labor Collections.
HMC-1335: Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union. Local 878 records; 1947-2000.
HMC-1336: Anchorage Senior Citizens Sunday Drop-In Center records; 1975-1995.

Acquisition note: The collection was presented to the archives by Lorena Showers in 1990. A deed of gift was signed in 1990. Additional papers were added in 1998, 1999, and 2004.

Processing information: This collection was described by Kathleen Hertel-Baker in 2000. The collection description was reformatted and updated to reflect additions to the collection by Mariecris Gatlabayan in 2013 and Arlene Schmuland in 2019. Published materials were removed from the collection in 2019 and many transferred to Rare Books or ephemera collections. HERE records were removed to a separate collection, as were the Anchorage Senior Center Sunday Drop-In Center ledgers.

Container list:
Series 1: Personal and professional papers; 1922-1997. 0.2 cubic feet.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/1 Draft of “Alaskan of the Year” speech 1989
1/2 Alaska Legislature tribute 1991 February 11
1/3 Declaration of Candidacy receipt 1972 July
1/4 Labor and union history records, correspondence, and notes 1942-1987
1/5 Membership, identification cards and visitor passes Undated
1/6 John F. Kennedy presidential inauguration invitation 1963
1/7 Appointment books 1989, 1995
1/8 High school graduation program, Boone High School, Iowa 1922
1/9 Memorial service books and programs from Anchorage Senior Center, Anchorage, Ridgeport, Iowa, and Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services 1997
1/10 Biographical notes undated
1/11-17 Personal and professional correspondence 1940-1997

 Series 2: Travel records; 1967-1982. 0.8 cubic feet.
This series relates to her travel around the world. The series contains travel diaries, records, conference presentations, and tourist maps and brochures.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/18 Africa 1982
1/19 China 1979
1/20 Egypt and Israel 1972, 1974
1/21 Europe 1973
1/22-23 Madrid and Europe 1974
1/24 Yugoslavia 1972
1/25 Travel journals 1967-1980
1/26 Travel photographs, Alaska, Iowa, and Hawaii 1968-1970
1/27 Travel photographs, Hawaii, Texas and California 1970
1/28 Travel photographs, Yugoslavia 1972
1/29 Travel photographs, Africa 1982
1/30 Travel photographs, China 1979
1/31 Travel photographs, India 1980
1/32 Travel photographs, Hawaii undated
1/33 Travel photographs, no locations identified, includes Alaska Undated
1/34 Travel planning correspondence and notes 1982
1/35 Glacier cruise rescue records 1988

 Series 3: Employment Security Commission and the Employment Security Advisory Council records; 1945-1972. 0.25 cubic feet.
This series contains records relating to Lorena Shower’s involvement in the Employment Security Commission of Alaska (reorganized in 1959 and renamed the Employment Security Division of the Alaska Department of Labor) and the Employment Security Advisory Council. Included are minutes of the Employment Security Commission and the Employment Security Advisory Council, annual reports of the Employment Security Commission and the Employment Security Division, reports and studies on employment security in Alaska, newspaper clippings, and other papers. Related photographs can be found in Series 6.

Box/Folder Description Dates
1/36-2/6 Employment Security Commission (ESC) Undated, 1945-1958
2/7-10 Employment Security Division (ESD) and Employment Security Advisory Council (ESAC) 1959-1962
2/11-14 Employment Security Advisory Council 1963-1968
2/15 ESC/ESD records Undated, 1956-1972

 Series 4: Writing records; 1940-1990. 0.25 cubic feet.
Research files for Lorena Showers’ Fifty Years in Alaska, A Union Member’s Story: Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local Union 878 and other union writing projects.

Box/Folder Description Dates
2/16-22 Research files: handwritten draft, notes, research materials, speeches and articles Undated, 1940-1990

Series 5: Organizational records; 1954-1997. 2.1 cubic feet.
This series contains documents relating to organizations with which Lorena Showers served. The series includes correspondence, notes, meeting minutes, awards, plaques, pins, badges, and certificates of appreciation and service presented to Lorena Showers. Items are arranged by organization or type of organization.

Box/Folder Description Dates
2/23, 4/1 National and international organizations: National Register of Prominent Americans election; Two Thousand Women of Achievement; Who’s Who of American Women; American Heritage Research Association; United States Senate Congressional Record “Tribute to Lorena Showers” by Sen. Ted Stevens; and AFL-CIO/City of Hope, “Spirit of Hope.” Includes awards, certificates, organizational records and correspondence. 1967-1991
2/24, 4/2 State and local organizations: Employment Security Advisory Council appointments; Governor’s Annual Picnic; City of Anchorage Citizens Committee for Community improvements; Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum registration receipt; Tent City Chamber of Commerce charter member; the Alaska Legislature and executive proclamation declaring September 28, 1991 as “Spirit of Life Day.” Includes awards, certificates, organizational records and correspondence. 1964-1991
2/25 Union activity awards, certificates, and photograph: Anchorage Central Labor Council George Meany Award; Alaska State AFL-CIO; Alaska State AFL-CIO Biennial Convention Credential of Delegate; and Alaska Alliance of Hotel, Restaurant and Bartenders photograph of officers Undated, 1954-1992
2/26 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans certificates of attendance 1974-1992
2/27, 5/4 Service group awards, certificates and memorabilia: Rotary Club; Anchorage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; National Foundation of Health, Welfare and Pension Plans Inc.; Christian Trabel Center; the Salvation Army; National Safety Council Safe Driving Campaign; the Lion’s Club International Undated, 1969-1993
2/28-37 American Association of Retired Persons, Sourdough chapter and Alaska chapter: meeting minutes, newsletters, research materials, and certificates 1982-1990
2/38-51 Senior advisory commissions records and certificates: Governor’s Advising Committee on Aging in the State of Alaska, the Salvation Army, the Salvation Army Advisory Council, Senior Citizens of Anchorage, Alaska; National Council of Senior Citizens, Inc., and Municipality of Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Committee. Includes files on the Alaska longevity bonus. 1974-1991
3/1-7 Anchorage Senior Center committee records, organizational records, and certificates of appreciation Undated, 1988-1994
3/8 International Center of Social Gerontology certificates of completion and attendance 1972-1974
3/9 Retired Senior Volunteer Program certificates of service Undated, 1989
3/10, 4/3 O.P.A.G. (Old Person Action Group) research materials and president plaque 1972
4/4 Alaska State Democratic Party plaque 1982
4/5 HERE “Union House” membership plaque Undated
4/6 National Foundation of Health, Welfare and Pension Plans plaque 1967
4/7 International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans plaque 1976
4/8 HERE Pension Trust and Alaska Hotel, Restaurant and Camp Employees Health and Welfare Trust, Board of Trustees, appreciation plaque 1997
5/1 AFL-CIO Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union delegate badges and union pins 1957-1986
5/2 Pioneers of Alaska and state political convention badges and pins 1976-1978
5/3 Service organizations and senior citizen group pins, badges, and ribbons Undated, 1982-1990
3/11 Anchorage Pioneer Home records 1992-1995

Series 6: Photographs; circa 1950-1996. 0.2 cubic feet.

Box/Folder Description Dates
3/12, 5/4 Showers’ union activities, and other organizations. circa 1950-1982
OSF 1 Panoramic photograph of Hotel Employee and Restaurant Employees International Union delegates to the 42nd general convention in Chicago. 1996 July 8


Comments are closed.