Shirley Farr

Shirley Farr
Shirley Farr

Time Period

1940 to Today

Notable Facts

Civic leader in the town of Brandon for many years. National president of the Women's Overseas Service League in Paris during WWI. National vice-president of the AAUW and a member of the Rutland branch. Gifted Branbury Beach to the state, as well as supporting scholarship monies at UVM and through AAUW.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Primary Residence




Historical Significance

Shirley Farr was born to Vermont natives and spent her early years mostly in Illinois and Wisconsin. She was raised by her grandparents for several years in Ripon, WI after her mother's death. Farr earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1904.

From 1907-1909, she taught French and history at Ripon College. After her father's death in 1913, she succeeded him as a member of the Board of Trustees at Ripon College and held this post until her death. She was a history instructor at the University of Chicago from 1914-1918. From 1929-1934, she was a counselor in the history department.

Shirley Farr traveled to France as peace was declared at the end of WWI. She worked with wounded American soldiers at a base hospital in Hiers. She had attended undergraduate school in Paris and worked as a researcher in the Paris Archives. She became involved with the newly formed organization, The Women's Overseas Service League, which provided support to needy overseas volunteers. For a time she was this organization's national president.

Farr then lived in Washington D.C. from 1921-1922 at the club house of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and had a position as assistant editor of the "American Historical Review". She served as vice-president and committee member of the AAUW, and was a member of the Rutland Branch.

Shirley Farr is best remembered in Vermont for her contributions to the town of Brandon. In 1920, the year that women won the right to vote, Farr registered to vote in Brandon, and voted there every November thereafter. From 1942 on, she lived year-round in a family home in Brandon. She represented the town in the state legislature in 1945 and 1947. She served as a Vermont Elector during President Eisenhower's first election.

Shirley Farr served as a board member of several businesses: the Vermont Children's Aid Society, The Vermont State Symphony Orchestra, and the Brandon library.

Farr is remembered for her generous philanthropy. She gifted Branbury Beach and nearby forest lands, which are now the site of a state park. She also made it possible for many students to receive an education, contributing scholarship money to Ripon College, the University of Vermont, and the AAUW.

Organizations or Movements

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • The Women's Overseas Service League
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
  • Women Students Christian League


  • Educator
  • Writer
  • Legislator
  • Civic Leader
  • Philanthropist


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, (1904).

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • "Those Indomitable Vermont Women", essay by Catherine Ashburner Link

  • Guide to the Shirley Farr Papers Link

  • History of the Lilac Inn Link