Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Since very little research has been dedicated to the Independent Voters’ Association and its leadership, much of the work of this thesis had to come from manuscript collections, various theses, and other secondary sources. Events surrounding George F. Shafer’s career presented some special problems to the researcher.

After Shafer’s death in 1948, his widow had workmen remove his personal papers from his law office and many were accidentally thrown away. What comprises his remaining papers are in the Special Collections Library at the University of North Dakota. Various campaign speeches are also drawn from the Clyde Duffey and Theodore G. Nelson manuscript collections at the University of North Dakota, the North Dakota Institute of Regional Studies, the State Historical Society of North Dakota archives, a few personal papers drawn from sources in Watford City, North Dakota, and several lengthy personal interviews with nephew Gerald F. Shafer.

To reconstruct Shafer’s public career, reliance was placed upon many newspapers. The best papers to accommodate this were George Shafer’s hometown papers of the Schafer Record. The Watford Guide, and the McKenzie Countv Farmer. The Bismarck Tribune was the best paper for covering the state’s political news and a lengthy time was spent reviewing the issues from 1917 to 1933. The major dailies of the state were consulted when noteworthy events occurred in a campaign or at the meeting of a political convention.

The use of these sources helped to illustrate and assess the public career of George F. Shafer, and the Independent Voters’ Association, placing them in context that they deserve.