Elizabeth “Buffie” Ives

Siblings Fashion a Home

Elizabeth “Buffie” Ives had always been close with her brother Adlai Stevenson, even at their childhood home in Bloomington. Early in life while their father was often away, they found a sense of home in each other. Even the lifelong nickname Buffie grew from Adlai’s childhood mispronunciation of her name. After Buffie married Ernest Ives, she and Adlai remained close confidantes.

It was a relationship built on an unbreakable foundation.

When Adlai became Illinois’s governor in 1949, his marriage was already under stress and completely fell apart later that year. Buffie stepped in to fulfill the formal duties of first lady as her brother’s hostess, spending much of her time at the Illinois Governor’s Mansion. A major part of this role included furnishing and redecorating the mansion. Her eye for decorating added comfort to their new surroundings, but the enduring bond between sister and brother made it a home.


Object labels:

Stevenson-Ives Christening Gown

A christening gown worn by Buffie and likely by Adlai.

Courtesy of the McLean County Historical Society

Portrait of Catharine Yates

Oil painting of former Illinois First Lady Catherine Yates selected by Buffie to hang in the Governor’s Mansion during Adlai’s administration.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

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