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Ives, Elizabeth Buffie

Born in Bloomington in 1897, Elizabeth Stevenson “Buffie” Ives was the first of two children born to Lewis Green and Helen Davis Stevenson. She successively attended Washington School in Bloomington, University High in Normal, Lake Shore Drive School for Girls in Chicago, Miss Wright’s School at Bryn Mawr, Pa, Union Theological Seminary in New York, and private study with psychologist Carl Jung in Switzerland. The family travelled repeatedly in the US and Europe during her childhood.

As a young woman, she engaged in a brief acting career. While on vacation in Switzerland in 1926, she met Ernst L. Ives (1887-1972), a member of the American embassy at Constantinople, Turkey, and a Norfolk. VA, native. The couple wed in Naples, Italy, Feb 5, 1927.

Ernest’s diplomatic career led them to live in Turkey, South Africa, Germany, France, and Northern Ireland. After Ernest’s retirement from the diplomatic service in 1939, the couple split their time between Southern Pines, Moore County, N.C. and the Stevenson Bloomington family home on Washington Street.

Son Timothy (1928-2004) was born in Chicago and grew up in a variety of international cities.

Active in historic preservation, Buffie was a key driver in the purchase and restoration of the Matthew T. Scott home in Chenoa, IL. Her grandparents, Letitia Green and Adlai E Stevenson I were married there and her father Lewis was born in that house. Buffie also became an active leader in historic preservation work in North Carolina. She was also an organizer and captain for the first Red Cross Motor Corps in Moore County, NC, during World War II.

The Stevenson family’s political engagement included her great grandfather, Jesse Fell, founder of Normal and prominent support of Abraham Lincoln. Grandfather Adlai E Stevenson I became a congressman from Illinois and U.S. Vice President under Grover Cleveland. Father Lewis G. Stevenson served as Illinois Secretary of State from 1914-16. Buffie actively participated in her brother Adlai E. Stevenson II’s campaign for Illinois governor (1948) plus his US presidential campaigns in 1952 and 1956. She served as the Executive Mansion hostess for his gubernatorial years (1949-1953).

In addition, Buffie was involved in many civic and arts organizations such as music and arts associations, Illinois State Historical Society, McLean County Historical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, League of Women Voters, and American Association for the United Nations, McLean County. She and husband Ernest founded and supported the outdoor drama Forever This Land as performed at New Salem State Park in 1951-52.

She joined her husband in archeology exploits overseas, wrote two books about her brother Adlai, and explored genealogy.

Buffie died in 1994 at age 96 and is buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington.

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