RVA50 Object 44 “Eleanor Parker Sheppard, 1964”

Eleanor Parker Sheppard, 1964
Frank S. Rowley, Jr.
Oil on canvas

Eleanor Parker Sheppard (1907-1991) may have been born in Pelham, Georgia, but her notable achievements happened in Richmond politics.  Voted the first woman mayor of an incorporated city in Virginia, she served from 1962 to 1964.

After moving to Richmond in 1936, Eleanor Sheppard began her political activities as a member of the Ginter Park Parent Teacher Association, in time becoming president of the Richmond Federation of PTA’s.  She was elected to Richmond City Council in 1954 and served until 1968, when she left to run for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Following the collapse of the Equal Rights Amendment, the acronym “ERA” came to mean “Eleanor is Running Again!” for a generation of Richmond voters.

Gift of the City of Richmond, Virginia, 1974