Stories of ‘Banker’ Shively sought by historian/author Henderson
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: December 05, 2012
When one thinks of the late Douglas Shively, it’s almost always as the artist renowned for his plein air paintings, particularly his signature sycamores. But it’s Shively the banker that historian and author Mary Alice Orcutt Henderson is seeking information on.
Shively’s daughter Katherine Shively Wilbur retained Henderson, the longtime president of the Santa Paula Historical Society and author of several volumes of local history, to write a book about her father. Henderson’s biography of Shively will concentrate not only on his fame as an artist, but also his life as a writer, world traveler, rancher, “philanthropist and community supporter... he was just all those things.”
Being a banker was an equally important facet of Shively’s life: his father A. L. Shively opened Citizens State Bank in October 1929, just days before the Stock Market crash that triggered the Great Depression. Douglas, born in 1896, was named president of the bank in 1934.
Although Shively continued to ranch, travel, paint and be active in the arts - including as a co-founder of the famed Santa Paula Art Show in 1937 - his position as president of the bank made Shively a top city businessman. Shively retired as president of Citizens State Bank in 1974.
Henderson would like to hear from those who specifically had contact with Shively in his capacity as a banker. “I want to create an image of Douglas in the business setting to illustrate, said Henderson, “that he was a small town banker who felt a handshake was more important than some kind of a written contract.”
About a dozen years before he passed in 1991, Shively authored his own book - “Recollections of a Country Banker” - that offered his own impressions on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from art to commerce.
Henderson wants to hear from those who were on the other end of those deal-sealing Shively handshakes, or from those who are familiar with such stories often held close as family lore. “To some extent I believe Douglas’ business contacts” and business acumen were overlooked, activities not as widely visible or as memorable as his fine art.
Henderson said she wants those with “the stories of the banker Douglas Shively” to contact her by March 2013. Such memories can be sent to Henderson via email at email@example.com or at 1158 Woodland Drive, Santa Paula, CA 93060.