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Betty Hawthorne Oral History Interview

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Betty Hawthorne Oral History Interview


Betty Hawthorne begins this interview by speaking about her early childhood, which was spent in Seattle, Washington and Kobe, Japan until she was about seven years old. Hawthorne later attended the University of Washington, earning a degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry in 1941. She also attended UW for her graduate degree in Human Nutrition, minoring in Education within the school of Home Economics and completing work in 1944. Hawthorne then describes entering the Naval Reserve and, in 1946, accepting a vacancy at Oregon State College within the School of Home Economics. She then discusses some of the projects that she participated in when she began doing research at OSC.

From there, Hawthorne discusses the personality of the administrators and educators on the OSU campus and her belief that OSU has always been able to hire quality faculty to keep each program up to standard. She says she continued a tradition—which was started by a previous Dean of Home Economics, Ava Milam Clark—of making her students dinner at home or taking them out to restaurants. Hawthorne says it was important to have close relationships with her students but admits that she would not be able to do such a thing today because of the great increases in enrollment within Home Economics at OSU. Hawthorne also notes that she was offered several other positions across the country, but never wanted to leave the Pacific Northwest nor OSU.

Hawthorne next describes how her home economics background has helped broaden her career. She says, for example, that she was asked to participate in a trip to Japan to help expand the role of home economics within the Johnson Wax Company. This trip also began to strengthen the tie between students in Japan and OSU. Hawthorne also states that she was the first woman to serve on the board of Curtice-Burns (a food processing and marketing company) in 1976 and on the Pacific Power and Light Company Board in 1979, and was recently elected to be the president of the American Home Economics Association Foundation. She then explains why, in her opinion, home economists should participate in professional associations.

Hawthorne then describes her current and past hobbies, including skiing, mountain climbing, reading and gardening. The interview concludes with thoughts on change across generations.


Betty Hawthorne


College of Home Economics Oral Histories (OH 11)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


March 5, 1984


Sheri Lowery and Yvonne Loso


Digitized audiocassette




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Sheri Lowery and Yvonne Loso


Betty Hawthorne


Hawthorne residence, Corvallis, Oregon

Original Format




OHMS Object

Interview Format


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  1. hawthorne-1947.jpg