Betty MacDonald

Betty MacDonald

Original Name Anne Elizabeth Bard
Death 7 Feb 1958 (aged 50)
Seattle, King County, Washington, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 8003095 · View Source
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Author. She is most remembered for her 1945 satirical memoir “The Egg and I,” which is about living on a chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington. As her first attempt at writing, her book made the Best Sellers list at #8 in 1945, #1 in 1946 and #7 in 1947. After one rejection from an editor “The Egg and I” was published in a magazine, “Atlantic Monthly,” in parts and later published as a book by J. B. Lippincott. Her book led to ten movies from 1947 to 1957 with the main characters being Ma and Pa Kettle. In the movie, MacDonald and her first husband were played by Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Many of the people in her memoirs were unhappy about what was written about them and later sued, but MacDonald won the libel suit since no names were mentioned. Her book was translated into more than 30 languages. Loving MacDonald's sense of humor, her sister Mary encouraged her to write about her life's hilarious accounts. Besides her memoirs, she wrote a series of six children’s books entitled “Mrs Piggle Wiggle”. Born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard, called Betsy in childhood, and later known world-wide as Betty MacDonald, she was the daughter of Darsie and Elsie Sydney Bard. Some sources state her birth year as 1908, yet 1907 is documented on her Baptismal record, the Federal Census records, and her school records. During her childhood, her family relocated several times with her father's engineering profession. Her first marriage was on July 9, 1927 to Robert E.. Heskett, and the couple settled in the tiny community of Center in the Chimacum Valley of Washington to become chicken farmers. Her dislike for chicken farming came when every penny that the couple made went to buy more than 4,000 chickens, hence the “The Egg and I.” Their rural farm house had no plumbing or electricity. After four years and two daughters, she left her husband and returned to her parents' home. She worked at odd jobs to support her daughters and her divorce was final in 1935. In an era before antibiotics, a bout with tuberculosis forced her to spend a year in Firland Sanatorium. Her second marriage was on April 29, 1942 to Donald C. MacDonald. The couple and her daughters, who were using the surname MacDonald, moved to Vashon Island to live on the beach in a summer house the year around, hence the home was cold in the winter. It was from this adventure that she wrote her 1955 novel, “Onion in the Stew”. In 1948 she wrote “The Plague and I”, which was about her year in the sanatorium. This was followed in 1950 by “Anyone Can Do Anything”. In 1952, her and her husband moved to California to start a business in cattle ranching. At one point after her successful book “The Egg and I”, her second husband did try a commercial egg business. In 1959, she wrote “Who, Me?”, an autobiography that was published posthumously. Her personal life was the subject of her writings. She died from cancer just over a month before her 51st birthday.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Laurie
  • Added: 19 Oct 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8003095
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Betty MacDonald (26 Mar 1907–7 Feb 1958), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8003095, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.