In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Betty Crocker name in 1936, a portrait was commissioned from Neysa McMein, a prominent New York artist. In her rendition, McMein blended the features of several Home Service Department members into a motherly image, which remained the official likeness of Betty Crocker for nearly 20 years.
In 1955, six well-known artists, including Norman Rockwell, were invited to paint fresh interpretations of Betty Crocker. About 1,600 women from across the country evaluated the finished works. The one they chose, by illustrator Hilda Taylor, was a softer, smiling version of the original image.
In 1965 and again in 1969, the portrait was updated by Joe Bowler, noted magazine illustrator. Both Bowler versions were dramatic departures from the earlier two—Betty Crocker was changing with the times.
The fifth portrait, painted in 1972 by Minnesota artist Jerome Ryan, depicted a more businesslike Betty Crocker, symbolizing American women’s newly significant role outside the home.
The 1980 version, however, has a softened image with more casual coiffure and clothing, allowing all women to more readily identify with her.
In 1986, New York artist Harriet Perchik portrayed Betty Crocker as a professional woman, approachable, friendly, competent and as comfortable in the boardroom as she is in the dining room.
For her 75th anniversary in 1996, a nationwide search found 75 women of diverse backgrounds and ages who embody the characteristics of Betty Crocker. The characteristics that make up the spirit of Betty Crocker are: enjoys cooking and baking; committed to family and friends; resourceful and creative in handling everyday tasks; and involved in her community. A computerized composite of the 75 women, along with the 1986 portrait of Betty, served as inspiration for the painting by internationally know artist John Stuart Ingle. The portrait was unveiled March 19, 1996, in New York City.
Won’t you come into our kitchen? Behind the scenes at the beloved Betty Crocker Kitchens.
Betty Crocker has been a cultural icon and part of families’ food traditions—not to mention a trusted source for recipes and homemaking know-how—for more than 90 years. Here’s a look back on how it all began.