Betty Crocker, the First Lady of Food

By | November 30, 2019

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Betty Crocker logo. Source: (

Today, the name Betty Crocker is most recognizable as a brand of boxed cake and brownie mix, but that has not always been the case. Hailed as the “Dear Abby” of cooking, Betty Crocker was originally the go-to source for the various kitchen-related questions and problems which plagued the women of the early to mid-nineteenth century. What those women didn’t know was that Betty Crocker was not a real person.

Betty Crocker was born in 1921, the result of an ad campaign for Gold Medal Flour, a product of the Washburn Crosby Company, a flour-milling company that started in the late 1800s and would go on to become General Mills. The ad, which was placed in the Saturday Evening Post, featured a jigsaw puzzle of a milling scene and offered a pincushion shaped like a sack of Gold Medal flour to anyone who completed the puzzle and mailed it in. Thousands of puzzles were sent in, many of which included letters asking questions about baking.

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Washburn-Crosby. Source: (

In charge of responding to these letters was the all-male advertising department, headed by Samuel Gale. The men of that department would consult the women of the Gold Medal Home Service staff before responding to the letters. However, Gale felt that since most of the letters were from women, those women would probably prefer to have their questions answered by another woman. So, they decided to create a fictitious female persona to sign the response letters.

The last name, Crocker was chosen in honor of William G. Crocker, the recently retired director of the Washburn Crosby Company. The first name Betty was chosen simply because it sounded friendly. The next step was to create the signature. Gale invited all the female employees of the company to submit signatures. They chose the most distinctive one, submitted by a secretary named Florence Lindeberg, and that signature is still used by the brand today.