Betty Crocker Homemaker Display_feature
Apr 09, 2013 • By

Remembering Betty Crocker Homemakers of Tomorrow

“I would like to have you join me on a trip down memory lane that involves General Mills, in particular the Betty Crocker company…”

So begins a letter we recently received from Barbara in Danvers, Mass.

Barbara wrote about her experience receiving the Homemaker of Tomorrow award at her high school in New Jersey back in 1958.

The Betty Crocker Search for the All-American Homemaker of Tomorrow, as it was officially known, was a one-of-a-kind scholarship program that ran from 1955 to 1977. When it began, organizers said the purpose of the program was “to focus national attention on the so-called ‘forgotten career’ of homemaking, and on the untiring job being done by America’s high schools to develop citizens and homemakers of the future.”

Scholarship money was awarded at the state and national level. The top winner from each state was flown to Washington D.C., where the national winners were chosen, following a week of competition. Local high school winners received a heart-shaped pin – something many of the recipients covet today.

Barbara shared these photos of her pin and wrote:

“When I wear the pin on a jacket or blazer, someone invariably asks me about the symbolism of the design, as it is truly unique. I enjoy recounting the history of this pin and how Betty Crocker was once a great influence on young girls.”

Contestants were required to take a 50-minute exam. The test, consisting of 150 questions, covered a variety of topics: family relationships, spiritual and moral values, child development and care, health and safety, utilization and conservation, money management, recreation and use of leisure time, home care and beautification, community participation, and continuing education.

Barbara recalled that the test was several pages long.

She wrote that she was stunned when it was announced at a school assembly that she’d won. “Winning this award made me even more conscious of the importance of hearth and home,” she added.

The year Barbara was named her school’s Homemaker of Tomorrow, more than 327,000 girls from 11,800 schools took the exam. (Originally, the program was only open to high school senior girls, but senior boys were allowed to participate starting in 1973.)

Dozens of Homemakers of Tomorrow responded to a blog post by Susan Marks, author of the book “Finding Betty Crocker.” Many of them claim they weren’t good homemakers – just good test-takers. Some confess they only took the exam to get out of class. Some say they were a little embarrassed by the whole thing.

One winner wrote that when her name was announced over the school intercom all the jocks started ribbing her about making them a sandwich.

Still, nobody’s joking about the $2.1 million in scholarships the program provided.

“My award paid for my whole first year’s tuition at Stanford,” wrote one winner.

“It paid my dorm fees for two years, so it was a great help,” wrote another.

Following school, this rather exclusive group of Homemakers of Tomorrow went on to fill many roles, including U.S. senator. Elizabeth Warren, a first-term senator from Massachusetts, won the award at her high school in 1966.

Thank you, Barbara, for your letter and for prompting this post on the Homemaker of Tomorrow program. We’d like to hear from other Homemakers of Tomorrow.

Editor’s note: The General Mills Archives provided information and images for this post. You can learn more about our past on GeneralMills.comHave a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.

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  • Lindsi and Jamie

    Not a good homemaker myself, I highly doubt I’d pass that exam! Lindsi, however could probably ace it! ~Jamie

  • Joan

    As soon as I saw that pin, I thought “I have to have one!” Fortunately, I found one on Ebay and it’s now mine! I’m so excited. I love this article!

    • Joan

      I received mine from Ebay today. It’s dated 1955 and is a state award winner pin and has rhinestones on it. How cool! I didn’t realize 1955 was the first year. I wish there was a way to determine which state winner it belonged to. It did come from Delaware, so maybe that’s it.

  • Katie Grant

    My Mother, Barbara Grant (Farnham at the time), was the state winner for Rhode Island in 1955. She has all her press & memorobilia. How can she contact you?

    • http://blog.generalmills.com Kevin Hunt

      Hi Katie… Have her send us an email and we can forward that to the Archives team to see if they want to follow up. Our email address is contact.blog@genmills.com. Thanks!

      Kevin Hunt
      General Mills

    • sue

      I was state winner for Massachusetts in 1958. We went on a tour of New York, and Williamsburg, along with dressing up in Colonial costumes. I sat next to Dick Clark and his wife in New York.
      It was all about the multiple choice test. I am a whiz at taking tests; not so much following the party homemaker line. You should see me today-wouldn’t recognize me! How about your mom?
      Susan Lothrop Protheroe
      East bridgewater high school, MA, 1958

  • Susan Liermann

    I won a pin for in 1973 and have lost it. Is there any way to get it replaced?

  • Cindy Peck

    I was John P. Stevens, Edison, NJ’s homemaker of tomorrow 1973!

  • stella

    I won the award at my highschool in 1975, no one ever told me that I might qualify for scholarship money….

    • sebshezu

      I won mine in 1956. I didn’t know much about it and was totally unaware of it going any further than our HS, With my school I believe that all the senior girls had to take it. When I won it, I was embarrased. I was kind of a tom boy and being the winner was a joke to me. I lost my pin in a fire, and after reading all this wish that I still had it.

  • Anne Milewski Petrovich

    I won mine in 1977 for my school and region. I took the test at the encouragement of my boyfriend at the time who was taking the test for scholarship money. Who knew that I would win (especially since my boyfriend graduated 10th in my high school class)! Glad I took the test! I received recognition at school and my picture in the school district paper. :)

    • Laurie

      I also won the award in 1977, though only for my school. I am curious, Anne – did you get a charm? I only got the certificate, no jewelry, and I am a teensy bit jealous of all the people who mention getting a charm or a pin. I do have the certificate framed, though, and it’s hanging in my laundry room. It still makes me smile. :-)

      • Anne Milewski Petrovich

        I never got the charm. I was surprised about the pin/charm–so much that I just bought it on eBay. So now I have a pin (I will when it comes in the mail). :o D The certificate is now MIA–I moved a lot over the years and it became a casualty. Since 1977 was the last year this award was given, they probably didn’t give anything out. What a shame. PS–Congratulations! :o D

        • Laurie

          I’m sorry you don’t have the certificate anymore, but I’m glad you found a pin. I’ve been thinking that perhaps having so many guys win in the last couple of years made the jewelry seem inappropriate. Wouldn’t they have loved to wear a Betty Crocker tie tack, lol? Thanks for responding to my question. It’s been fun to find out what the award was really all about, and to hear more from other winners.