Betty Bard MacDonald Collection
William Goetz and Betty MacDonald in Hollywood for the film, The Egg and I, 1946
Author Betty MacDonald (born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard) was born to parents Darsie and Elsie/Sydney Bard on March 26, 1908, in Boulder, Colorado. Her family moved often before settling in Seattle, where Betty attended the St. Nicholas School and Lincoln High School before graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1924. She later attended the University of Washington.
On July 9, 1927, Betty married Robert E. Heskett. The couple moved to a small farming community, Center in the Chimacum Valley, near Port Townsend. During this time, Betty and Robert operated an egg ranch. It was this experience that inspired MacDonald to write one of her most famous books, "The Egg and I." MacDonald left Heskett after four years of marriage, and returned to Seattle with her daughters, Anne and Joan.
Throughout the 1930s, Betty lived with her mother and sisters (Mary Bard, Dede Bard, and Alison Bard) in Seattle and was eventually hired by the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and then the United States Treasury Department. In 1938, she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and was admitted to the Firland Sanatorium in Richmond Highlands, Washington. She was discharged in 1939 but the experience inspired her to write “The Plague and I”.
She married Donald C. MacDonald on April 29, 1942 and moved with him and her daughters to Vashon Island. While Anne and Joan were in school, Betty and Donald commuted by ferry to Seattle for work each day.
MacDonald's first book, "The Egg and I," was published in 1945. It quickly became a bestseller and was eventually translated into many different languages. She continued to write many bestsellers, including "The Plague and I," (about her battle with tuberculosis), “Anybody Can Do Anything” (about surviving the Great Depression) "Onions in the Stew," (about raising her daughters on Vashon Island) and her best-selling children's books, the "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" series and "Nancy and Plum."
The MacDonalds purchased ranch land in Carmel Valley, California in 1952. They moved there to ranch cattle in 1956, but continued to travel to Seattle periodically. In 1956, Betty was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She died in Seattle on February 7th, 1958, at the age of 49.