Cumming, Adelaide Fish Hawley, 1905- . Papers, 1922-1967: A Finding AidArthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processed under NEH Grant Number RC 24669-76-987.
© 1976 Radcliffe College
Call No.: MC 237
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Adelaide Fish Hawley Cumming, 1905-
Title: Papers, 1922-1967
Quantity: 2-1/2 file boxes, 1 oversize volume
Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, program scripts, etc., of Adelaide Fish Hawley Cummings,
radio commentator and advertising agent.
Processed: November 1976
By: Patricia Affholter
Accession numbers: 1189, 1322, 76-417
The papers of Adelaide Fish Hawley Cumming were deposited with the Schlesinger Library
in July 1967 by Priscilla Gough Treat and in 1968 and 1976 by Adelaide Cumming.
Adelaide Fish Hawley Cumming. Papers, 1922-1967; item description, dates. MC 237,
folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Adelaide Fish was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on March 6, 1905. She graduated from Cincinnatus (New York) High School in 1922
and in 1926 received her bachelor's degree in music from Eastman School of Music,
University of Rochester. In 1967, AFHC was awarded a Ph.D. in speech education from
New York University. She married Mark Hawley on Dec. 25, 1932; their only child,
Marcia, was born on April 10, 1937. On April 8, 1950, four years after her divorce
from MH, AFHC married Lawrence Cumming.
Following her graduation from college, AFHC taught music for two and a half years
at the Alabama College School of Music in Montevallo. She then returned to New York,
intending to pursue a career in opera, but instead joined a trio which sang in vaudeville,
on the radio, and in churches.
AFHC began her thirty-year broadcasting career in 1935. She narrated numerous radio
and television programs including: "The Woman Reporter", "Woman's Page of the Air",
and "News of the Day" (an MGM newsreel). Many of her radio shows and personal appearances
focused on the world of fashion; her program, "Fashions on Parade" (1948-1949) was
television's first such show. AFHC took on the role of Betty Crocker in 1950; she
portrayed BC on television and radio until 1964, when General Mills changed its advertising
campaign and when she left broadcasting. Throughout her career, AFHC appeared as
a guest speaker at numerous functions, ranging from a luncheon of the Advertising
Club of Boston to 4-H Club banquets. In addition, she wrote the scripts for many
of the programs in which she appeared, as well as several articles and stories.
The bulk of this collection documents AFHC's role as a radio commentator. Program
scripts, correspondence, articles, and speeches from this period (1935-1948) reveal
the variety of topics she treated, most of which were about women; these include:
the role of women in American history, women harness race drivers, Fanny Kemble, the
World Center for Women's Archives, and the importance of women voters. Papers about
her role as Betty Crocker consist mainly of promotional literature and speeches; much
of this material reflects her activities as an advertising agent for General Mills.
There is very little information about AFHC's personal life.
- Box 1: Folders 1-21
- Box 2: Folders 22-43
- Box 3: Folders 44-58
- Series I. BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL
- 1. Resumes in both outline and narrative form, n.d.; biographical sketches of AFHC by
others, 1948?, n.d.; newsclippings re AFHC, 1933, 1945, 1967; letter of recommendation
for AFHC, 1950.
- 2. Interviews of AFHC, 1946, 1948.
- 3. Personal correspondence, including several letters from Mary Margaret McBride to AFHC,
- 4. Datebook and invitations re AFHC's 1948 trip to London.
- 5. Miscellaneous papers, mostly about AFHC's musical performances, 1925-1931 (scattered)
and AFHC's daughter, Marcia Hawley, ca. 1943-1946.
- Series II. EARLY CAREER
- 6-11: Correspondence, 1935-1950, n.d. Mostly incoming re AFHC's radio programs, speeches,
articles, and related topics.
See also folder 21.
- 7. 1940-1944. Includes letters from Fiorella H. La Guardia, Anne O'Hare McCormick, Adelaide
F. Rickenbacker, and Philip Wylie. (One letter each.)
- 8. 1945-1950, n.d. Includes letters from Frances P. Bolton, Helen Gahagan Douglas, Mary
T. Norton, Margaret Chase Smith, and Malvina C. Thompson. (One letter each.)
- 9. 8 TLS from Mary R. Beard to AFHC, mostly re World Center for Women's Archives, 1939-1944.
- 10. 4 TLS, 1 TL to AFHC re Crystal Bird Fauset, with 1 TL from AFHC to CBF, 1940-1941.
- 10a. 9 TLS from John Dutton Wright, including letters re AFHC's radio program and schools
for the deaf, particularly the Wright Oral School, April-August 1941.
- 11. Inter-office memos and letters, 1943-1950, n.d.
- 12-17: Fan mail, 1941-1950, n.d. Includes a few responses from AFHC. Some letters are of
a personal nature.
- 13. Correspondence re AFHC's radio appeal for needles and thread to be sent to Holland,
- 17. June 1946-1950, n.d. Also includes a list of discarded fan mail, 1946, 1949.
- 18-33: Radio and television scripts and program information, 1938-1950, n.d. Includes newsclippings,
publicity and promotional literature, commercials, etc. for programs by and/or featuring
- 18. "The Woman's Page", 1938-1940. Includes broadcasted interview with Berneice Griswold.
- 19. "Berkey and Gay Program", 1939.
- 20. "Woman's Page of the Air", 1939-1940. Includes interviews with Marjorie Lawrence,
Mozelle Britton, and Vivian Kellems.
- 21. "Woman's Page of the Air", March 5, 1940. Radio broadcast re Georgia O'Keeffe, including
correspondence with GO'K, 1938-1940.
- 22. "Adelaide Hawley Program", 1943-1946. Includes interviews with Elaine and Antoinette
Perry, Inez Haynes Irwin and Will Irwin, Mrs. Horace Greenwood, Edith Wilk Wilkie,
and Frank Nipp.
- 23. "Adelaide Hawley Program", guest lists, November 1943-1944.
- 24. "Adelaide Hawley Program", guest lists, 1945-1946.
- 25. Radio broadcast from Paris, February 1946.
- 26. "Fashions on Parade", television program, October 1948 or 1949.
- 27. "Fashions on Parade", television program, March 1948-May 1949.
- 28. "Women in the News", television program, ca. 1950.
- 29. "Women in the News", "continuity sheets", 1950.
- 30. "The Woman in His Life", n.d.
- 31. "Vassarette Program", n.d.
- 32. Miscellaneous scripts, 1936-1949, n.d. (scattered)
- 33. Resource file. Includes articles, pamphlets, news releases, etc. of interest to AFHC
for possible use in her programs, speeches, or articles, 1933?-1946?, n.d.
- 34-35: Papers re personal appearances by AFHC, 1932?-1950, n.d.
- 34. Correspondence, articles, newsclippings, and script re New England Shoe and Leather
Industry fashion shows featuring AFHC, 1945, 1946.
- 35. Miscellaneous material re speeches by AFHC, including the texts and promotional material,
- 36-41: Articles and stories by AFHC, 1936-1955, n.d.
- 36. Biographical sketches of Charles Evans Hughes, William E. Borah, Henry Ford, and Fiorella
H. La Guardia. Includes correspondence with F. J. Redcliffe, AFHC's co-author for
a book on prominent men, 1936.
(See also folder 6)
- 37. "A Place Where I Go", a short article by AFHC published in Today's Woman. Includes letters from the publishers to AFHC, 1947.
- 38. "Fashion News of the Day", news column by AFHC. Includes promotional material, 1948.
- 39. Articles by AFHC in Stand By, the official bulletin of AFTRA in New York, 1948, 1953-1955.
- 40. Miscellaneous articles and stories, 1936-1964, n.d. (scattered).
- 41. Miscellaneous articles and stories, n.d.
- 42. Publicity file. Includes newsclippings, press releases, advertisements for AFHC's
programs, etc., 1944-1949, n.d. (scattered).
- 43. Miscellaneous papers re early career. Includes newsclippings, articles, speeches,
time schedules, handwritten notes by AFHC, etc., 1938-1950, n.d.
- Series III. AFHC AS BETTY CROCKER
- 47. Scripts from Betty Crocker programs, 1950, 1956.
- 48. Correspondence re speeches by AFHC and other career-related matters, 1956-1959. Includes
a letter from Esther M. Hawley to AFHC.
- 49-56: Papers re speeches by AFHC, 1956-1959, n.d.
- 49. Eastern Conference of Women's Advertising Clubs, Buffalo, New York, February 1956.
"Betty Crocker-Pioneer Advertising Woman".
- 50. Advertising Club of Washington, D.C. in joint meeting with the Women's Advertising
Club, Washington, D.C., May 1956. "Betty Crocker-Pioneer Advertising Woman".
- 52. 4-H Club Conventions, Chicago, Illinois, December 1957 and December 1958. "A Glimpse
into Your Future" (1957) and "You and Chocolate Cake" (1958).
- 53. Women's Canadian Club, Victoria, British Columbia, September 1958. "A Look at the
- 54. Women's Division of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Springfield, Massachusetts,
June 1959. "Building a Corporate Personality".
- 55. The National Grange - 93rd Annual Session, Long Beach, California, November 1959.
"A Look in to the Future".
- 56. Miscellaneous speeches, 1955-1959, n.d.
- 57. Promotional material. Includes articles and newsclippings re AFHC as Betty Crocker,
1950-1959, 1967, n.d.
- 58. Miscellaneous. Includes articles about the history of Betty Crocker, 1954, 1956,
Beard, Mary Ritter, 1876-1958
Bolton, Frances P., 1885-
Douglas, Helen Gahagan, 1900-
McBride, Mary Margaret, 1899-1976
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-
Smith, Margaret Chase, 1897-
Fauset, Crystal Bird, -1965
Irwin, Inez Haynes, 1873-1970
Speeches, addresses, etc.
World Center for Women's Archives