Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 582
Betty McGee Vetter (1924-1994)
Papers, 1896-1995

Descriptive summary

creator: Vetter, Betty McGee (1924-1994)
title: Papers
dates: 1896-1995
extent: 7.89 linear feet (13 manuscript boxes, 2 half manuscript boxes, and 5 oversize boxes)
collection number: MS 582
repository: Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information

access: Open for research
publication rights: Consult Head, Special Collections Department
preferred citation: Betty McGee Vetter Papers, MS 582, Archives of Women in Science and Engineering, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

Betty Vetter was born October 25, 1924 in Center, Colorado and died November 18, 1994 in Arlington, Virginia. Vetter received a B.A. (1944) in Chemistry from the University of Colorado, and an M.A. (1948) from Stanford University in Theater and Drama. Vetter enrolled in graduate work in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1992. In 1994 she was honored by the Association for Women in Science for "outstanding work in providing critical information and statistics on the science labor force for three decades."

Following her service in the United States Navy WAVES during World War II, and her enrollment at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, Vetter taught at Fresno State University until 1958. After her departure from Fresno State University, Vetter taught English for three years for the University of California Far East Program in Japan where she met and married Richard Vetter. In 1961 Vetter taught at American University and the University of Maryland, and by 1963 Vetter had begun her career at the Commission of Professionals in Science and Technology in Washington, D.C., where she was director until her death in 1994.

Vetter was the founder and editor of the periodical digests, "Scientific, Engineering, Technical Manpower Comments"; "Professional Women and Minorities: A Human Resource Data Compendium"; and author of "Setting the Record Straight: Shortages in Perceptive"; "New Technologies: Impact on Work, Workers, and Workplace"; and "What’s Holding Up the Glass Ceiling?" Vetter also wrote more than 150 reports, chapters, and articles.


Collection description

Series 1, Biographical Information, contains journals and daybooks from Vetter’s youth, her Navy service record, her passports, her obituary and correspondence relating to her death in 1994. Series 2, Family History, contains the chronology, genealogy and history of both sides of Vetter’s family. In addition, it contains memorial service books, a will and a published biography of her grandmother. Series 3, Correspondence, contains professional correspondence related to Vetter’s work as Director of the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST). Correspondents include the Center for the Education of Women, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, and the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators.

Series 4, Occasional Papers—Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, include Vetter’s CPST papers, usually 4-5 were published per year. Some sample titles: "American Minorities in Science and Engineering: A Progress Report" (1992); "New Technologies: Impact on Work, Workers and the Workplace" (1993). Another series that contains Vetter’s published papers is located in Series 5, Papers for CURIES (Cross University Research in Engineering and Science).

Series 6, Professional Activities, contains data compiled by Vetter on chemical engineers and a report concerning a proposed office of U.S. technology development. Series 7, Publications, contains publications of articles by Vetter on women in science and engineering, an excerpt of an unfinished book on women and minorities in scientific fields, and a chapter for another book on the same subject.

Betty Vetter gave numerous positions as part of her role with CPST, and Series 8, Speeches, provides numerous examples. The topics, for the most part, relate to affirmative action, and the experiences of women and minorities. Vetter testified before the U.S. Congress on several occasions, and Series 9, U.S. Congressional Testimony, contains her remarks concerning science.

One of Vetter’s hobbies was creative writing, and Series 10, Creative Writing, contains all of her extant stories and poems. Series 11, Media, contains three recordings of Vetter speaking. Two recordings are speeches of the same type catalogued in Series 8, and one recording is of her memories. Vetter kept scrapbooks and photograph albums all of her life and Series 12, Scrapbooks and Photographs, contains photo albums of Ms. Vetter’s theatrical pursuits, Navy life and school activities, scrapbooks with photographic illustration and loose family photographs.


Container list

Full finding aid (pdf format) with container list.