Humanities speaker at museum

Paula Becker of Humanities Washington speaks about her biography of Washington author Betty MacDonald. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson)


By James Robinson
Empire Press Correspondent

Douglas County Museum Director Lori Ludeman speaks at the museum’s annual meeting March 27. (Empire Press photo/James Robinson )

The Douglas County Historical Society held its annual meeting March 27 at the Douglas County Museum.

The meeting was opened by Royal DeVaney. Museum Director Lori Ludeman gave the annual report.

Ludeman spoke of the interest in family history and the inquiries that have been received by museum volunteers from relatives of individuals who have lived in Douglas County over the years. Family history research usually begin with locating obituaries. The museum has over 8,000 on file. Ludeman also mentioned that items are donated to the museum every year. This includes family and business records, old radios, wedding dresses and household items.

New museum board members voted in were Linda Daling, Ann Whitehall as secretary, and Judy Dalton as treasurer.

DeVaney praised the museum and Waterville by saying, “Volunteers make our town what it is.”

Following the meeting, a public program was held featuring Paula Becker from Humanities Washington. Becker discussed her book “The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of Memoir.”

The book focused on the life of Washington state author Betty MacDonald. MacDonald wrote her popular memoir, “The Egg and I,” in 1945. It was an account of her life operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

“The Egg and I” was made into a major motion picture in 1947. Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert were cast in the lead roles of the young couple operating the chicken ranch.

MacDonald also published other semi-autobiographical books and wrote the “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle” series of children’s books. She died in Seattle in 1958.

Becker, who is a journalist, discussed how McDonald’s kind of nonfiction related to the popular genre of memoir today.