Bette Evans

Bette Evans was born to Henry and Claudia Evans on November 19, 1909 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Sometime before she turned 10 Bette’s parents divorced and she was raised by her mother and grandmother.

Bette Evans 1927

Bette’s Abraham Lincoln yearbook photo – 1927


Bette graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1927. She received bachelor degrees in economics and journalism at Drake and went on to receive her masters degree in journalism at Northwestern in Chicago.

After working as a secretary in the Iowa Statehouse, she took a job at the advertising firm of C. L. Miller Company in Chicago. In 1941 she obtained a leave of absence from her job to become the director of publicity of the women’s division of war bond and stamp sales with the Treasury Department.

While Bette was working on the War Bond drive, she was asked to work on the publicity for the newly created WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Bette saw the WAVES as a challenge and decided to enlist. She was the first Council Bluffs woman to enlist and was the second woman in the country to enter the WAVE training school.

While in the WAVES, Bette was part of the motion picture division of the bureau of aeronautics. She helped to produce training films for the U.S. Navy. When she left the WAVES in 1945 whe had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Lt. Bette Evans - 1942

Lt. Bette Evans – 1942


Bette went on to make films for the United States Chamber of Commerce. These films were meant to promote business and also fight communism.

In 1951 Bette Evans was part of the press corp that covered the royal visit of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the United States. She was able to capture a recognizable but blurry picture of the royal couple at the airport. A picture of Bette greeting Princess Elizabeth was featured in Life magazine.


Bette’s photograph of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Bette greeting Princess Elizabeth in 1951. Photograph is from Life Magazine.


Bette continued her career in Washington D.C. until 1957 when she returned to Council Bluffs. She worked in the promotions department of the Omaha World Herald. She was also the Deputy Director of Southwest Iowa Progress and the secretary of United Cerebral Palsy of Southwestern Iowa.

In her spare time Bette collected Christmas ornaments. Part of her collection was displayed at the Joslyn Art Museum in 1961. At the time Bette had around 6000 ornaments, some dating back to the 1880s. She also collected books written by Lewis Carroll. After Bette passed away in 1978, the “Bette Evans” collection was donated to the Council Bluffs Public Library and is housed in the Library’s Special Collections. There are 135 books written by and about Lewis Carroll.

Bette retired in 1973 and spent time at her home at 164 Pomona Street. After a long illness she passed away on February 17, 1978 at the Veterans Hospital in Des Moines, IA. She is buried in Knoxville, Iowa, next to her mother and grandmother.