Agnes White Tizard

aka Betty Crocker

Agnes White was a home economists and nutrition consultant who was the original Betty Crocker. She lived in Valley Center for nearly 40 years, and is buried in Valley Center Cemetery.

Agnes White was hired in the early 1920s as a home economist for Washburn Crosby Co. of Minneapolis, manufacture of Gold Medal Flour. The company was one of six milling companies that merged to form General Mills in 1928. Agnes was one of several women who created and tested recipes, wrote cookbooks, and responded to baking questions.  The fictitious kitchen expert, Betty Crocker, was created in 1921 to answer correspondence.

In 1924, Betty acquired a voice with the debut of “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air” on one station in Minneapolis. It was the country’s first radio cooking show, and Agnes White was selected to portray Betty Crocker.

The show proved popular, and eventually was carried nationally on NBC Radio, with Agnes as Betty. Over the next two decades, Agnes would anonymously portray Betty Crocker on the air and at cooking schools.  A Fortune magazine survey found that Betty was the second-most admired woman in America after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Agnes White, who married mining engineer William E. Tizard, moved to Los Angeles and lived in the Palos Verdes area.  In 1941, they purchased an historic (1883) home on 140 acres in Valley Center.  They added electricity and indoor plumbing, and built a demonstration kitchen where she continued to prepare recipes and work as a nutrition consultant.

Anges White Tizard died in 1979 at age 84.  Mr. Tizard died two years later at age 85. Both are buried at Valley Center Cemetery.


Sources: Corporate Archives, General Mills, Inc.; Valley Center Historical Society (oral interviews with Agnes White Tizard, 1975; and William Tizard, 1979) Obtained recordings of the “Cooking School of the Air”

The Valley Center History Museum has on file copies of “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air” available for reference.

View Historical Site: “The Clark House” (aka “The Betty Crocker House”)