California State University, Long Beach

Show simple item record Boggs, Betty Jeanne (5/1/1926 - ) Fischer, Jan, interviewer 2021-04-01T22:02:03Z 2021-04-01T22:02:03Z 2021-04-01
dc.description SUBJECT BIO - Betty Jeanne Boggs was only seventeen years old when she went to work at Doaks Manufacturing shortly after the family moved to Los Angeles.. Born in 1926, Boggs was raised in the northwest, and when graduated from high school, at sixteen, enrolled in the Jesuit-run Seattle University with the intention of majoring in aeronautical engineering. When her father was transferred to Los Angeles, she planned on continuing her course of study at Loyola University. However, when the Jesuits there quashed that idea, she and her mother both went to work in the aircraft industry instead. Before war's end, the family moved back to the northwest, and Boggs eventually enrolled again at Seattle University, where she met her future husband. After they married, they alternated finishing their college studies and working. She worked at Sylvania Electric until the birth of her second child, at which time she left the work force. As Boggs' children grew older, she returned to school and eventually earned an MFA (Masters of Fine Arts Degree). The spacious back yard of her hilltop home in Eagle Rock was graced by her sculptures: a massive ensemble of life sized stone figures. The three interviews with Boggs were conducted by Jan Fischer. Although she was initially self conscious and concerned about relating her story "well," she became more relaxed as each interview progressed. She was often dressed in the clothes that she wore to work at her table saw, and was delighted to show her work area and her art. TOPICS - work experiences, Seattle; college and education; career expectations; gender discrimination; gender relations; social life and activities; dating; husband; life and work in Utah; move to California; and marital rehusband; family history; college and education; move to California; work experiences in Utah and California; engineering position at Sylvania Electronics Company; gender relations; gender discrimination; children;work experiences, 1948-50; college and education; family life; children; motherhood; gender ideology; housing and living arrangements; husband's career; move to southern California; marital relationship; return toattitudes towards women in art; future expectations; art work; social values; ERA and abortion; reflections of war work; and daughter; en_US
dc.description.abstract INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - As in the second interview, Boggs was relaxed and forthcoming in revealing her feelings. 5/12/1981 en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents *** File: rrrbboggs7.mp3 Audio Segments and Topics: (0:00-0:55)... Boggs reiterates the celebratory noises that she heard when V-J Day was declared. She read about the celebrations in Seattle and was thankful that she was not present during those gatherings. Reading about the events in the newspaper was an enjoyable and educational experience. (0:55-4:01)... When Boggs moved back to Seattle, she got a job as an elevator operator at JC Penneys. She worked there until the spring semester began at Seattle University. While in college, she found a part-time job as a typist for an architect. She did not enjoy the work and decided to quit when she found a part-time opening at a science supply warehouse. She earned seventy-five cents per hour and worked three days a week. She used her earnings to purchase clothing and school supplies. She lived with her parents during this period and they paid her college tuition. (4:01-14:11)... Boggs abandoned her dreams of becoming a pilot when a Jesuit priest at Loyola University told her that aeronautical engineering was not an appropriate career for a woman. When she returned to Seattle University, she switched her major to math. She was once again discouraged when people told her that, as a woman, the only career opportunity available to her was teaching. She took a career assessment test and the results showed that her personality was suited to a career as either an artist or laboratory technician. At that time, Boggs switched her major to biological science. She discusses the attitudes of male students towards women in the aeronautical engineering and biological science programs. Although there were more women pursuing biological science degrees, a large proportion of students were WWII veterans. (14:11-19:51)... Her social life improved when Boggs returned to college. She talks about her sociology professor and how he helped her overcome her shyness and insecurities. She believes that her perceptions about life were influenced by her parents' relationship and her mother's negative attitude towards men. (19:51-22:27)... When Boggs finished her coursework at Seattle University, she applied for several internships. She was offered internships in Salt Lake City, Utah and Denver, Colorado. In the mean time, she met and married her husband Josh and they decided to move to Utah. She began her internship and forwarded her transcripts to the medical technologist registry in Indiana. She was told that she lacked five credits in chemistry. At that time, she stopped interning and got a part-time job as a cashier for a freight company in an attempt to save money so that she and her husband could move to the West Coast. They lived in Utah for about a year before moving to San Jose, California. She enrolled in San Jose State University and finished her degree there. (22:27-26:29)... Boggs describes how she met her husband Josh. They began dating in February 1947 and married the following September. When they were friends, Boggs' parents enjoyed his company. However, after she began dating Josh they became critical. Her mother told Boggs that he was a "bum" and her father did not think Josh was good enough for her because he only owned one suit. When they dated, Boggs paid for many of their dates because she had a part-time job. Josh received a GI stipend, but his father used most of it to support his drinking habit. (26:29-28:36)... She discusses her husband's education and career aspirations. When they married, they agreed that while one of them went to college, the other would support the family by working. Boggs pursued her internship when they moved to Utah and Josh worked as a common laborer. After she left her internship, they both worked so that they could save enough money to move to California. They purchased a car with their savings and moved to San Francisco. They lived there for two years, buying a house south of San Francisco. They both enrolled in San Jose State University and worked intermittently to support themselves. Josh decided to leave college and work full-time so that Boggs could finish her degree. After she received her degree, she went to work and supported them when he returned to college and obtained a degree in engineering. End of tape. *** File: rrrbboggs8.mp3 (0:00-2:34)... Boggs and her husband lived in Utah from September 1947 until August 1948. Initially, it was difficult for Boggs to live away from her parents and she was frequently homesick. In 1948, they decided to move to San Francisco and start a new life. They did not want to return to Seattle because their parents were not supportive of their marriage. While in San Francisco, Boggs attended San Francisco State University and Josh worked for a Standard Oil gas station. They purchased a home on the peninsula for $8,100. When the Korean War broke out, Josh decided to stay at the gas station because the company agreed to continue paying his salary if and when he was drafted into the service. (2:34-8:11)... She graduated from San Jose State University in 1953 with a degree in a biological science. Her plans after college included interning at the county hospital in San Jose. However, a girlfriend referred her to the Sylvania Electronics Company and she was hired as a technician in the chemistry and plating lab. Her starting salary was a little over $200. A year after she started working at the company, her supervisor was transferred to another department and she was promoted to his position. Her title changed to engineer and she received a pay raise to $300. She describes her job responsibilities and the type of work that was done in the laboratory. At one point, she supervised ten women. (8:11-12:16)... Boggs was the only woman at Sylvania Electronics Company in a supervisory position. The male engineers treated her with respect and kindness. Her position was held when she went on maternity leave before giving birth to her son and her co-workers expressed appreciation for her skills when she returned. She describes how she was hassled by an engineer who felt that she should be at home and "could not stand it that there was a white collar female worker" in a supervisory position. (12:16-18:12)... She did not practice birth control during her marriage. When she was working as a lab technician she conducted a sperm count analysis on Josh and found that he was sterile. They accepted the fact that they could not have children and planned to adopt in the future. They were quite surprised when she got pregnant. She gave birth to her son, Tad, in 1955. Sylvania Electronics Company provided Boggs with health insurance and maternity leave. Even though she wanted to stay home with her son, she and Josh felt that it was best that she continue working so that she could support the family while Josh finished college. Finding decent baby sitters was difficult. Whenever Josh was not in school, he took are of Tad without any hesitation or complaint. (18:12-23:26)... Boggs gave birth to her daughter, Becky, in 1957. At that time, she left Sylvania Electronics Company to stay home with her children. She enjoyed her job and was torn between her work and her family. Accept for a short stint as a school supervisor at her children's grammar school, Boggs did not work again after giving birth to Becky. Boggs relied on Dr. Spock and a child psychology book to educate herself about motherhood and parenting. She talks about the types of toys and activities her children enjoyed. Boggs made sure that her children had plenty of books for her children to read. She and and her husband also took their children on family vacations, including a trip to Hawaii. (23:26-24:59)... Prior to having children, Boggs and her husband enjoyed an active social life. They went to church every Sunday when they lived in Utah and spent the rest of the weekend sightseeing. When they moved to San Francisco, they had different work schedules and did not have as many opportunities to plan weekend activities. They rarely did things separately and both felt that it would be wrong if one planned activities without the other. (24:59-28:51)... Boggs worked as a cashier for a freight trucking company when she lived in Utah. She earned $1.05 an hour and worked several hours of overtime each week. When she moved to San Francisco, she found a job at the telephone company. She worked as a file clerk until an opening became available in the engineering department. She describes her responsibilities in this position. She worked for the telephone company eight hours a day, five days a week for two years. In September 1950, she quit that job and returned to college. The interview ends just as she is establishing a time line of her activities after she moved to San Francisco in 1948. End of tape. *** File: rrrbboggs9.mp3 (0:00-0:58)... In the summer of 1950, Boggs went to work part time for a helicopter manufacturer. She returned to school for awhile and then got a job as a mathematician for a company that was designing mock-speed aircraft. She thought about staying in this position and not returning to school; however, Josh persuaded her to go back to school and finish her degree. (0:58-1:50)... Boggs describes the types of family activities they enjoyed when her children were young. (1:50-4:37)... Boggs encouraged her daughter to read and take an interest in education. She hoped that Becky "would do something besides run off really young and get married." However, she never worried that Becky would come home pregnant. Boggs dressed Becky in pants when she was young and occasionally put her in something "frilly." Becky was not interested in dolls and preferred to do the same kinds of things that her brother was involved in. While in school, Becky excelled in mathematics and science-based courses. (4:37-6:21)... Boggs talks about her sons Tad and Mike, who was born in 1959. (6:21-13:49)... She traces her husband's career. In 1961, the family moved to Costa Mesa, California after her husband found work at Aero Neutronics in Newport Beach. Initially, she did not want to move to southern California because she thought it was a dump. In 1968, her husband got an engineering position at a printing company located in Los Angeles. They purchased a home in Glendale so that her husband did not have to commute to work. She goes into detail regarding the process of purchasing their home. (13:49-14:53)... Boggs and her husband consulted regarding household and family decisions. She believes that their marriage is better than most because of the equality within their relationship. The only decision made without her approval was her husband's insistence that their first son take his name. (14:53-20:30)... She got bored when she was living in Costa Mesa and decided to take evening courses at the local college. She stopped taking courses when she moved to Glendale, but then told her family, "I'm bored. I'm going back to school." She felt that it was important to keep her mind active and also feared that she would experience an empty nest feeling once her children left home. She majored in art when she returned to college, taking classes at Glendale City College, North ridge, and graduating from California State University, Los Angeles with a masters degree in art. She enjoys sculpting and creating stained glass pieces. She does not expect that her artwork will turn into a career; however, she will be satisfied if her pieces sell occasionally. The important thing is that she stays active stating, "If I'm beginning to slow down then I'm going to kick myself in my middle stumps and go do something else." (20:30-24:07)... After having her second child, Boggs never thought about returning to work. She feels that it is important for mothers to be home with their children. She has difficulty understanding why women with careers have children, stating, "there are a lot of problems nowadays that are caused by women working and you've got everybody else raising your kids.... I think it's more important that a mother is there." When Boggs returned to college, she scheduled her classes during the day when her children were not home. There were occasions when classes were held in the evenings or early mornings and she was not home with her children. However, it did not create any problems and her children were excited about her day at school. (24:07-25:43)... She discusses her masters program and the oddity of having to listen to her professors critique her work. As a woman, she is subject to the male perspective and the idea that "women just don't sculpt." End of tape. *** File: rrrbboggs10.mp3 (0:00-2:17)... She continues to discuss the attitudes towards female artists. She believes that if Georgia O'Keefe can be a revered artist, so can she. She disciplines herself so that she spends at least two hours a day doing artwork. She also finds it easier to turn down requests for her time when the activities do not coincide with her goals. (2:17-5:40)... She prefers to work with wood, stone, and stained glass. She recently purchased a table saw and a jointer for her projects, which was influenced by her experiences in the wood shop class she took while in high school. She continued her interest in industrial arts by taking a artists' tools course when she was pursuing her art degree. She enjoys these classes and thinks that she is more mechanically inclined than the average woman. (5:40-6:40)... Her expectations for the future include pursuing her art interests. She would like to produce sculpture for gallery expositions or interior designers. She also has an interest in returning to college to study art history. She is willing to do anything along these lines as long as she stays active. (6:40-8:59)... Working in defense during WWII proved to her that women are versatile and have many job opportunities available to them besides office work. It made her realize that a woman "has a brain just like a man. It opened up another field of thought and viewpoint on life." Boggs thinks that she would have stayed in aeronautical engineering and "produced and accomplished a heck of a lot more" had she not been self-conscious and allowed people to discourage her dreams. (8:59-14:10)... Boggs discusses her opinions regarding ERA and abortion. She remembers when a male engineer hassled her because she made more money than he did. She thinks it is foolish that women receive less pay for doing the same work as their male counterparts. It is equally difficult for women who are faced with juggling a career and a family. She does not think that mothers should work, but she also cannot conceptualize a solution to the dilemma facing working mothers. Having dealt with many of these issues, she feels more free today than ever. (14:10-17:22)... Whereas Boggs' mother restricted her activities, controlled her life, and made her feel self-conscious about her body, Boggs encourages her daughter to be independent and proud of herself. There are areas of her daughter's life that she does not approve of, but she does not criticize her daughter's decisions. She talks about the "raised eyebrows" she encounters when she tells her friends that her daughter is dating a Japanese man. Boggs respects her daughter's boyfriend because he is a caring, intelligent, and hardworking young man. (17:22-18:11)... She closes the interview with a statement regarding the importance of women staying active and being "thinking individuals" throughout their lives. End of tape. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights This repository item may be used for classroom presentations, unpublished papers, and other educational, research, or scholarly use. Other uses, especially publication in any form, such as in dissertations, theses, articles, or web pages are not permitted without the express written permission of the individual collection's copyright holder(s). Please contact the CSULB Library Administration should you require permission to publish or distribute any content from this collection or if you need additional information or assistance in using these materials: en_US
dc.subject Rosie the Riveter Revisited en_US
dc.subject Women's History en_US
dc.title Boggs, Betty Jeanne (audio interview #3 of 3) en_US
dc.type Recording, oral en_US

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