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Betty Lee Hutchinson papers

Identifier: MSS 0839

Scope and Contents

The Betty Lee Hutchinson papers document the personal interests and civic activities of a woman with ties to Newark, Delaware, and the University of Delaware community. The collection consists of family photographs and correspondence, greeting cards and postcards, travel journals and Elderhostel materials, political and personal ephemera, maps, certificates of honor, and records of Betty Lee’s civic engagement with Newark, Delaware, as a City Council representative of the third district.

The collection is arranged in six series: I. Family and personal, II. Civic engagement, III. Travel, IV. Correspondence, V. Delawareana, and VI. Maps.

Notable records from the first series include family photographs and materials from Betty Lee’s parents’ families, the Cartes and the Trumans. Printed materials document her father’s World War I military enlistment while photographs show fashion and apparel from the era. These items also document the middle-class lifestyle of two central West Virginia families in the early twentieth century. Betty Lee’s public school records, and some of her college materials, are in the first series along with her husband Harry’s early materials. Some of Harry’s materials also include his correspondence with members of the University of Delaware faculty and administration, his curriculum vitae, his teaching honors from the university, and ephemera from university related events. Materials from Betty Lee and Harry’s children, David Hutchinson, Anne Clites Hutchinson, and Douglas Hutchinson, and grandchildren are also present in this series.

The second series documents Betty Lee’s involvement with the Newark City Council, including her city beautification efforts. The second series also contains materials related to her involvement with the Newark Free Library, the BBZ investment club, the Hidden Trail Committee, and the League of Women Voters of Greater Newark, Delaware.

Series II also includes a large collection of political ephemera, most notably a series of campaign posters, yard signs and bumper stickers from local, state and national candidates for elected office, including Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons; Governors Russ Petersen and Jack Markell, as well as posters for the League of Women Voters and six campaign buttons.

The third series documents the travel of Betty Lee’s family. The postcards and the travel journals not only document the trips, but also contain materials related to the Elderhostel program. Records of trips to England, France, Italy, Greece, and Barbados are also in this series. Trips to California and the American West are also located in this series.

The bulk of the collection is in correspondence, found in the fourth series. The greeting cards and letters exchanged between Betty Lee and her children, sister, mother, and friends document close relationships in the mid-to-late-twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Some correspondence is also located in the second series of the collection because of its political subjects. Letters from Senators Joseph R. Biden, Jr., and Thomas R. Carper include handwritten greetings to Betty Lee in response to her civic engagement in Newark, as well as her personal acquaintance with the politicians. She also exchanged correspondence with Shelley R. Moore, mother of West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and wife of former West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore.

The fifth series contains Delawareana and materials pertaining to nature and the environment in the state. This includes nature guide books, pamphlets about Wilmington, tourism materials Newark history and recreational opportunities, and local efforts to establish recycling programs and water-use awareness programs.

The sixth and final series contains oversized maps including Western Europe, South America, East Asia, constellations, the American Colonies, and Newark city planning.


  • Creation: 1900-2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1975-2005


Language of Materials

Materials primarily in English. Some materials in French, Greek, and Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical / Historical

Betty Lee Hutchinson, a Democrat and Newark City Council member (1977-1980 and 1984-1988) was born November 18, 1925, in Uniontown, PA, to Harry J. Truman, Sr. (1897-1965), and Merle Carte Truman (1901-2001). Her parents were originally from central West Virginia. Her father completed only 8th grade. She has one sister, Frances Coe (b. 1935), and one brother, the late Harry J. Truman, Jr. (1930-1968). She was married to Harry D. Hutchinson (1924-2005), a World War II veteran and professor of economics from the University of Delaware.

Betty Lee was educated at Union High School in Uniontown. She attended Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, until 1947, but ultimately graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, 1948. She studied social work, and from 1944-1949 worked in that field. She and Harry married on December 25, 1949. In 1950, her first child, David, was born and she became a stay-at-home-mother. The Hutchinson’s had two more children after David, Anne and Douglas. Harry and Betty Lee lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while Harry completed his PhD in economics; they also lived in Toledo, OH, before moving to Newark, DE, in 1959.

Betty Lee was active in the Newark community as a volunteer and as an elected official. In 1974, three years prior to her first election to the city council, Betty Lee was appointed as a Commissioner of the Newark Housing Authority. When Betty Lee served on the Newark City Council, she focused on issues of city beautification and community organization. She is a lifetime honorary member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Newark, Delaware, an organization she was president of from 1967-1969. She remained interested in Newark events, volunteering at the Newark Free Library after she retired from the City Council, and served as a member of the Hidden Valley Trail Committee in 1992.

Betty Lee and Harry enjoyed travel and visited places throughout the United States and in Western Europe and Barbados. Some of these trips were in conjunction with Elderhostel tours, educational travel opportunities for adults.

She retired to the village of Oak Park, Illinois, to the west of Chicago, in 2013. Hutchinson died in Michigan on September 26, 2020.

Biographical information related to Betty Lee Hutchinson derived from the papers in her collection. "Betty Lee (Truman) Hutchinson," obituary, accessed December 14, 2020, .


4.3 linear foot (5 boxes)

3 oversize removal (3 folders) : Political ephemera, maps, and oversize materials


Betty Lee Hutchinson (1925-2020), a Democrat and Newark City Council member (1977-1980 and 1984-1988) was born November 18, 1925, in Uniontown, PA, to Harry J. Truman, Sr. (1897-1965), and Merle Carte Truman (1901-2001). The Betty Lee Hutchinson papers document the personal interests and civic activities of a woman with ties to Newark, Delaware, and the University of Delaware community.


Items in this collection are arranged thematically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Betty Lee Hutchinson, April 2013.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0448, League of Women Voters of Greater Newark, Delaware, records

MSS 0592, Friends of the Newark Free Library collection

MSS 0733, Delaware ephemera collection related to politics, policy, and government

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-4: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Box 5: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Removals: Shelved in SPEC oversize mapcases

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Katherine Riley, January 2018.

Finding aid for Betty Lee Hutchinson papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2018 January 26
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA