Betty Bowen photograph and film collection, circa 1890-1976  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Bowen, Betty, 1919-1977
Betty Bowen photograph and film collection
circa 1890-1976 (inclusive)
153 b/w prints, 3 color prints, 22 negatives, 1 slide, 1 color plate, and five 16mm films (2 boxes)
Collection Number
Images of Mark Tobey together with family and friends and at exhibitions. Also includes films made by Seattle TV stations featuring Mark Tobey, Paul Horiuchi, Richard Gilkey, and Kenneth Callahan.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Betty Bowen was born Betty Cornelius in 1919 in Kent, Washington, and raised in Skagit County. After graduating from the University of Washington in 1940, she worked first as a reporter for the Seattle Times, then as women's editor at the Seattle Star. She subsequently did free-lance public relations work.

From the 1940s, Bowen was a prominent figure in the Seattle art world. In 1953, Dr. Richard Fuller hired Bowen to be public relations director for the Seattle Art Museum. He later appointed her assistant to the director. She served until Fuller's retirement in 1973. Bowen's colorful personality both contrasted with and complemented Fuller's more conservative temperament and energized the Seattle arts establishment. Bowen effectively used her considerable influence in the art world and with the media to promote her interest in local artists. She was an original member of the Municipal (later Seattle) Arts Commission and a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Center. Bowen was also active in Seattle's historic preservation movement. She was founder and chairperson of the Allied Arts Historic Conservation Committee of Seattle and served as a member of the Friends of the Market, which won designation of the Pike Place Market as a historic district.

Bowen's personal commitment to the well being of local artists was legendary, and she was known as "the den mother of the city's arts." She did not merely provide artists with valuable public exposure and introductions to wealthy art patrons. Her support often extended to feeding and clothing her artist friends during lean times. She befriended and nurtured painters Morris Graves (whom she first met as a teenager), Mark Tobey, Richard Gilkey and others of their generation, and later Charles Krafft and the writer Tom Robbins.

Betty Bowen was married to John Bowen, captain of a transoceanic cable-laying ship. She died in 1977. Since 1978, the Betty Bowen Memorial Award has been award by the Seattle Art Museum to emerging and established regional artists.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Images of Mark Tobey together with family and friends and at exhibitions. Also includes films made by Seattle TV stations featuring Mark Tobey, Paul Horiuchi, Richard Gilkey, and Kenneth Callahan.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained for the KING TV and KOMO TV films.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Photographs and NegativesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Mark Tobey
One b/w portrait photographed by Art Hupy.
George F. Brown Family
Nine b/w prints and seventeen negatives, including images of Mark Tobey.
Tobey Family
Eighteen b/w prints and eighteen negatives of Mark Tobey as a child and young man.
ca. 1890's-1907
Mark Tobey Friends
Four b/w prints and four negatives of Mark Tobey with Hilda Morris, a sculptor, and Carl Morris, a painter, in Portland, Oregon and Pehr Hallsten at Trafalgar Square in London.
Mark Tobey and Betty Bowen
Three b/w prints and one negative of Mark Tobey and Betty Bowen, for which there is a citation in William Cumming's book. Also includes one color print of Mark Tobey with a painting around 1974 and one b/w print of Betty Bowen with a young child.
ca. 1974
Mark Tobey's 80th Birthday Celebration
Seventeen b/w prints of various guests at the exhibition and celebration for Mark Tobey's 80th birthday on December 3rd, 1970.
Tobey Exhibitions
Four b/w prints of Mark Tobey with guests at exhibitions of his paintings.
ca. 1960's
Morris Graves print
One b/w print of Morris Graves' "The Rock."
Unidentified Artists and Works
Ten b/w and two color prints of unidentified artists and works. Also includes a color plate by Mark Tobey intended for inclusion in a book published in Germany.
Scrapbook contains eighty-six b/w prints of Bowen's family and friends.
ca. 1938-1942
Mark Tobey
One b/w slide of Mark Tobey.
Container(s) Description Dates
Paul Horiuchi
One 16mm color film made by KOMO TV featuring the artist Paul Horiuchi.
Richard Gilkey
Two 16mm film clips made by KING TV News to publicize an art sale at the Seattle Center raising funds for the victims of the Birmingham bombing in Alabama.
Kenneth Callahan
One 16mm film made by KOMO TV News featuring the artist Kenneth Callahan.
Mark Tobey
One 16mm film made by KOMO TV featuring the artist Mark Tobey.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Bowen, Betty, 1919-1977--Photographs
  • Callahan, Kenneth, 1905-1986
  • Gilkey, Richard C. (Richard Charles), 1925-1997
  • Horiuchi, Paul, 1906-1999
  • Tobey, Mark--Photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Moving Image Collections (University of Washington)
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)