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Getz, Betsy (ca. 1914-2008) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Getz, Betsy (ca. 1914-2008)
Variant Name: Getz, Mrs. James R.
Fuller Form: Getz, Betsy Needham

Historical Note:

Betsy Getz was the daughter of Chicago advertising entrepreneur Maurice Needham and Ray Needham; she had two brothers who preceded her in death as well, John Needham (World War II) and Richard Needham.

Betsy attended the Madiera School and returned to Chicago.  She married James R. Getz in the mid 1930s, son of  the founding head of Globe Coal, Chicago, George Getz. They lived on Lake Shore Drive, attended the Symphony, operas, etc., and included in their circle architect Walter Frazier.  Frazier worked on their apartment and Betsy was interested in aspects of interior design.  By 1938, they bought sixty acres west of Lake Forest and had Frazier design for them a house in the country, into which they moved in 1939.  Here they raised a family, as Jim was active in local philanthropic and historical activities.

During World War II, Jim was a way some and Betsy and her girls moved into Lake forest, living in a house of the Haslers on the northeast corner of Green Bay Road and Vine Avenue.  She took typing at Lake Forest College and did war work in a local office for home-front activities on market Square. 

Betsy loved horses and riding them, and she also took photographs, one of which is in the collection, as are some from her Chicago days -- skylines at night.  She later also raised and showed dogs at their estate, Shagbark.  As the children grew up, Frazier in the mid 1950s returned to add a wing to their house for a new master suite, and finishing off a courtyard, with a gate to the south lawn with two sculpted cast abstracted hens on nests with eggs. 

The Shagbark landscape was by Erle Blair, of Simonds West & Blair.

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