Title

The Other Carter: Betty Werlein Carter, A Writer In Her Own Regard

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

David R. Davies

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

During her almost sixty years as a twentieth century journalist, Betty Werlein Carter received several honors and recognitions for her role as a civil rights activist and civic leader, yet few sources have acknowledged her contributions as a member of the press. Her career as a writer has been overshadowed by that of her acclaimed husband, Hodding Carter, and her two journalist sons, Hodding, III and Philip. Betty's family had founded Werlein's Music in New Orleans. As a child, her aspirations included journalism and writing, and she continued honing those skills through journalistic endeavors in high school and as a student at Sophie Newcomb College. Her 1932 marriage to aspiring journalist, Hodding Carter, advanced her own career aspirations in communication, as she served as the financial champion of their newspapers, the Hammond Daily News , the Greenville Delta Star , and later, Greenville's Delta Democrat-Times . In addition to keeping these newspapers viable, Betty wrote columns that focused on women's issues and society news, and for the Greenville paper, edited special editions focusing on land use. During World War II, Betty worked as a research analyst for the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. while Hodding served in military public relations. Following the Carters' return to Greenville in early 1942, Betty quit working regularly at the DDT , and filled her days with numerous community and civic endeavors. Yet, she relied on her public relations skills to promote community endeavors and continued to publish magazine articles. At the same time, she mothered three sons, Hodding, III, Philip, and Thomas. Betty Carter worked as a journalist, public relations practitioner, editor, civil rights advocate, feature and travel writer, hostess to numerous national and international personalities, and newspaper publisher, yet she did her most noteworthy work apart from her husband during World War II. Her significant contribution to communication was her emotional and financial support of her famous husband. This dissertation reveals the significant journalistic endeavors of a woman who has remained hidden in the footnotes of journalism history.