20 Facts About Betty Smith


Betty Smith had a younger brother, William, and a younger sister, Regina.


Betty Smith attended Public School 49 through fourth grade, then transferred to PS 18, which she disliked, before wangling her way into out-of-district PS 23 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where she finished eighth grade.


Betty Smith began to take her writing more seriously, realizing it could be a career.


Betty Smith honed her composition and journalism skills, submitting articles and recipes to newspapers as well as writing plays.


Betty Smith legally separated, and before the start of World War II, in 1938, they divorced.


From a young age, Betty Smith had a deep and abiding interest in stage theater.


In 1916, Betty Smith was able to see Sara Bernhardt perform as part of her farewell tour of the United States.


At the University of Michigan, Betty Smith audited a number of journalism and playwriting courses and was a student in some of the classes of Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe.


Betty Smith's life reached a turning point when she won the University of Michigan's Avery Hopwood Award for her full length play Francie Nolan, which she later re-titled Becomes A Woman when she applied for copyright.


In 1935, an opportunity with the Works Projects Administration fortuitously arose, and Betty Smith began working for the Federal Theatre Project as a play reader.


In total, Betty Smith wrote four published novels during her lifetime, three of which take Brooklyn as a setting.


Betty Smith later acknowledged the novel and its heroine Francie Nolan were largely based on her own life and experiences.


Betty Smith meets and is courted by Frankie, a fellow Brooklynite, contending with poverty.


Betty Smith's relationship with her father John was warm and loving even though he was an alcoholic who only provided sporadically for his family.


Betty Smith had met George in 1917 at the Jackson Street Settlement House and then joined him in Ann Arbor where they quickly wed.


Betty Smith traveled to Reno, Nevada, gained residency, and filed for divorce on December 13,1951.


Betty Smith was a petite woman with dark brown hair and strikingly deep blue eyes.


Betty Smith enjoyed fishing, particularly at her cottage in Nags Head, North Carolina.


On January 17,1972, Betty Smith died of pneumonia in Shelton, Connecticut, at the age of 75.


Betty Smith is buried in Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, alongside her third husband, Robert Voris Finch.