Betty Penson-Ward was a third generation Idahoan born to H.B. Butler and Marybelle Tingley Butler. She grew up in Boise and graduated from Boise High School. Betty married three times in her life, to Clyde Matthews, George H. Penson who died in 1946, and Judge Theron W. Ward who died in 1988.
Betty began her career in journalism when she began proofreading the Boise Capital News. In 1937, she began working for the Idaho Statesman as police and courts reporter. After two years she moved to the women's department (later renamed the Arts of Living and Features department) where she stayed for 25 years. Besides her career in journalism, Betty also wrote Idaho Women in History, a book of over 500 biographies about Idaho women. Wanting to save Idaho women from falling into obscurity, Penson completed detailed research for her book. Penson was quoted, “The reason I did this book is because I had to do it. Nobody else had all this information, and it had never been compiled. It had to be compiled before it gets away.”
Penson was the first woman inducted into Boise High School’s Hall of Fame and she won the National Federation of Press Women’s national sweepstakes award in 1971.
- LocalWiki - Boise - Betty Penson
- Idahos Hall of Fame
- Betty Penson Papers - Boise State University Special Collections and Archives