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Betty Fouch Collection

Identifier: RH-A-1362

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents dating from the late 1940s to 2008. The collected papers reflect the life work of Betty Louise Fouch, including her personal published and unpublished writings, a variety of correspondences with family and friends, genealogical information, newspaper clippings from local and non-local sources, paperwork related to Betty’s health, divorce, and children, a substantial amount of addressed and unaddressed cards, as well as myriad lists and miscellaneous ephemeral items. This particular series consists of two processed boxes containing a mixture of postcards, letters, photographs, etc., focusing on the Anderson family. These boxes also contained several oral history tapes, with accompanying notes. The remainder of the series consists of a collection of calendar books, and a large amount of photographs of miscellaneous subject matters. In particular one portion of photographs depicts Ralph Spaulding and Amy Franszine during and after World War I, along with large amount of family photos. The common themes within the collection include: Hammond, IN, alcoholism, the Veteran’s Association, people with disabilities, issues of the role of women in the domestic and professional workplace (and broader social and cultural circles), sexual identity and homosexuality (particularly in the Jim Jordan letters), feminism, student activism, HIV/AIDS, Vietnam (in particular documents relating to her son Terry Kohler), Chicago, and creative writing (e.g., poetry, short stories, creative non-fiction, etc.). The collection of documents related to overeating and dieting suggest that this was an issue that Betty struggled with, in particular later in her life. Betty’s concern for the treatment of people with disabilities may stem in part from her daughter, Jamie Fouch, who was born with a mental disability.


  • Creation: 1940-2008


Biographical / Historical

Betty Fouch was born on September 17, 1921 in the industrial Chicago suburb or Hammond, IN, to Ralph and Amy Spaudling. After graduating from high school in 1939, she did office work in Chicago, and then at Western Michigan University, having moved to Kalamazoo in 1949. While working full-time as a secretary to the chair of the Department of English and the director of the Audiovisual Center, and later the TV traffic coordinator for Media Services, and raising her family, Betty tirelessly worked towards her bachelor’s degree, which she acquired in 1971. In 1981, the WMU Commission on the Status of Women recognized her as “Woman of the Year.” In 1985, after twenty years of employment at WMU, Betty retired. Betty’s first marriage to Peter Kohler ended in divorce, followed by her second and final marriage to John Fouch, which also ended in divorce. Terry and Peter, both children from her first marriage, preceded Betty in death, with Terry dying in Vietnam in 1972 and Peter dying in 1998, as well as two still-born children. She was survived by her two children from her second marriage, Jamie Fouch of Kalamazoo and David Fouch of Otsego.


5.0 Cubic Feet (10 Boxes)

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Physical Description

This collection is approximately 5.0 cubic feet and is made up of 10 boxes. These boxes contain a variety of correspondences, personal writings, cards, newspaper clippings, biographical and genealogical information, photographs and ephemeral items. The majority of the collection is in fairly good condition, with very little deterioration of the letters or personal writings. Some of the hand-written materials have become difficult to read, due to the fading of pencil and ink. The majority of staples have been removed and all metal paper clips have been replaced with plastic archival clips. The majority of the photos have been removed from the photo albums or pre-glued sheets and placed in acid-free archival photo folders. However, some photos were left attached to paper or sheets due to an inability to remove the photos without causing undue harm.

With continued preservation and careful handling of the materials, the collection will remain in good condition and useable.

Betty Fouch Collection Finding Aid
Andrew Archey
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490