Betty Draper Francis


Born approx 1932. Maiden name Hofstadt. First name Elisabeth (or with a z), called Betty, Betsy, Bets, Birdie (seemingly exclusively by husband Don).

Married in May of 1953. Divorced in December of 1963. Married Henry Francis shortly thereafter.

Has three children, Sally Beth, Robert, and Eugene Scott.

Her mother, Ruth, died early 1960 (approximately 3 months before Ladies Room).

Betty’s father, Gene (Ryan Catrona), (listed in S1 credits as Gene Driscoll, though in S2 Betty’s maiden name was revealed to be Hofstadt–a show bible snafu) had diabetes and high blood pressure. He had a summer house (presumably for many years) in Cape May, and his main residence was in Philadelphia, PA. Gene met Gloria (Darcy Shean) sometime before Ruth died (Gloria attended the funeral). By mid-1962 Gene and Gloria married.

Gene had a series of strokes, and Gloria left him in 1963. Gene moved in with Don and Betty, where he remained until his death in June of 1963.

Betty started seeing Dr. Wayne, a psychiatrist, in spring of 1960, because her hands were going inexplicably numb. Stopped seeing him sometime between November 1960 and February 1962.

Her brother William has a wife, Judy, and unruly children.

There was a Grandpa Herman who woke up with a cold leg (had diabetes? lost his leg).

Graduated from Bryn Mawr with a degree in Anthropology. Spent the summer after graduation in Italy. Began modeling that summer, with a designer named Giovanni, (wanted to be called Johnny).

Then modeled in Manhattan, which is how she met Don (he was the copywriter on a furrier account; she was a model for the product). Shared an apartment with multiple roommates, including Juanita Carson.

Betty’s first kiss was with a Jewish boy named David Rosenberg.

Betty had a schoolgirl friend named Deidre Shaw.

Smokes Salems.


  39 Responses to “Betty Draper Francis”

  1. Someone over on TWoP has a theory that maybe Betty habitually shaves a couple years off her age, and wasn't 28 in 1960 like she told Glen, considering that Sally had just turned six, and Betty is a college graduate, spent a summer in Europe, and did some modeling before she met Don.
    Now that she says she was 22 when living with Juanita I'm kind of wondering about that theory. Not that it's a big deal in the timeline, but Betty does seem like the type to be 28 for seven years.
    I get the impression that women started modeling at an older age in the 60s than they do now. From the ads, it didn't look like they were so keen on painting up a tall 15 year old, and actually wanted women showing the clothes.

    • Many times Matt Weiner has stated that Betty was born in 1932.

      In the real universe that makes no sense. However, it is MW’s creation and therefore to best enjoy it we need to accept Mad Men Logic.

      In Season 1 Betty says that she graduated from Bryn Mawr where she was a member of a sorority. During the table read of that episode, Maggie Siff (playing Rachel) told MW that she is an actual Bryn Mawr graduate and that sororities are not allowed there. MW chose to ignore the facts and the statement about sororities is in the episode.

      In an episode Betty says she married Don on Valentine’s Day 1953, 14 February, shortly after Don’s divorce from the widow of the real ‘Don Draper’ became final.

      If Betty was born in 1932, she would have been 18 in 1950 and 20 in 1952. She claims to have graduated with a degree in anthropology. Yet, in all the episodes has Betty ever said anything suggesting she has such a superior intellect she could have been accepted at Bryn Mawr at age 16 or younger circa 1948? Of the Seven Sister colleges, Bryn Mawr is generally considered the most vigorous. Even my late mother (Vassar class of 1925) and late wife (Wellesley class of 1957) conceded that point. But, in Mad Men logic we ignore all of those pesky details.

      • C Carroll

        If Betty was born in 1932, and graduated at the usual time at 22 yrs old, she would have graduated college in 1954, the year Sally was supposedly born.
        But, Season 1 was when she babysat Glen and he asked her how old she was and she replied 28. Season 1 took place in 1960, and 28 would be what she would have been if she was born in 1932.
        I think Weiner and his team think we can’t count. They’ve already messed with Don’s age.
        He was originally supposed to be 10 when Adam was born, yet, after his father died and he moved to that whorehouse with his pregnant stepmother, that was no 10 yr old boy that the prostitute had sex with. More like a 14 yr old.
        Then again in Season 5 after his birthday party. I don’t know about anyone else but I always thought the real Don Draper was more than 6 months older than Dick Whitman, yet, when Megan is in the bedroom with Don and assumes he’s not talkative because he turned 40, she said something like I don’t know why you’re down over turning 40 when you really turned 40 six months ago.

  2. Jackie, I suspected the same as I was re-watched the episode where she tells Glen her age. Something about the way she asks Helen's age and the tone/word choice when she tells hers, made me wonder if she took a few years off. She could have easily left it at saying that she was about the same age as his mother.

  3. I had gotten a similar vibe from that scene. And if she did, it's that much more pathetic that she wants to appear younger than she is to a nine year old. Though I guess 30 was more of a milestone age back then- "never trust anyone over 30" or so it went? I guess when I was little I thought of 30 as being a real grown-up. And somewhow I think of an 18 year old dating a 30 year old being more inappropriate than an 18 year old dating a 29 year old.

  4. The vibe I got from that scene is that she revealed her real age because she was younger than Helen, but I don't know for sure.

    I wouldn't put it past Betty to lie about her age, but I'm not sure she would be doing it yet, although I suppose that's something you should start young for max believability.

    She definitely has issues with aging.

  5. In season two, ep. 1, Juanita says "Betty Hofstadt?!". So is Hofstadt Betty's maiden name? Above it says her Dad's last name is Driscoll. I wonder if we can get confirmation?

    • Laura
      Go to Wikipedia, and type in the name Betty Draper.
      It gives her bio, and it says her maiden name is Hofstadt.
      I don’t remember the name Driscoll ever mentioned, UNLESS that was the last name of Gloria her father’s short lived g/f

  6. Btw, I did some online searching, but couldn't find any references to a maiden name for Betty, only saw references to Hofstadt in FTWTY recaps.

  7. Her father was referred to as "Gene" in the episode in which he appeared, and listed in the credits as "Gene Driscoll."

    However, Juanita definitely called Betty "Betty Hofstadt," which must be a maiden name, and if it's spoken in the episode that takes precedence over something that was just in the credits, so I'll fix it.

    • Any thoughts about Hofstadt being her Mother's maiden name? Would she have taken on a "career" name? Could her name been Elisabeth Hofstadt Driscoll? Just wondering if this is even a possibility for teh time…

  8. Excellent, Deborah. I still haven't been able to find confirmation anywhere, but it makes sense if Juanita knew her as Betty Hofstadt.

  9. Betty smokes Salems.

  10. I'm putting it back, with a note that it got changed. To me, this is a purpose of the bible, to call out the bible mistakes.

  11. Attended Lower Merion High School which is located on Philadelphia's Main Line (Ardmore, to be precise). Main Line is the suburban area where The Philadelphia story was set and in 1960 was a WASPY enclave.

  12. The gay designer Betty hung out with in Italy wanted to be called "Gianni," not "Johnny." (Listen to her pronunciation.) And because of the look of the clothes he gave to her, which she models for her neighbor friend, they are in the style of Gianni Versace. I thought it was a fun little insert of a "brush with fame" moment, and sort of Forest Gump-like.

  13. She specifically said he wanted to be called Johnny because he was obsessed with all things American. Gianni wouldn't do that.

    • I found that reference odd, because Gianni is a common Italian nickname for Giovanni (as well as GianCarlo and other Gian forms) and it is pronounced very much like Johnny. It is two syllables, with the first i serving only to make the G “soft.”

  14. Oh, you're right, Ms. Lipp! I forgot about that American reference. Still…I think they were referring to Gianni Versace. Those clothes were unmistakable!!

  15. Oh, and by the way, what a kick for the costume department of the show to create some designs that were what would have been very early Versace…they really got it right.

  16. "Im not sad Im nordic?"

  17. Actually, yeah… and German grandmother. I'll get it in.

  18. Betty seems concerned about spanking, ie: Don not administering. I wonder if she secretly wants to be spanked.

    • Betty hardly seems sexually adventurous, so I never assumed she had fantasies of being spanked as an adult.

      My guess is that a girl growing up with a nanny on the Main Line during the 1930s probably was spanked routinely. What we have been told about her mother Ruth suggests a woman obsessed with a need to control. It appears that if Ruth did not either spank Betty or have Violet do so, she would have risked criticism from other mothers she knew.

      In the early episode in which Betty caught Sally smoking, she puts the girl in a closet as punishment, when more likely in the very early 1960’s given her own background Betty would have spanked Sally. However, I agree with Matt Weiner about that. I would yield to 2007 PC and not even mention spanking Sally. When Betty wants Don to spank Bobby, Don refuses, so that turned out PC.

      Perhaps some viewers think adult Betty needed to be spanked, but the days when such could be included in mainstream entertainment ended in 1963 with the release of John Wayne’s “McLintock!” in which both Stephanie Powers and Maureen O’Hara get spanked.

      There are PC related battles which cannot be won. I agree with MW when those get side-stepped.

  19. Although I agree they were toying with the audience with the Gianni reference, and the nod on the clothes, Gianni Versace was born December 2 1946. We know that Betty was a model right after college only until she met Don and then got pregant with Sally. Sally is 6 in 1960 and Betty is 28 so Betty could have been in Italy around 1954 at the very latest and Versace would have been AT MOST 8 or probably even 7 (due to the December birthday) so its not possible that he was the designer she knew.

  20. Betty is slowly becoming one of the breakout female characters on the show.

    She really blossomed throughout series 2.

    I even made a youtube fan vid for the housewife LOL.

  21. It’s really neither here nor there, but I always assumed Don was calling Betty “Bertie,” not “Birdie,” I guess because it’s kind of an easy little twist on “Betty.”

  22. Betty would not have come across Gianni Versace in the early 1960's.He was a young up and coming designer in the late 1970's. He didn't develop his signature style until the mid-late 80's. I made my prom dress in 1981 from a Gianni Versace Vogue pattern – at that time he was billed as a 'new designer' and I'd never heard of him.

  23. I figured out a way that makes Betty 28 in 1960 and managed to get married and have kids so quickly out of college. Perhaps she only graduated with a two-year degree from Bryn-Mawr? So if she was born in 1932, she graduates around age 20 in 1952. She goes off to Italy to model in the summer of 52, meets Don right afterwards. They marry in 1953 around age 21, and she has Sally in 1954. The mean age for women to get married was 22 in the 50s. For a beautiful catch like Betty, younger was probably perceived as better.

  24. Was verbally abused by her mother, who warned her about her weight and questioned whether modeling was a respectable career.

    Pregnant with third child, convinced it is a girl.

    Purchased expensive baby/toddler clothing for her childreb.

  25. I think Don is saying, "Birdie" not "Bertie" because I've heard "bird" used as endearing slang for "woman/girl/girlfriend" in movies and I've heard older gentlemen call their wives "Birdie" before.

  26. It's even better/easier because it is so close to "Bets/Betty"

  27. Betty is somewhat anti-semitic. (She told Jimmy her thoughts about “you people”. He said “who? comedians?”).

  28. Hi, I just watched the episode in which Gene Betty’s father dies. I’m in med-school currently so I’m constantly thinking about stuff we learned. In the scene where he’s eating chocolate ice cream with Sally, he mentions that it tasted like “chocolate” but smells like “oranges.” It was interesting that he mentioned this because from what I understand, patients with Diabetes will exhibit “fruity” smelling breath when they have a condition called Ketoacidosis a common symptom of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which stops your body from being able to break down sugar to use as energy, as a result it will begin to break down protein and fatty acids for energy, a process known as Ketosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when glucose(sugar) and organic chemical compounds called Ketones (byproduct of Ketosis) build up in the blood stream. This in turn makes your blood more “acidic” and therefore interferes with its ability to distribute oxygen to the body (generally called Acidosis-in this case its Ketoacidosis because its Acidosis caused by Ketones). When left untreated this can cause respiratory failure (not enough oxygen in body) and eventually death…so I think that Gene died of untreated Ketoacidosis…I don’t know how many of you will care…I just found it interesting haha.

    Moral of the Story: If you or someone you know have breath that smells like fruit when it shouldn’t…go see a doctor please…especially (no offense) if you’re overweight and/or have a family history of diabetes.

    A question to you all, is it possible that he intentionally ate the chocolate ice cream, fully knowing this would happen, to commit suicide?…I mean that whole show was kind of leading up to his death…with him writing the will and all. Just something to think about…and I realize I’m like 4 seasons behind…don’t hate I recently discovered the show.


    • Ryan,

      I sincerely hope this is your first semester at med-school. Preferably the first day, considering that DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) is usually covered several time throughout undergrad.

    • When you rotate through neuro you will be told the two most common reasons for patients reporting unusual smells are A) brain tumors and B) psychosis . Other reasons are sinus infections, oral/tooth abscess, and thrush/fungal infections. What I flashed to was the dementia as a basis, or possible a TIA.

  29. I honestly thought it was a symptom of a stroke to detect smells that weren’t Actually there. That is why I thought he smelled oranges when eating chocolate ice cream.