Skip to main content

Betty Francis papers

Identifier: IWA1276

  • Staff Only
  • Please navigate to collection organization to place requests.

Scope and Contents

The Betty Francis papers date from 1944 to 2016 and measure 5 linear inches (1 box). The papers are arranged in 3 series: Personal, Professional, and Audiovisual. The audiovisual material is a single CD-ROM. The bulk of the collection deals with material from her baseball career such as her contracts with the Kalamazoo Lassies and the South Bend Blue Sox, schedule of her games, and an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) themed calendar.

The Personal series consists of correspondence, a scrapbook, and other ephemera from Francis’ personal life. The series covers her education in high school and at Monmouth college with two autograph books and an assignment notebook. There is a smattering of correspondence both to and from Francis, some newspaper clippings and photographs. The largest part of the series is a scrapbook in fragile condition that contains mementos from her travels around the country during the late 1940s mixed in with artifacts from her extracurricular activities such as baseball, basketball, band, and Spanish Club.

The Professional series covers her time as a professional baseball player. This series includes her two contracts from the Lassies and Blue Sox, speeches, schedules, bulletins to players, news articles about her time as a professional, the notice about the filming of “A League of Their Own” and other documents pertaining to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The AV Material series pertains one CD-ROM from the Chicago Public Radio with some of the players from AAGPBL.


  • Creation: 1940 - 2001


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa. However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Betty Lou Francis was born July 7th, 1931 to Roy and Hattie (Luetje) Francis of Maquoketa, IA. The Francis family moved to Chicago in 1945, where Betty played amateur softball and was an all-around athlete with the Chicago Park District in Ogden Park.

In 1949 Francis was selected for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) and played for five seasons. The league lasted from 1943 until 1954. She first played for the Chicago Colleens rookie development team in 1949. Then, she was promoted to the Muskegon Lassies late in the season and stayed with the franchise once it was renamed the Kalamazoo Lassies. She played four seasons with the Kalamazoo Lassies before ending her career with the South Bend Blue Sox. In her final season, she batted .350 (5th in the league) and was 7th in doubles. After she retired from baseball, Betty settled in Marionette Park, Illinois working at a local canning company.

Betty was inducted into the permanent “Women in Baseball” exhibit in Cooperstown, New York in 1988. It was unveiled to honor the entire AAGPBL. Following the release of the movie “A League of Their Own,” Betty was involved in the re-promotion of the AAGPBL.


5 linear inches

Language of Materials



Professional Baseball player from Iowa who played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1652) were donated by Wayne Francis and Aubrey Francis-Allen in 2021.

Betty Francis papers
Erik Henderson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)