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Angus and Betty

Mac and his wife, Betty, were life partners for 70 years. He relied on her to be his best critic and advisor and their devotion to each other was inspirational.

Mac and Betty grew up in Waukesha, WI, knew each other in grade school and became high school sweethearts. They fell in love and were together from that point on — through college, Mac’s professional education in photography (which his father thought was “crazy” and Betty whole heartedly supported), throughout his career at the Journal, IH, and the university, and the remainder of Betty’s life. Betty assisted him on photo feature stories, holding lights, and breaking down barriers with new subjects. They were married for 70 years.

Of course you really couldn’t love Mac and not come to adore his wife, Betty. Betty was Mac’s partner — not just a spouse or a life partner — but a true partner in everything. His work was her work and she was as dedicated and perfectionistic as he was. He used her as a sounding board. She typed all of his work (he was a single-finger typist), edited his writing and was his most honest critic and editor (she too had a very sensitive bullshit detector, but her way of stating it made you feel good about your self, at least until you thought about it) and she wasn’t above leveling that honesty at Mac, who with a smile on his face would symbolically twist a knife in the air. He trusted her insight over all others.

It was Betty who had the photographic memory of all of Mac’s students and colleagues — she could tell you who they were, when they graduated and where they went — not to mention much more personal information. Mac would freely admit that if there were papers that would be needed later, he would entrust them to Betty so they could actually be found. Betty was always thoughtful of Mac’s students; in fact it was Betty who started the tradition of dinner at their home for photo-j students following their final exam. It was Betty who made Mac more accessible, more human.         — John Dengler

Mac always had a project in the works. When he was part of the International Harvester layoffs in 1971 he didn't just sit around. What does he do, but writes THE book on picture editing with Gerald Hurley. Then when his own students weren’t able to photograph at the Missouri Photo Workshop, he initiates a series of Missouri River town workshops and books, and finally does three more books in retirement. Mac was in his late 80's when he started the last book, finishing it at age 91.

Not content to rest on that, he and Betty then dreamed of ensuring recognition of photojournalists’ efforts. Mac was a frugal man and had saved for what he thought were the important things in life. About two years ago, he and Betty, approached the Missouri School of Journalism about making a significant donation to ensure that photojournalism would be preserved and recognized for its important role in journalism. This has resulted in the creation of the Angus and Betty McDougall Center for Photojournalism Studies, which now exists with some beginning programming and Web presence and in the archiving of Mac’s work and the eventual archiving of other photojournalism work and the eventual renovation of the Photojournalism Lab to update the lab and create a physical space for the McDougall Center.