Nebraska Authors

Betty Laird

AKA: nee: Olson

Born 1925 Grand Island, NE (USA)

Betty Laird was a research analyst in Russian studies and Kansas history. She was also a professional actor who appeared in 10 stage plays and more than 40 commercials . She also co-starred in various productions, such as “Sarah, Plain and Tall” with Glenn Close, “Monday After the Miracle” alongside Roma Downey, and “Gone in the Night” with Edward Asner. Apart from that, she also founded the Hasting College Radio Players and has served on four board of directors, of which two she chaired.

Places Lived

Grand Island, NE

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Play/Screenplay
  • Poetry


Slavic studies; Kansas History


B.A. in Speech and English (cum laude),1948, Hastings College, 1948
Graduate study, 1947-48, University of Nebraska
University of Washington, Seattle, 1955-56
Russian History and Statistics, University of Kansas, 1960, 1967-68


Jr. High English teacher
Curriculum advisor
Assistant instructor in College English
Research assistant
Professional Actress
Polish Program Admisnistrator at University of Kansas

Places Worked

University of Washington, School of Business
University of Kansas, Lawrence
Centron Corp. (film producers)


Outstanding Alumni Award, Hasting College, 1977
Recognition by Clinton Lake Historical Society, 1983, 2003
Outstanding Service Award, Lawrence Community Theatre, 2003
Naum Jasny Family Research Grant


Western Social Science Association
American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
Friends in Council


Soviet Communism and Agrarian Revolution. 1970. (with Roy Laird)
To Live Long Enough: The Memoirs of Naum Jasny, Scientific Analyst . 1976. (with R. Laird)
Soil of Our Souls. 1976. (with Martha Parker)
The Future of Agriculture in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe 1977. (editor with R. Laird and Joseph Hajda)
The Political Economy of Collectivized Agriculture: A Comparative Study of Communist and Non-Communist Systems. 1979. (editor with Ronald A. Francisco and Roy D. Laird)
Agricultural Policies in the USSR and Eastern Europe. 1980. (editor with Ronald A. Francisco and Roy. D. Laird)
Quantrill’s Raid. 1988. (assembled)
Tea and Empathy: The University Women’s Club Centennial History. 1990.
Toast, A Collection of Poems and Short Stories (Light, Medium, and Burnt). 2014.
Sally and I Killed a Bear. 2014.

Historical Map of Clinton Lake. 1976.
Clinton Lake: Contour Fishing and Information Map. 1979. (revised 1987)

Plays produced:
Song on the Wind. 2008.
To Catch a Butterfly. 2011.
Jasmine and the Sixth Age. 1990.
Essential Elements. 2004.

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Betty Laird

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)