The Washburn Crosby Company -- later re-named General Mills -- invented the character Betty Crocker in 1921 to personalize letters in response to customers. Betty Crocker's name and signature soon became a representative for the company's flour and other "home economics" projects, including a chain of cooking schools throughout the United States designed to test and demonstrate products and recipes. By 1936 Betty had become so popular the company created a face to go along with her signature. In 1950 the first Betty Crocker cookbook was published, and quickly became a staple in American kitchens. Around the same time the logo, a red spoon and signature, appeared on boxed cake mixes. Since then Betty's name has been used on a wide range of products, and her image has been updated 8 times, most recently in 1996.