Betty Gould, was born Sente Lisbette Rohde in Michigan in 1896. Her parents, August and Anna Rohde were German immigrants, and Betty did not learn to speak English until around the age of five. By age eleven, Betty was playing piano accompaniments to Vaudeville acts in Michigan and by age fifteen, she was living in Detroit with her sister and playing the piano for silent films. Betty got her first theatre organ job in Minneapolis-St. Paul where she met Dan Barton who helped her to master theatre organ technique. During her twenties she moved from Minnesota, to Detroit, to Chicago, and finally to New York with her husband David Gould, and twin daughters Betty and Margaret. During this time she was designated "All Chicago Organist" at the International Jazz Congress, and played on organs all over Chicago.
At age 34, she began playing on the Stapleton Paramount twin-console organ (3/3/19 Wurlitzer) in Staten Island with Priscilla "Jean" Holbrook. Later work included opening the RKO Roxy Theatre (Center Theatre) in the Rockefeller Radio City Complex where she played on the RKO Roxy (4/34 Wurlitzer), doing radio broadcasts for NBC and WMCA (New York's first independent station) where she had her own show "Sing Something Simple," and came to be known as "Radio's Princess of the Console."
In 1942, Betty moved to Connecticut to play hotel jobs until 1947 when she returned to New York. She played in hotels until 1949 when, at age 53, she became ill and decided to move west. She played in Tucson and Albuquerque, New Mexico where she met Bill Brown. She also played in California before settling in Arizona. She was an active member of the Phoenix Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society (ATOS), and was admitted to the ATOS Hall of Fame in 1975. She played regularly on the Organ Stop Pizza (4/28 Wurlitzer) in Phoenix, Arizona during the seventies. She was preceded in death by her daughter Margaret in 1984.
There is an article within the collection by Ron Rhode and Karl Warner which chronicles every instrument Betty was employed to play.