Core Collections on the 1976 Presidential Campaign
In 1976 President Ford and former California governor
Ronald Reagan contended for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
The outcome remained uncertain even as their contest reached the floor
of the convention. Ford won, chose Senator Robert Dole of Kansas as his
running mate, and began the presidential election campaign trailing the
Carter-Mondale ticket by 29 points in the polls. The final popular and
electoral votes were exceedingly close, with the television networks projecting
Jimmy Carter as the winner only in the small hours of the morning after
The Gerald R. Ford Library has extensive archival materials open to
the public on both the nomination and general election campaigns (view
a selection of 1976 campaign
documents). A few of the core collections are summarized below, as
illustration. Library staff can provide expert assistance at finding material
on specific topics.
CHENEY, RICHARD: Files, 1974-77
Cheney was Assistant to the President ("Chief of Staff").
Boxes 14-16 contain weekly progress reports from President Ford Committee
chairmen Howard "Bo" Callaway and Rogers Morton, July 1975-July 1976. Boxes
16-19 contain a campaign subject file including letters from Republican
leaders giving campaign advice and handwritten notes from Cheney to the
President, some of which concern telephone calls to convention delegates.
DOWNTON, DOROTHY: Files, (1972) 1974-77
Downton was Personal Secretary to the President. Her files
include a copy of the general election campaign strategy book, a preliminary
media plan, an early assessment of PFC operations, and other campaign material.
MORTON, ROGERS C.B.: Files, (1975) 1976
Morton was a White House adviser who became chairman of the
President Ford Committee. This collection focuses on the earliest phase
of the nomination contest.
PRESIDENT FORD COMMITTEE: Records, 1975-78
The PFC conducted Ford's nomination and presidential election
campaigns, and its records span 350 linear feet of shelving. Strengths
of this collection include campaign law, finances, advertising, implementation
of strategy state-by-state, volunteer operations, and the collection and
interpretation of polling data.
PRESIDENTIAL HANDWRITING FILE, 1974-77
In this collection of memos and other documents annotated
by the President, boxes 36-39 concern political affairs, especially the
RAOUL-DUVAL, MICHAEL: Papers and Files, 1974-77
Duval was Special Counsel to the President. In the Duval
"Papers," boxes 12-31 all concern the 1976 campaign, including such topics
as the California primary, drafting the Republican platform, drafting the
general election strategy, and preparations for the Ford-Carter debates.
In the Duval "Files," boxes 26-29 have additional material on the drafting
of the platform and related matters.
REICHLEY, A. JAMES: Files, 1976 and Research Interviews
Reichley was a White House consultant working in Cheney's
office. The Reichley "Files" include strategic analyses and long-range
observations on the campaign. The Reichley "Interviews" collection includes
summaries and notes from his research interviews with numerous 1976 Ford-Dole
and 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign figures.
TEETER, ROBERT: Papers, (1967) 1972-77
Teeter directed polling and interpretation for the Nixon
campaign in 1972 and the Ford White House and campaign in 1974-76. Detailed
polling data comprise the bulk of this large collection. There are also
memos to Nixon 1972 campaign officials, interpretative and summary memos
to Ford officials, and reports, graphs, and post-election analyses.
VISSER, ROBERT P.: Papers, 1972-1978
Visser was chief legal counsel for the President Ford Committee.
The collection includes his working papers and material that he gathered
from other PFC offices for legal and historical reasons. Major topics
include ballot security, campaign travel, delegate selection, federal and
state election laws, the Federal Election Commission, campaign finance,
insurance, campaign volunteers, Republican National Convention rules, the
1976 Presidential Campaign Liquidation Trust, and Campaign '76 Media Communications,
WHITE HOUSE CENTRAL FILES, 1974-77
This vast, shared filing system for White House staff contains
many thousands of pages on the nomination and election campaigns. File
categories PL-Political Affairs, SP-Speeches, and TR-Trips are the most
prominent file locations for campaign material.
WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL FILES UNIT: Files, 1974-77
Boxes 1-3 contain memos and briefing materials used by the
President in preparation for his debates with Governor Carter.
The White House videotaped, off the air, many copyrighted
network news broadcasts about the campaign and election. White House photographers
created a rich, uncopyrighted daily record of the Ford presidency in both
public events and closed-door meetings. Other White House staff made copyright-free
audiotapes of all presidential speeches and press conferences, the press
secretary's daily briefings, and occasional other remarks. The President
Ford Committee has left an extensive collection of campaign advertising.
View manuscript collection finding
the Ford Library & Museum website
to the Home Page
[ Search | Home
Page | E-mail ]
Last Updated: September 29, 2004