Oral Histories in the Gerald R. Ford Library
(last updated June 14, 2012)
The list below briefly describes oral histories and comparable interview records now available to research. A large number of additional interview records, not listed and not yet open to research, are at the Library in unprocessed or partly processed collections.
The Ford Library acquires interview records created by journalists, historians, political scientists, memoirists and their research assistants, independent writers, and others. We are very grateful to these donors for making their research materials available to future generations. The Library itself has conducted a modest number of interviews, usually with Gerald R. Ford Foundation funding.
Oral History Materials Open to Research
CANNON, JAMES M.:
Research interviews and notes for Time and Chance, 1989-94 (2 feet)
The collection consists of research materials for Cannon's book Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment with History (1994) and a projected second volume. It includes transcripts and audiotapes from Cannon’s interviews with President Ford, and Ford's family and associates; and notes and transcript excerpts from Trevor Armbrister’s 1977 interviews with President Ford during writing of Ford’s memoir A Time to Heal. Consult the finding aid for a list of materials currently open to research.
COMPOSITE ORAL HISTORY ACCESSIONS, 1978-present (less than 1 foot)
Some researchers have donated tapes or transcripts of their research interviews with former President Ford and others. When a donation involves very few items, that donation may be added to this collection. Researchers should credit interview donors when citing this material. The earlier accessions are open, but more recent accessions may be unprocessed and therefore closed. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees in processed accessions.
DEVLIN, L. PATRICK:
Research interviews, 1976-77 (less than one foot)
Professor of Speech Communications
Transcripts of interviews with Ford campaign advertising advisers Bruce Wagner and Doug Bailey, and Democratic media consultant Tony Schwartz; and a related article by Devlin. Consult the finding aid for a full list of interviewees.
GERALD R. FORD LIBRARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS:
Transcripts and audiotapes, 1981-present (less than one foot)
Oral history interviews conducted by Ford Library staff members with Ford administration officials, and occasional others. These are broadly focused extended interviews with transcripts generally being dozens of pages in length. Complete transcripts and audiotapes are available for interviews that are fully processed and opened. Consult the finding aid for a list of currently available interviews.
GRAND RAPIDS ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION (less than one foot)
Transcripts and audiotapes for interviews with seven people who knew Ford as a young man. They discuss their acquaintanceships, Grand Rapids politics in the 1930s and 1940s, and Ford's 1948 congressional campaign. Interviewees are Arthur Brown, Philip Buchen, Kay Clark, Margaret and Paul Goebel, Dorothy Judd, Willard Ver Meulen, and Niel Weathers. The Ver Meulen transcript is short (5 pages), but others range from 16 to 30 pages. National Archives staff conducted the interviews in 1980. The interview transcripts have been digitzed and are available online. Consult the finding aid for a full list of interviewees and to view digitized content.
HYDE, JAMES F.C., Jr., and STEPHEN WAYNE:
Research interviews, 1975-77 (less than one foot)
Between 1975-1977, Hyde and Wayne interviewed 20 Ford staff members as part of a research project on legislative clearance, enrolled bills, and legislative programming. Many interviews also discussed work relationships and job stresses. Interviewees included Domestic Council and Congressional Relations staff members, Donald Ogilvie of OMB, Richard Cheney, James Connor, Robert Hartmann, and others. Most of the transcripts are from 15 to 50 pages in length. Consult the finding aid for a full list of interviewees.
Research interviews, 1994-2007 (less than one foot)
Professor of history.
This collection consists of audiocassettes and transcripts of interviews of former President Gerald R. Ford, Ford White House staff, agency officials, and congressmen. Yanek Mieczkowski conducted the interviews in support of his scholarly works, including his book, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s. The interviews focus heavily on Gerald Fordís response to the economic and energy crises of the 1970s, relations with Congress, 1975 State of the Union Address, and the 1976 Presidential campaign. Consult the finding aid for a full list of interviewees.
ORAL HISTORY ITEMS IN OTHER FORD LIBRARY MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
A number of collections donated to the Library also contain oral histories. These include, but are not limited to:
- James Cannon Papers – Boxes 34 & 35 – Transcripts of interviews with Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller conducted by various individuals and focusing on Rockefeller’s work as Vice President.
- Melvin Laird Papers – Boxes D8, D40 & D42 – Transcripts of interviews concerning his service as a U.S. Representative and Secretary of Defense.
- Wolfgang Lehmann Papers – Box 1 – Transcripts of two oral histories with Lehmann, the Deputy U.S. Ambassador in South Vietnam at the time of the fall of Saigon.
- President Ford Committee Records – Box E41 – Transcripts of interviews with Betty Ford, the Ford children, and a number of Grand Rapids friends and associates for use in the convention film or campaign advertising.
- John Robson Papers – Box 1 – Transcript of an interview focusing on the Civil Aeronautics Board and airline deregulation.
- William Simon Papers – Box 58 – Extensive transcripts of interviews with Simon used in the writing of his memoir Time for Truth.
- H. Guyford Stever Papers – Box 1 - Transcript of an interview concerning his career, including work at the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
- Bruce S. Wagner - Box 3 - Transcripts of Pierre Rinfret's interviews with John Connally and William Simon.
PEABODY, ROBERT L.:
Research interview notes, 1964-67 (less than one foot)
In the aftermath of the severe setbacks suffered by House Republicans in the 1964 elections, Peabody interviewed in confidence many Republican Members of Congress as their leadership contests unfolded. He conducted more interviews as the new leadership took hold. Most interviews focused on the contest for House Minority Leader between Ford and Charles Halleck. Others concerned Melvin Laird's election as chairman of the House Republican Conference, Les Arends's election as Minority Whip, and the selections of John Rhodes and Charles Goodell to chair planning and policy committees. The interviews were the basis for a journal article, later reprinted as a chapter in Leadership in Congress: Stability, Succession, and Change (1976). These detailed interview notes vary greatly in extent (1 page to 22 pages with the bulk clustered at the lower end) and may not be quoted for publication except by advance written permission of Professor Peabody. The Library does not have audiotapes of the interviews. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
REICHLEY, A. JAMES:
Research interviews, (1967) 1977-81 (1 foot)
Scholar. Former White House Operations Office consultant.
This collection includes over 160 short (2-11 pages, with the bulk around 4-5 pages) summaries of interviews with officials of the Nixon and Ford administrations, Members of Congress, participants in the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign and transition, and occasional others. The interviews were apparently not taped, so Reichley made the summaries from notes taken during the interviews. Reichley used many of the interviews in his book Conservatives in an Age of Change: The Nixon and Ford Administrations (1981), so the focus of the interviews is on topics discussed in that book. Researchers must secure Mr. Reichley's written permission in order to use direct quotes from the interviews. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
ROZELL, MARK J.:
Research interviews, 1989-90 (less than one foot)
Included are transcripts of interviews with Gerald Ford and Robert Hartmann, and with Press/Communications Office staff John Carlson, William Greener, Ron Nessen, J.W. "Bill" Roberts, Larry Speakes, Jerald terHorst, Louis M. Thompson, Jr., Gerald Warren, and Margita White. Rozell created the interviews in writing The Press and the Ford Presidency (1992). Citations should credit Professor Rozell. Transcripts range in length from 4 pages to 22 pages. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
SEA-LAND SERVICE, INC.:
Collected materials re the Mayaguez, 1975 (less than one foot)
Included are transcripts (a total of about 325 pages) and audiotapes of interviews with the officers and crew of the Mayaguez . Sea-Land Service Inc., the crew's employer, conducted the interviews in the days immediately after recovery of the ship and crew from the Khmer Rouge. Sea-Land has donated the tapes, and Dartmouth College Library has provided annotated transcripts and related notes from the papers of Roy Rowan, who had used the tapes in writing The Four Days of the Mayaguez. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
Research interviews, 1984-85 (less than one foot)
Syers interviewed Ford's associates about his congressional career and his approach to congressional liaison as President. Included are transcribed interviews (each 6 to 12 pages in length) with former congressional colleagues, White House Congressional Relations Office staff and others: William Baroody Jr., Philip Buchen, Pat Butler, Richard Cheney (closed), Barber Conable, Glenn Davis, Max Friedersdorf, Charles Goodell, Bryce Harlow, Robert Hartmann, Joseph Jenckes, William Kendall, Thomas Korologos, Melvin Laird, Charles Leppert, Thomas Loeffler, Patrick O'Donnell, Roger Porter, Patrick Rowland, Hugh Scott, and L. William Seidman. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
U.S. MARINE CORPS. HISTORY AND MUSEUMS DIVISION: Copies of oral histories on the Mayaguez action and related Marine unit operational records, 1965-77 (2 feet)
(Non-record copies given by Marine Corps)
Compact disks of oral histories (audio files only) with Marines who participated in the Mayaguez action. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.
U.S. NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION. HISTORICAL OFFICE:
Oral histories and publications, 1972-93 (less than one foot)
Copies of material concerning the early Space Shuttle program, including NASA publications, near-print items, and oral histories with John Erlichman, James Fletcher, Don Rice, H. Guyford Stever, and Caspar Weinberger. Consult the finding aid for a list of interviewees.