Gerald R. Ford Library
Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about President Ford and Mrs. Ford

1.8 Where can I find biographical information about President Ford and Mrs. Ford?

1.9 Can you give me any information about President Ford's "inauguration"?

1.10 Who was President Ford's Vice-President?
1.11 What are some of President Ford's favorite foods? Where can I get recipes?


Questions about the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum

2.8 Where can I get a copy of the pardon issued for President Nixon?
2.9 Where can I view samples of the White House China from the Ford administration? 
2.10 When was the Library and Museum opened to the public?

Can't find your question here? Please e-mail our reference staff at

1.1 I haven't seen President Ford at recent public events, how are he and Mrs. Ford doing?

President Ford turned 92 on July 14, 2005. He and Mrs. Ford are in good health, however, doctors have advised him to reduce his travel. This is why he did not attend President George W. Bush's second inauguration in January 2005 or the dedication of President Clinton's Library in November 2004. Both President and Mrs. Ford did attend services for President Reagan's funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington June 2004. View recent photographs of President and Mrs. Ford

1.2 How can I obtain President Ford's autograph?

President Ford is cutting back substantially and is no longer able to fulfill the numerous autograph requests he receives annually.  We regret this disappointment, but thank you for your interest.

1.3 What are President and Mrs. Ford's children doing now?

President and Mrs. Ford's oldest son Mike Ford is a student activities director at Wake Forest University. Jack Ford is a businessman in California. Steve Ford is an actor and rancher. President and Mrs. Ford's daughter Susan is a photographer and author.

1.4 How can I get a congratulatory letter from President Ford for an Eagle Scout? 

All requests for congratulatory letters are handled by President Ford’s office in California. You can contact his staff there at:

The Honorable Gerald R. Ford
P.O. Box 927
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270

1.5 Is it true President Ford's birth name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr.?
What else can you tell me about President Ford's genealogy?

Yes, President Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska to Dorothy and Leslie Lynch King, and was named after his father. In a matter of weeks, Mrs. King left her abusive husband for her sister's house in Illinois, and later filed for divorce that was finalized on December 19, 1913. She  moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and  married a local business man, Gerald R. Ford, Sr. on February 1, 1916. The younger Ford adopted this namesake, which was the only name he had known. He legally changed his name to Gerald R. Ford, Jr. on December 3, 1935. For more on President Ford's family history.

1.6 What does President Ford's middle initial "R" stand for? 

The middle initial "R" stands for Rudolph. He had gone by the name Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., since the time of his mother's remarriage to Gerald Ford, Sr. (his stepfather). However, he did not legally change his name until December 3, 1935.

The spelling he used does differ from that of his stepfather's who spelled his middle name "Rudolf".

1.7 What can you tell me about President Ford's football career? 

Ford first played football as the starting center on the freshman team at South High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During his sophomore year, he replaced the injured starting center and led the team to a city championship, and was named to the All-City team. In his senior year, Ford  was captain of the South High Team that won the state championship and received All-State honors.

After high school, Ford played center on the University of Michigan football team. In his senoir year at Michigan Ford was named to the All-Big Ten team, but was not named All-American. Ford  was invited to play in the annual East-West Shrine game in San Francisco that year, and afterwards the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions offered pro contracts to Ford. Ford declined both offers hoping to go to law school.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, the athletic department at Yale University offered him a job as offensive line coach. After returning to Grand Rapids upon finishing his law degree at Yale, he coached the offensive line at the University of Grand Rapids.

1.8   Where can I find biographical information about President Ford and Mrs. Ford?

A good place to start is to visit our online biography on President Ford and Mrs. Ford.

Other good sources include President Ford and Mrs. Ford's autobiographies:

Ford, Gerald. A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald Ford. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
Ford, Betty. The Times of My Life. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

In addition, many other good biographies have been written about President and Mrs. Ford click to View our bibliography.

1.9 Can you give me any information about President Ford's "inauguration"?

President Ford is not considered to have been "inaugurated," a term reserved for the initiation of a new administration. Since Ford was not elected to his own term, and was completing Nixon's second term, his swearing-in is not considered an inauguration ceremony. Ford was sworn-in as President on August 9, 1974 in the East Room of the White House by Chief Justice Warren Berger.

Beacuse Ford's swearing-in occurred at a time of a great national crisis and on a short notice with little time for transition, the ceremony took on a solemn tone. There were no formal balls or dinners. Following his remarks upon taking the oath of office, Ford met with senior staff members and the Congressional leadership at a luncheon. That evening the Ford family, still living in their Alexandria, Virginia house to allow the Nixons time to complete their move from the White House, had a dinner with friends. View Daily Diary of President Ford's First Day in office.

1.10 Who was President Ford's Vice-President?

When Gerald Ford became President, the Vice-Presidency was vacated. Under the terms of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, Ford nominated Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York to be Vice President on August 20, 1974. Rockefeller was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the 41st Vice-President on December 19, 1974.

1.11 What are some of President Ford's favorite foods? Where can I get recipes?

President Ford’s favorite meals include pot roast and red cabbage. His favorite dessert is butter pecan ice cream, and also enjoys butterscotch candy and bite-sized snickers bars.

Recipes for these dishes:

Mrs. Ford’s Sunday Roast (Serves 6)
From Henry Haller's, The White House Family Cookbook 

6 pounds of rib roast              12 small boiling potatoes, peeled
3 garlic cloves                          6 white turnips peeled
3 tablespoon salt                      1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons black pepper        Fresh Parsley sprig
2 table spoons vegetable oil     1 cup dry red wine 
6 small peeled onions               1 cup beef bouillon
12 baby carrots                         a bunch of water cress

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Rub Rib roast with garlic, season with salt and pepper
3. In a large roasting pan , heat oil over medium high heat; slowly brown roast on both sides
4. Turn roast bone side up and transfer to lower shelf of pre-heated oven; roast for 45 minutes
5. Remove pan from oven and drain off excess fat. Gently turn roast over.
6. Surround roast with onions carrots, potatoes, and turnips; and bay leaf and parsley
7. Roast on lower shelf of oven for 30 minutes (for medium rare meat), occasionally basting meat and vegetables; remove vegetables when lightly brown and fork tender (they will cook faster than the roast) and keep warm in a covered casserole dish.
8. Remove roast and let stand 15 minutes on carving board.
9. Drain fat from roasting pan add wine and bouillon, and simmer over medium heat to reduce to 1 ½ cups; strain
10. Use long sharp knife to crave roast into thin slice, arrange on serving platter and enjoy!

President Ford’s Favorite Red Cabbage 
From the Ann Arbor News, 12/15/1976

1 3 pound red cabbage
3 table spoons of butter
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup of vinegar
½ cup currant jelly
1 teaspoon slat

1. Remove outer leaves and core of cabbage, wash and drain, slice very fine
2. Melt butter in a deep skillet add the cabbage, sugar and vinegar, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until tender, stir frequently
3. Add jelly and salt, blend. Cool for 10 minutes. 

1.12 What was the name of President Ford's dog when he was President?

"Liberty" is the name of the golden retriever who resided in the White House with the Ford family.  She was a gift to President Ford in September 1974 following Mrs. Ford's surgery for breast cancer. view pictures of Liberty.

2.1 Why is the Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, separated by 130 miles?

As an alum of the University of Michigan (1935), Congressman Ford reached an agreement in 1963 with the Bentley Historical Library at the University to serve as a repository for his Congressional papers. Subsequently, he became Vice-President and President, and at the conclusion of his administration President Ford deeded all of his papers to a new Presidential Library that would be constructed on the North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

However, as a native son of Grand Rapids who serve the constituency for twenty-five years in Congress, President Ford wanted to show his gratitude and love for the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan, so the Presidential Museum was built along the banks of the Grand River in downtown.

2.2 I am interested in conducting research at the Ford Library. How do I begin?

Anyone over the age of 14 (if under the age of 14 we ask that a parent or guardian accompany you) with a photo identification can conduct research in the Ford Library. The Library is open from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is closed on federal holidays. You do not necessarily need to schedule an appoint to conduct research, however, it is advisable for you to write, e-mail, or call the Ford Library archives staff prior to your visit so they can provide you with an assessment of the quantity, quality, and accessibility of materials on your topic of interest.

Once you arrive at the library, an archivist will meet with you to explain our regulations and procedures. (See also "Regulations for the Public Use of Records in the National Archives and Records Administration" [36 CFR 1254]). The archivist also will offer advice about which collections are most likely to contain useful material on your topic. You will be asked to furnish personal photo identification and verification of address, and to complete a simple registration form.

We also recommend consulting our online Guide to Historical Materials for more information about Library policies and the collections available for research at the Ford Library.

2.3 Where can I learn more about the collections housed at the Ford Library? What policies govern access to collections?

Finding aids for the 450+ collections housed at the Gerald R. Ford Library can be found in the online version of our Guide to Historical Materials. This guide also provides information regarding accessibility of collections. You can also contact the archives staff at

2.4 I'm researching my family history. Does the Ford Library have any  genealogical resources? What about the 1930 Census?

The Ford Library does not contain any genealogical records, except for those records related to President Ford's genealogy.  For your family history search, you might begin by talking with a reference librarian at your local public library. Some public libraries, historical societies and regional offices of the National Archives and Records Administration, as well as the Family History Centers operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, can provide you with access to U. S. census records and other genealogical resources. Online resources for genealogical research include (, GenTree (, Cyndi's List (, and Family Search ( Here are the addresses of several historical societies and regional archives in the Great Lakes region that have extensive genealogical collections:

NARA Regional Archives - Great Lakes Region 
7358 South Pulaski Road 
Chicago, IL 60629 
Ohio Historical Society 
1982 Velma Avenue 
Columbus, OH 43211 
NARA Regional Archives - Central Plains Region
2312 East Bannister Road 
Kansas City, MO 64131 
Clarke Historical Library 
250 Preston St. 
Central Michigan University 
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 
Bentley Historical Library 
University of Michigan
1150 Beal Ave. 
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Illinois State Archives 
Norton Building
Capitol Complex 
Springfield, IL 62756 
(217) 782-4682
State Archives of Michigan 
702 W. Kalamazoo Street 
Lansing, MI  48909 
(517) 373-1414,1607,7-160-17445_19273_19313---,00.html
Indiana State Archives 
6440 E. 30th St. 
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 591-5222

2.5 I'm looking for my grandfather's military records. Can you provide me with copies?

The Ford Presidential Library has no military personnel records. 20th century military records are kept at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

Earlier military records are housed at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

2.6 I am looking for a copy of the Presidential Pardon I received from the Presidential Clemency Board. Can the Library provide me with a copy? 

Maybe. The Ford Library has some of the pardons issued by the Presidential Clemency Board in the White House Central Files, Judical--Legal Matters. However, our collection is not comprehensive, and is comprised only of those pardons that were kept in the White House Files. For privacy reasons these pardons are uniformly closed. If you would like to initiate a search for a copy of your pardon, you can submit a request to the Ford Library staff.

2.7  I am looking for a copy of a speech/news conference/public address that President Ford gave while in office. How can I get a copy?

The Ford Library certainly has copies of President Ford's public remarks and speeches while in office. In addition to the President's Reading Copies of Speeches and Statements, we also have drafts of  speeches as they were being prepared housed in various collections. We have also made some of the key Presidential speeches available on our website. You can also find all of President Ford's Public Papers online at The American Presidency Project sponsored by the University of California-Santa Barbara.

2.8 Where can I get a copy of the pardon issued for President Nixon?

The text of President Ford's Proclamation, 4311 from the September 8, 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon is available on our website. [view]

2.9 Where can I view samples of the White House China from the Ford administration? 

Mrs. Ford did not choose a new china pattern for social events and state dinners held at the White House during the Ford administration. This was due to the fact there was little time for transition between the Ford and Nixon administration. Also, Mrs. Ford once commented that she felt there was enough nice china from previous president’s administrations, and this is what she often used at state dinners. She especially liked the china from the Johnson administration.

2.10 When was the Library and Museum opened to the public?

The Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor was dedicated on April 27, 1981.

The Ford Museum in Grand Rapids was dedicated on September 18, 1981. [view President Ford's remarks at the dedication of the Museum]

2.11 Where can I learn more about other Presidential Libraries?

More information about Presidential Libraries can be found on the National Archives website at The website also has a Frequently Asked Questions page at

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Last Updated October 3, 2005