Television Coordinator
Office of the Press Secretary


Collins provided day-to-day production support for Presidential television appearances, assisting Ford's television advisors Robert Mead and William Carruthers. The file is largely routine, but contains a few items on 1976 campaign media evaluations and strategy.

1.0 linear feet (ca. 2,000 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession numbers 77-107, 78-8)

Open. Some items are temporarily restricted under terms of the donor's deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, or under National Archives and Records Administration general restrictions (36 CFR 1256).

Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

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[s:\bin\findaid\collins, helen - files.doc]


Helen Mary Collins was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, December 1, 1935, and subsequently attended State Teachers Colleges in Lowell and Salem. She began her career as a secretary and, in 1961, joined Columbia Broadcasting Systems in New York City. By 1963 she had advanced to CBS production secretary in Los Angeles. From 1963 to 1971 she held various production positions in California. In July 1971 she joined the White House staff as production assistant and secretary.

During the Ford administration Helen Collins served as television coordinator under Robert Mead, television advisor to the President in the Press Secretary's Office. Mead was asked to come to the White House after his CBS coverage in Russia, France and Belgium of President Nixon's June 1974 trip. He served from September 1974 to August 1976.

As television coordinator, Collins provided routine production support for presidential television appearances and handled administrative duties. Her responsibilities included managing arrangements between the agencies involved to organize each production; setting up technicians' appointments, admittance and security; handling physical preparations including providing equipment and preparing diagrams; arranging press coverage; and occasionally assisting in advising the President on aspects such as clothing. Her administrative duties covered payment of invoices, responding to tape and film requests, and compiling summaries.

The Collins files consist mainly of materials created or accumulated while coordinating presidential television coverage. They document the day - to - day routine of production. The materials consist of contacts with the media and other government offices; texts of speeches and interviews; and schedules, agendas, briefing papers and lists of personnel for specific appearances. The majority of the file covers events in 1976, especially the Republican National Convention, Ford's acceptance speech, the campaign, debates, election night, and major addresses and interviews during this period. Although the materials mainly reflect routine matters, occasional evaluations of and approaches to successful campaign strategy via the media occur. A few memoranda from Robert Mead are included. There are also some materials relating to administrative matters.

Related Materials (May 1984)
Related materials consist of other files of the press office staff and White House Central Files category PR (Public Relations) which includes information on broadcasts and telecasts.


Subject File, 1974-77.  (Boxes 1 - 3, 1.0 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, texts of speeches and interviews, schedules, briefing papers, lists of attendees, press releases and invoices, created or accumulated by Helen Collins and occasionally Robert Mead. The majority cover 1976 presidential events, including the campaign and election, plus interviews, addresses, and other press events. Other materials consist of general correspondence with the media, requests for tapes/film and payment of invoices.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Photographs, 1974-76. 
Photographs of President Gerald R. Ford showing him working in his residency study and selecting a television program.

Arranged in parallel to the textual materials.

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Box 1 - Subject File

  • Acceptance Speech - Presidential
  • Addresses, National
  • Ann Arbor Event, 9/76
  • Astronauts Telephone Calls Coverage, 7/75
  • Bicentennial Minutes, 12/10/76
  • Campaign '76 Media Communications, Inc.
  • Debate - Presidential, 9/23/76
  • Debate - Presidential, 10/22/76
  • Debate Rehearsals
  • "Eleanor and Franklin"
  • Election Night
  • Equipment and Services
  • Flip Wilson
  • Hebert (Congressman) - Testimonial Message: Presidential, 12/10/76
  • Hirohito Visit, 10/2/75
  • Interview - Cheney (Dick), 1/10/76
  • Interview - Dean (John), 10/76
  • Interview - Nessen (Ron), 1/5/77
  • Interview - President/Reasoner, 9/76
  • Interview - President/Today Show, 9/14/76
  • Interview - President/TV Guide, 9/11/76
  • Interview - President/Walters, 12/4/76
  • Interview - President/WJAR - TV, 8/31/75
  • Interviews - Live and Taped
  • Interviews - Local and Regional TV (1) - (2)
  • Opryland USA/Ernie Ford, 6/16/75

Box 2 - Subject File

  • Press Conference, 11/14/75
  • Press Conference, 10/14/76
  • Press Conference, 10/20/76
  • Press Conferences
  • Press Events, June 1975 - May 1976 (1) - (11)

Box 3 - Subject File

  • Press Events, June - July 1976 (1) - (3)
  • Republican National Convention - Film About President Ford
  • Requests for Tape/Film (1) - (4)
  • Salute to the President Dinners, 10/7/76
  • Television Appearances - Presidential, 1974 - 1977 (Summary List)
  • Television Office - General
  • Television Ratings
  • Items Transferred