Director of Correspondence
First Lady's Staff


Material compiled by O'Neill and her predecessors as the First Lady's director of correspondence. Routine in nature, the file includes carbons of the outgoing letters to the general public and a subject file of items compiled to assist the correspondence staff in answering mail.

3.6 linear feet (ca. 8,600 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession numbers 77-49, 77-51, 77-52, 83-30)

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Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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.

Prepared by Leesa Tobin, September 1986
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Elizabeth M. O'Neill

1942 - Date of birth

1964 - Graduated from University of Alabama (BS)

1964-66 - Secretary to the Press Secretary, Office of Senator John J. Sparkman

1966-70 - Executive secretary to the Assistant to the President and Director of Government Relations, Ethyl Corporation, Washington, D.C.

1970-72 - Confidential assistant, Office of the Postmaster

1972-74 - Staff assistant to the President, Office of Communications

1974-76 - Staff assistant to the President, Office of the Press Secretary

Feb. 1976-Jan. 1977 - Director of Correspondence, First Lady's Staff

Jan.-June 1977 - Director of Correspondence, Ford Transition Office


The Elizabeth O'Neill files consist of press releases, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, carbons of outgoing public correspondence, and occasional memoranda compiled by O'Neill and her predecessors, Marba Perrott, Thomas McCoy, and Mrs. Ford's personal assistant, Nancy Howe.

The East Wing correspondence unit handled the First Lady's mail, answering most routine letters themselves and drafting letters for Mrs. Ford to sign in other cases. This office was headed by Gwendolyn King at the beginning of the administration. She was replaced by Marba Perrott who served from December 1974 to January 1976. Thomas McCoy was the unit's acting director until February 1976 and was succeeded by Elizabeth O'Neill. Nancy Howe, Mrs. Ford's personal assistant also assisted with public mail until she left the White House in April 1975.

The material in this file is routine in nature and does not include any of the incoming mail that elicited the White House response. These incoming letters were filed in the White House Social Files. Even the subject file only includes items which were compiled for easy access when the staff needed to respond to a question from the public.

Related Materials (September 1986)
Additional materials concerning Mrs. Ford's public mail is available in the White House Central Files Subject File category for Mrs. Ford (PP 5-1) and in scattered files of Sheila Weidenfeld, Mrs. Ford's press secretary.

The largest file of Mrs. Ford's mail is the White House Social File which is currently unprocessed and unavailable for research.


Subject File, 1974-77.  (Boxes 1-6, 2.4 linear feet)
Material compiled by the correspondence unit staff to assist with drafting responses to letters from the general public on a variety of issues. Included are newspaper clippings, press releases, government publications, speech texts, and carbons of outgoing letters on such topics as health, International Women's Year, abortion, and the White House. Carbons of her outgoing letters are all filed in this series rather than the chronological file. She does not appear to have kept a separate chronological file.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Chronological File, 1974-76. (Boxes 7-9, 1.2 linear feet)
Carbons of outgoing letters drafted by Nancy Howe (Mrs. Ford's personal assistant), Marba Perrott (O'Neill's predecessor), and Thomas McCoy (acting director of correspondence). Carbons of O'Neill's outgoing letters are filed in the subject file. Incoming correspondence is filed in the White House Social Files and is currently unprocessed and not available for research.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Subject File

  • Abortion
  • Affiliations
  • Animals
  • Athletics
  • Auction Items, Requests for
  • Bicentennial
  • Biographical (1)-(2)
  • B'nai B'rith
  • Busing School Children
  • Campaign
  • Children (1)-(2)
  • Christmas
  • Citizens' Band Radio
  • Clothing, Requests for
  • Colorado
  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) - "60 Minutes" Interview

Box 2 - Subject File

  • Congratulatory Messages
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Defense, Department of
  • Employment
  • Endorsements, Decline of
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equal Rights Amendment
  • Fashion
  • Federal Budget
  • Food
  • Foreign Relations
  • Form Letters (1)-(4)

Box 3 - Subject File

  • General
  • Gifts
  • Handicapped
  • Health (1)-(7)

Box 4 - Subject File

  • Inquiries (1)-(2)
  • International Women's Year
  • Issues (1)-(2)
  • Labor
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legislation
  • Literacy (1)-(2)
  • Meeting Requests
  • Minority Groups
  • Music and Arts

Box 5 - Subject File

  • New Hampshire
  • Nixon
  • Offers/Solicitations
  • Personal Problems, Citizens (1)-(2)
  • Photographs, Autographs, and Memorabilia - Requests for
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Recipes and Menus, Requests for
  • Religious Matters
  • Schedules
  • Senior Citizens
  • Souvenirs and Mementos, Requests for
  • Suggestions
  • Taxes
  • Telephone Memoranda, White House
  • Texas

Box 6 - Subject File

  • Thank You Notes, Miscellaneous (1)-(9)
  • Travel
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Vietnam
  • White House Furnishings
  • White House Fellows
  • Women's Advocacy (1)-(2)
  • Youth

Box 7 - Chronological File

  • Nancy Howe
  • Thomas McCoy

Box 8 - Chronological File

  • Marba Perrott, 9/74-9/75

Box 9 - Chronological File

  • Marba Perrott, 10/75-1/76