Grand Rapids friend of Gerald Ford:
Papers , 1933-38 (1982)

Collection Finding Aid


Letters from young Gerald Ford to Frederica Pantlind, a hometown friend and neighbor. Also included are Pantlind’s newspaper clippings on University of Michigan football and on Gamma Delta Tau high school sorority, invitations to social events, and date books.  The letters reveal much about Gerald Ford’s life as a college student and athlete and, to a lesser extent, his work as an assistant coach at Yale University.  Other materials concern Ms. Pantlind’s social life in Grand Rapids and visits to Ann Arbor.  Included are occasional items mentioning Ford’s future wife Betty Bloomer, a high school acquaintance of Pantlind.

0.1 linear feet (ca. 200 pages)

Cyril Johnson Jr. and Bonnie Rowsey (accession number 2004-019)


Cyril Johnson and Bonnie Rowsey donated to the United States of America their copyrights in all of their mother’s unpublished writings in National Archives collections.  President Ford, in the letter of gift for his papers has donated to the United States of America copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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.

Prepared by Samantha Ashby, January 2011
[s:\bin\findaid\pantlind, frederica - papers.doc]


Frederica Pantlind Johnson


July 15, 1917 - Born, Grand Rapids, MI

1935 - Began the Masters School at Dobbs Ferry-on-the-Hudson, NY

1937 - Attended Wildcliff Junior College in Swarthmore, PA

Married Cyril Irwin Johnson; children: Bonnie, Pam and Cyril Jr.

August 6, 2001 - Died, Winston-Salem, NC



Frederica “Freddy” Pantlind grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Her parents, Frederic J. Pantlind and Hilda W. (Hummer) Pantlind, owned the Pantlind Hotel, the leading hotel in the city (upon the completion of major renovations and an addition in 1981 it became known as the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel).  The Pantlinds lived near the Ford family in Grand Rapids and both families had vacation homes at Ottawa Beach, near Holland, Michigan.  Freddy’s brother, Boyd, attended the University of Michigan at the same time as Gerald Ford.  Pantlind also knew Betty Bloomer as they were both members of the high school sorority Gamma Delta Tau.

The Pantlind papers include several handwritten letters from her friend Gerald R. Ford that offer an extremely unique look at a relatively undocumented period of Ford’s life -  his time as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and as an assistant football and wrestling coach at Yale.  The letters cover a variety of topics including school, football, fraternity life, girls, and college friends.

The collection also contains materials related to Pantlind’s Grand Rapids social life in the 1930s, including invitations, programs, and date books from Gamma Delta Tau events.  Also included are clippings on Ford’s football exploits at the University of Michigan, her brother Boyd’s activities with the Michigan track team, Grand Rapids, the Pantlind Hotel, and Ottawa Beach.  The collection also includes a book chapter on Ottawa Beach, and a 1981 Grand Rapids Press supplement on Gerald R. Ford.

Related Materials (January 2011)
Related collections include the Grand Rapids South High School Publications and the University of Michigan Law School Student Case File of Gerald R. Ford.  The Thomas Ford Books and Papers include one letter written by Gerald R. Ford to his mother while he was in college.  Additional materials on Ford’s time as a student at the University of Michgian will be found in various collections of University records in the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library (located next door to the Ford Library).  More information on the Pantlinds can be found in the Pantlind Family Records, which is housed in the Grand Rapids History & Special Collections Archives at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Series Descriptions

Box 1            Subject File, 1933-38 (1982)  (0.1 linear feet).
This series consists of handwritten letters from Gerald R. Ford to Pantlind; University of Michigan athletics clippings; and clippings, programs, invitations, and date books related to the Gamma Delta Tau high school sorority.  Also included are Grand Rapids, Pantlind Hotel, and Ottawa Beach newspaper clippings; a book chapter on Ottawa Beach; and a 1981 Grand Rapids Press supplement on Gerald R. Ford.  A small number of photographs received as part of the collection have been transferred to the Library’s audiovisual department. Arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.

Container List

The entire collection is in digital form. Please click on the folder titles to view the documents.

Box 1               Subject File
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 9/17/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 9/30/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 10/8/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 10/23/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 11/2/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 11/12/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 12/11/1933
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 1/11/1934
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 1/25/1934
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 2/17/1934
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 10/1/1935
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 1/20/1937
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 10/21/1937
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 10/28/1937
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, ca. 11/13/1937
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 11/22/1937 (telegram)
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 11/24/1937
Ford, Gerald R. - Letter, 11/24/1937 (telegram)
Gamma Delta Tau Materials, ca. 1934-35
Newspaper: Gerald R. Ford: A Special Report, Grand Rapids Press, 9/13/1981
Newspaper Clippings: Grand Rapids, ca. 1933-38
Newspaper Clippings: Ottawa Beach, ca. 1935; 1982
Newspaper Clippings: Pantlind Hotel, ca. 1934; 1980-81
Newspaper Clippings: University of Michigan Athletics, ca. 1933-1935
Ottawa Beach Literature, date unknown
Pantlind Family Tree, date unknown
Photographs, ca. 1934