U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
1941-1942 (1974-1976)

Collection Finding Aid


This collection consists of Gerald R. Ford’s special agent application case file, which includes his application and medical examination, field investigation reports, and correspondence compiled by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters officials. Also included in the file are memorandums dating to the Ford presidential period regarding the storage of FBI records on Gerald Ford, and press inquiries into the reason why Ford was not offered a special agent position.

0.1 linear feet (83 pages)

These are Federal records transferred from the FBI via the National Archives at College Park (accession number 2006-NLF-037).

Open in part. The names and identifying details of confidential sources are withheld indefinitely under the authority of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC §552 (b)(7)(d).

Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by J.P. Schmidt, June 2011


Gerald R. Ford, a recent Yale Law School graduate and partner in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, law firm Ford and Buchen, completed the FBI special agent application on June 14, 1941.

In order to determine the suitability of Gerald Ford for a special agent position, the FBI conducted a thorough background investigation into his character, loyalty, criminal history, medical condition, academic credentials, and work experience. Gerald Ford’s immediate family members were also the subject of examination. Special agents in field offices interviewed individuals familiar with the applicant and his family, including landlords, academic officials, classmates, and co-workers, to verify details specified in his application, and to investigate leads developed in the course of the investigation. A personal interview with the applicant was conducted, as was a physical examination. These field reports were then submitted to headquarters for review and action.

A personal interview by the Grand Rapids field office special agent in charge was conducted on June 26th. The medical examination was performed in July. On January 13, 1942, field offices in New Haven, CT, Butte, MT, Detroit, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Denver, CO, and Omaha, NE, were ordered to commence their investigations. Within a week all of the field reports had been completed and transmitted to headquarters. The investigation was ordered closed on January 20, 1942. The records in the case file do not indicate the reason why the application processed was terminated.

On February 12, 1942, Ford inquired into the status of his application, and was notified on the 25th that he was presently no longer under consideration for a special agent position. During this time, Ford was also considering service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, completing his application for a commission on February 23, 1942. He was commissioned an Ensign on April 13th of that year, beginning his four years of military service, which included involvement in major operations in the Pacific during World War II.

This case file also includes three memorandums dating to the Ford presidential period. Two of the memorandums describe storage and access to FBI records on Gerald Ford, including this case file and his Vice Presidential nomination investigation. The other memorandum notes that the members of the press made inquiries into the reason why Gerald Ford was not offered a special agent position. The author of the memorandum speculated that it was likely due to the physical condition of Gerald Ford’s knees.

Related Materials (June 2011)

Copies of the field reports contained in this case file were included in Gerald Ford’s Vice Presidential nomination background investigation conducted by the FBI (see Ford, Gerald R.: Redacted Version of the 1973 F.B.I. Investigatory Report on Gerald Ford, Nominee for Vice President).

On February 3, 1942, Gerald Ford completed his application for a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserves, Office of Naval Intelligence, which conducted its own background investigation of Gerald Ford (see U.S. Department of the Navy. Office of Naval Intelligence: Investigatory records on Gerald Ford, Applicant for a Commission, 1941-42 (1975).

Series Descriptions

Box 1                Special Agent Application Case File of Gerald R. Ford, Jr., 1941-42 (1974-76). (0.1 linear feet)

Container List

Box 1               Special Agent Application Case File of Gerald R. Ford, Jr.
Ford, Gerald Rudolph, Jr., Grand Rapids, Mich. 67-221008 1941 (1)
Ford, Gerald Rudolph, Jr., Grand Rapids, Mich. 67-221008 1941 (2)