President Ford hosted a working stag dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau on December 4, 1974.
The event outline illustrates how streamlined the evening would be. All of the guests were high-ranking U.S. and Canadian government officials. Unlike other state dinners spouses were not invited, and there was no after-dinner entertainment.
Did you know that President Ford signed legislation to ensure Veterans Day wouldn’t fall on Monday every year?
Since World War I the United States traditionally commemorated Veterans Day on November 11, which had formerly been recognized as Armistice Day. The “Monday holiday” law passed in 1968 established a uniform holiday schedule for the Federal Government but as a consequence moved the observance of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.
Although the official Federal holiday was observed on Mondays for several years many people continued to hold commemorations on November 11 as well. In September 1975 President Ford signed into law S.331 officially designating the original date as Veterans Day.
“I believe restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 will help preserve in the hearts and lives of all Americans the spirit of patriotism, the love of country and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good symbolized by this very special day,” President Ford said in his signing statement.
-from the Ford Library
Planning for a second term
Just days before the 1976 election, James E. Conner, Secretary to the Cabinet, wrote this cover letter (page one of two) to President Gerald Ford. The attached papers offered strategies for evading pitfalls traditionally experienced in the transition to a second term. Ford was not reelected, however, and the papers were never delivered—as White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney noted at the bottom.
Memorandum for President Gerald Ford from James E. Connor Regarding a Second Ford Administration, 11/02/1976
Bullet Proof Coat
This beige coat worn by President Gerald R. Ford was designed not only to keep him warm and dry but also to protect his life.
This coat came with a bullet-proof vest liner along with more standard features like the six front buttons, adjustable sleeve cuffs, and pockets accessible from the inside. The zip-up bullet-proof vest is made of Kevlar and is covered with cloth identical in color to the coat. Together both pieces weigh 6 lbs., 15 oz.
A label sewn onto the front of the vest provides cleaning instructions and gives an issue date of October 1975, the month after President Ford survived two assassination attempts during separate trips to California.
-from the Ford Library
President Gerald Ford escaped the first of two assassinations attempts within a month on September 5, 1975, when Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s gun failed to fire during the president’s trip to Sacramento.
King Hussein, President Ford, Queen Alia, and Mrs. Ford pause at the base of the Grand Staircase before proceeding to the East Room to receive their guests.
Having attended White House functions before, President Ford felt that this first state dinner “would also give Betty and me an opportunity to put our personal imprint on White House social occasions.” He observed that during the previous administration after dinner entertainment had been formal and the Nixons usually left just after the show. The Fords wanted their dinners to be “more relaxed” and included after-dinner dancing as part of the evening.
Happy 100th Birthday President Ford!
This Sunday is the 100th anniversary of Gerald R. Ford’s birth on July 14, 2013. Throughout 2013, we are celebrating President Ford’s Centennial at the Ford Presidential Library and Museum and the National Archives. Check out some of the highlights:
- Ford’s life in pictures each Friday
- President Ford and the Space Program — Apollo/Soyuz
- State Dinners with President and Mrs. Ford*
- The Gerald R. Ford Centennial
To get the party started, here’s some birthday photos from earlier festivities for Jerry:
Congressman Ford cuts the cake at the party for his 59th birthday on July 14, 1972. He was in a wheelchair following an operation for his “football” knee; President Ford opens presents at his surprise birthday party on July 14, 1975;
President and Mrs. Ford toast on the occasion of his 63rd birthday during a surprise lunch at the San Souci restaurant on July 14, 1976.
*The latest member of the National Archives family on Tumblr!
(State Dinners with President and Mrs. Ford from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum)
The Beginning of National Black History Month - 1976
What first began as Negro History Week in February 1926 expanded into a month-long celebration in 1976. President Gerald R. Ford issued this message recognizing National Black History Month on February 10, 1976.
-from the Ford Library
President Gerald R. Ford Walking away from the Lincoln Sculpture after Laying a Wreath at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony, 02/12/1975
The cornerstone of the Lincoln Memorial was laid on February 12, 1914, Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. A little more than eight years later it was completed and dedicated on May 30, 1922 with Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln attending the ceremony.
Superbowl Sunday Presidential Trivia
Did you know that Gerald R. Ford received offers from two professional football teams, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers?
He chose instead to take a position as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there.
In his youth, Jerry earned “All-City” and “All-State” honors at South High School in Grand Rapids before joining the team at the University of Michigan as a center.
Ford won the Meyer Morton Trophy, awarded to the outstanding freshman player in spring practice, in his first year as a Wolverine. He made the varsity squad the next year and in 1934 he got the starting position.
Although he had high hopes for his senior year since the team won the national championship in both 1932 and 1933, injuries hit the offense and the defense struggled. “We lost seven of our eight ball games,” Ford later reflected on his final season at Michigan. “But what really hurt was that my teammates, after the end of the season, voted me the most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue.”
(ARC Identifier 186975)
-from the Ford Library
A Year-Long Celebration of 2013 Presidential Centennials
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the births of two Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon (January 9, 1913–April 22, 1994) and Gerald Ford (July 14, 1913–December 26, 2006).
Throughout the year, the National Archives will feature programming in celebration of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. Learn more about the 2013 Presidential Centennials here.
September 21, 1949 - Mao Zedong announces that The Communist Party of China will lead the new Chinese government.
Twenty-six years later, Mao Zedong would shake hands with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during President Ford’s visit to China. This photo was taken on a visit to Chairman Mao’s residence in Peking by the Gerald R. Ford, daughter Susan Ford, and Kissinger. December 2, 1975.
"They should be allowed the opportunity to earn return to their country, their communities, and their families, upon their agreement to a period of alternate service in the national interest, together with an acknowledgement of their allegiance to the country and its Constitution."
Presidential Proclamation 4313 of September 16, 1974, by President Gerald R. Ford announcing a program for the return of Vietnam era draft evaders and deserters, 09/16/1974
(Not the first controversial pardon issued by President Ford.)