first lady ford

As a Whovian, I think it is truly a blessing that Carole Ann Ford, the very first companion, the very first woman in Doctor Who, is still alive. I also think it is the most blatantly wasted opportunity that she hasn’t been brought back to the series, even if it’s just for one episode. I want Susan back. I want Carole back.


Inaugural Gowns From Edith Roosevelt to Michelle Obama: A Fashion Analysis

I feel very scared, and very sad about the impending Trump presidency. I don’t know how to respond to it, or what I should be saying. This, and motherhood, are my only realities right now, and it is a very sad situation. Mostly sad for the state of this blog, which is becoming fucking boring and repetitive.

I thought a lot about a post I could write that would respond to tomorrow’s inauguration. In truth, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it because when the baby is not awake, I have an hour to myself before I have to go to sleep. I chose a blog post over a shower tonight, and I’m honestly not sure that’s the right decision. 

I was going to do a fashion analysis of Michelle Obama’s best looks, but Jesus, I’d need someone to pay me money to do that kind of image research. I was going to do a fashion analysis of Melania Trump next because there are far fewer pictures of her. Also, I don’t hold anything against her, she’s just a girl from Slovakia looking for a rich husband – which girl from Slovakia couldn’t say the same? I know she’s from Slovenia, what’s the difference. 

When I sat down tonight, and thought, what is the laziest possible option on the eve of an impending national nightmare, I thought, “Oh, I could do a fashion analysis of inaugural gowns.” So here they are, chronologically since Edith Roosevelt, the wife of Teddy. 

Theodore Roosevelt doesn’t look so fat here, but I think he got super fat later.

This was his second wife, she was hot.

Oh maybe it was Taft who was the fattie.

Helen Taft looks like she got attacked by birds in her inaugural gown. Either that or her husband sat on her.

Oh the latter, definitely the latter.

Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration looks like Trump’s current day cabinet picks plus the gigolo they hired to take care of Sonny Perdue at the afterparty.

The one in the military uniform, duh.

Yo, who knew Woodrow Wilson was a cradle robber? His wife Edith was very young when he married her. I can’t find a picture of her until Kennedy’s inauguration.


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Today’s #ElectionCollection challenge is #FirstLadies!

Betty Ford became First Lady in 1974, but she soon became known to many as First Mama. By 1975, her support for women’s rights, her candor about breast cancer, and her frank humor earned her a public approval rating of 75%. The former Martha Graham dancer-turned-FLOTUS was also a CB radio enthusiast who broadcast from the White House with the handle First Mama.

During the 1976 Presidential election campaign, Betty Ford made several speaking tours throughout the east and midwest. Her popularity was reflected on lapel buttons that proclaimed “Betty’s Husband For President!”

Here are four examples from the 1976 campaign cheering on First Mama from @fordlibrarymuseum.

We at @usnatarchives​ and @americanexperiencepbs want to see the cool campaign swag that you’ve collected. Share your own historic memorabilia and tag #ElectionCollection! 

@richardnixonlibrary @fdrlibrary @jfklibrary @lbjlibrary @fordlibrarymuseum

t0rtillachipss  asked:

I love presidential history but being a woman myself, I always find it interesting to study the Women of the White House as well. I am curious to know who your favorite First Ladies are and if you have any suggestions for FLOTUS biographies to read. I hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

Thank you! We’ve had some remarkable First Ladies dating back to the very beginning of our country, and I hate to overlook some deserving women like Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Eleanor Roosevelt, but my two favorite First Ladies are Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford. Both women were indispensable to the success of their husbands (although that’s a common thread in the history of First Families) and played inordinate roles in public life while living in the White House.

Like Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford recognized the power in their unique position. They had the ear of the President every night and the eyes of the nation throughout their family’s time in the White House. While most modern First Ladies find an issue that they want to shine a spotlight on, Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford revolutionized the role of the President’s spouse, becoming activists in support of the issues they believed in. Those issues were not always popular, and they didn’t always coincide with the policies of their husbands. Controversies which could easily be avoided – and which Presidential aides often pushed back against due to potential political traps – never frightened Lady Bird Johnson or Betty Ford from taking a stand on behalf of what they believed. Lady Bird didn’t worry about campaigning for her husband and LBJ’s Civil Rights legislation while facing hostile crowds in the Deep South. Betty Ford didn’t hesitate to publicly support abortion rights or the Equal Rights Amendment (despite strong opposition from leading politicians in her husband’s party), or reveal when she underwent a mastectomy and treatment for breast cancer. Later, Betty Ford publicly revealed an addiction to painkillers and alcohol, and opened the Betty Ford Center after leaving the White House.

Most Presidents note that their wives are one of their leading advisors on all issues, foreign and domestic, political and personal. Most First Ladies put energy into certain issues that they feel strongly about. Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford were warriors – activists with a Bully Pulpit every bit as strong (and often far more popular) than that of their husbands in the Oval Office. When looking back through American History, it’s noteworthy how many of our Presidents seemed to marry women so far above their station.

As requested, here are a few quick book recommendations on America’s First Ladies:

The First Ladies Factbook: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Bill Harris and revised by Laura Ross (BOOK | KINDLE)

Secret Lives of the First Ladies: What Your Teachers Never Told You About the Women of the White House by Cormac O’Brien (BOOK | KINDLE)

Upstairs at the White House: My Life With the First Ladies by J.B. West with Mary Lynn Kotz (BOOK | KINDLE)

Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President by Betty Boyd Caroli (BOOK | KINDLE)

A White House Diary by Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson by Jan Jarboe Russell (BOOK | KINDLE)

Betty Ford: Candor and Courage in the White House by John Robert Greene

The Times of My Life by Betty Ford with Chris Chase

Betty: A Glad Awakening by Betty Ford with Chris Chase 

Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford Expressing Her Support for the Equal Rights Amendment in Hollywood, Florida, 2/25/1975

From the series: Gerald R. Ford White House Photographs, 8/9/1974 - 1/20/1977

Approved by both houses of Congress by 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was on track for ratification, but an organized opposition developed in the mid-1970s and the proposal eventually expired in 1982, 3 states short of ratification.

Read more at Prologue: Failure of the Equal Rights Amendment: The Feminist Fight of the 1970s


The Girl Scouts were founded 104 years ago on March 12, 1912.

Girl Scout Troop #2019 of Portland, Connecticut, handmade this quilt for First Lady Betty Ford. Milt Mitler, coordinator of Bicentennial activities, accepted it on her behalf at the White House on July 1, 1976.

The quilt features 30 embroidered squares on a red background. Three of the blocks in the top row contain the Girl Scout trefoil with the United States Seal in the Center, the troop’s name,and a picture of Portland’s fire department, which sponsored the troop. The other squares depict historical images related to United States and the state of Connecticut. These include the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial; the state flag, state seal, and state bird of Connecticut; and prominent figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Paul Revere, and Nathan Hale. Each member of Troop #2019 embroidered her name or initials on her square.

This quilt was on exhibit when the Ford Museum first opened.

Images: Quilt made by Girl Scout Troop #2019 of Portland, Connecticut; Members of Girl Scout Troop #2019 of Portland, Connecticut, present the quilt to Milt Mitler on the North Lawn of the White House, 7/1/1976 (White House photograph B2233-014A)

Put on your most stylish holiday clothes because Tim Gunn and Genevieve Gorder are at the National Archives tonight! 

You can watch live on our YouTube channel at 7 pm ET.  Presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association.
  Image from the Ford Presidential Library. President Gerald R. Ford and First Lady Betty Ford pose in front of Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House, 12/17/1974.

The First Lady’s First Press Conference

A week after the President gave his first press conference Betty Ford held one of her own. She fielded questions in the State Dining Room for 25 minutes on September 4, 1974.

Although she had interacted informally with the press since entering the White House, Mrs. Ford took a step many former First Ladies had not by making herself available to the media in an official press conference. Around 150 reporters and photographers attended the session.

During the press conference Mrs. Ford answered questions about her family’s transition to the White House, the impact of the economy on her family’s budget, and the possibility of President Ford running in the 1976 election. She spoke openly on several topics that would come up throughout the administration, including her support of the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s engagement in civic affairs. “I think that by becoming very active in politics, which I deeply encourage, that they will play a great role in the future of our country,” she said.

Reporters asked her about her role as First Lady as well. Mrs. Ford expressed her interest in supporting the arts, particularly in education, and working with underprivileged and retarded children. She also responded to a question regarding the kind of “footprint” she wanted to make during her time in the White House: “I would like to be remembered in a very kind way; also as a constructive wife of a President. I do not expect to come anywhere near living up to those First Ladies who have gone before me. They have all done a great job, and I admire them a great deal and it is only my ambition to come close to them.”

Rosalynn Carter and Betty Ford at a rally for ERA, 11/19/1977

From the file unit: National Womens Conference, 11/19/1977 - 11/19/1977. Carter White House Photographs Collection, 01/20/1977 - 01/22/1981

First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former First Lady Betty Ford showing bipartisan support for the Equal Rights Amendment at the 1977 National Women’s Conference.


Happy 227th #ConstitutionDay!

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through programs, and resources from the National Archives:

Have you ever been to the usnatarchives to see the Constitution in person?  

Bonus question - have you ever slept over in the same room as the Constitution?


The Diplomatic Children’s Christmas Party

Betty Ford hosted a Christmas party for the children of the foreign diplomats who were living in Washington, DC, on December 14, 1976. The party was an annual event coordinated through THIS, The Hospitality and Information Service, a volunteer organization that helped Diplomatic families.

For that year’s festivities she invited the cast of Sesame Street to entertain the more than 500 young guests from 87 countries. In addition to Big Bird and his friends Susan (Loretta Long), Maria (Sonia Manzano), David (Northern J. Calloway), and Mr. Hooper (Will Lee), Santa Claus also made an appearance.

Images: Betty Ford and Children watch the Cast of Sesame Street Performing at the Diplomatic Children’s Christmas Party in the East Room, 12/14/1976 (White House photograph B2514-22A);  Betty Ford with Sesame Street Cast Members and Santa Claus at the Diplomatic Children’s Christmas Party, 12/14/1976 (White House photograph B2515-20A)