Presidential Libraries

Betty Ford in the Catalog

Betty Ford, Celebrate Her Story

Born Elizabeth Anne Bloomer on April 8, 1918, Betty Ford was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From an early age, Betty cultivated a lifelong passion for dance. 

Betty Ford unexpectedly found herself in the White House when her husband became President following Richard Nixon's resignation. Betty Ford was First Lady from 1974 to 1977. As First Lady, she was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights, encouraged the appointment of more women to senior government posts, supported the U.N. International Women’s Year in 1975, and advocated for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

When Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer just months after becoming First Lady, she broke with social conventions by speaking openly her diagnosis and treatment. She lifted the culture of silence around breast cancer, and raised public awareness of screening and treatment options.

There are over 3,000 digital records related to Betty Ford in the National Archives Catalog. We’ve curated these to help you explore different topics about her life. Click on a topic that interests you to begin. 

View more photos at the Ford Library & Museum website.

Betty Bloomer: Youth

Breast Cancer Awareness