Presidential Libraries

Betty Ford: A Champion for Breast Cancer Awareness

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Photograph of First Lady Betty Ford speaking with reporters outside the Guttman Institute for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in New York City, November 7, 1975

April 6, 2018 - April 4, 2019, at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C., the public can view rarely seen objects, documents, and photographs that highlight Betty Ford’s courage and candor when speaking publicly about her own personal battle with breast cancer. Breaking with social conventions of the time, she reassured women already suffering from similar ordeals and purposefully raised public awareness of screening and treatment options that ultimately saved the lives of countless Americans.

The display includes:

  • Letters and cards from children and adults sharing words of encouragement and their own personal battles with cancer
  • Speech cards from Betty Ford’s American Cancer Society speech with her own handwritten edits
  • Letter to Betty Ford from Gerald Ford and their children (facsimile)
  • Award Betty Ford received from the National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service honoring Betty Ford for her “outstanding courage and for furthering public understanding regarding the importance of early detection and treatment as a means of combating cancer.”
  • A selection of photographs