Gerald R. Ford Library is located on the North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a part of the Presidential Libraries System maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.
The library was started on the alma mater campus of President Gerald R. Ford, as a result of the donation of his papers and other historical materials of public life to the federal government in a letter in December 1976.
Immediately, in January 1977, a shipment of the papers to the University of Michigan warehouse was begun. Funds were raised and a site, adjacent to Bentley Historical Library, on the North Campus was selected for the library building.
With the formal dedication in April 1981, the building was presented to the University for preserving the ex-President’s archives.
The building is a low-lying, two-story, pale red brick and bronze-tinted glass structure designed by the architects of the Bentley building. A spacious two-story lobby, a grand staircase in the lobby, and an interior with natural red oak furnishings make it a marvelous library.
There is a multi-purpose auditorium, meeting rooms, a manuscripts research room, and a specially equipped audiovisual research room in the building.
The library collects and preserves archival materials on U.S. domestic issues, foreign relations, and political affairs during the Cold War era.
About 21 million pages of memos, letters, meeting notes, reports, and one-half million audiovisual items are on display. The audiovisual holdings include more than 3 million still photographs, 1,265 hours of videotapes, 8 million feet of film, and 2,100 hours of audiotape.
In addition to Ford's papers, the library holds files of more than 100 White House advisors and staff assistants, the President Ford Committee, 1976 campaign records, and papers of famous persons associated with the President, such as Federal Reserve Board chairman Arthur Burns, press secretary Ron Nessen, political pollster Robert Teeter, and energy advisor Frank Zarb. Selected federal government records also placed in the library.
The library serves as a source of information for students, scholars, mass media production staff, government officials, journalists, and others regardless of national citizenship.
Special talks and guided tours are provided for school, civic, and other groups.