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Elizabeth Anne Ford became the First Lady of the United States when her husband Gerald Ford was elected as President from 1974 to 1977. She was a politically active First Lady and often spoke out about her advocacies such as women’s rights. As First Lady, she was preceded by Pat Nixon and succeeded by Rosalynn Carter.
See the fact file below for more information on the Betty Ford or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Betty Ford worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Elizabeth Ford was born Elizabeth Anne Bloomer on April 8, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois.
- Her nickname was Betty as a child. That’s why she is most known as Betty Ford.
- She was born the third child and only daughter of William Stephenson Bloomer, Sr., a salesman, and Hortense Neahr Bloomer .
- Her two older brothers were Robert and William Jr.
- Betty lived briefly in Denver, Colorado with her family before they relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan where she spent much of her growing up years.
- Following the Wall Street crash that happened in 1929, Betty began working as a children’s dance teacher and model to earn money.
- Her father died when she was 16 years old.
- She graduated high school from Central High School in Grand Rapids.
- She pursued further studies in dance at the Calla Travis Dance Studio where she graduated in 1935.
- In 1936, even though she wanted to pursue studying dance in New City, she attended the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont instead, where she trained under director Martha Hill and legendary choreographer Martha Graham, who became her mentor.
- Bloomer moved to New York City after two summers of studying dance in Vermont.
- In order to finance her studies, she worked as a fashion model for the John Robert Powers agency.
- She joined Martha Graham’s dance troupe in New York.
- She ultimately performed with the company at Carnegie Hall, New York City.
- Her career was cut short as she decided to move back to Grand Rapids, initially upon her mother’s request. Eventually, she comfortably settled down and worked as a fashion assistant at a local department store and a dance teacher to handicapped children.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
- In 1942 she met and married William Warren, an insurance salesman.
- They divorced after five years of marriage.
- It was not long after her divorce when Betty met Gerald R. Ford, who was then a partner in the law firm of Butterfield, Keeney, and Amberg.
- They got engaged in February 1948.
- Gerald and Betty became engaged in February 1948.
- Gerald was then campaigning for a seat in the House of Representatives.
- Right before their wedding ceremony on October 15, 1948, Gerald even greeted voters in the morning.
- Gerald won a seat, which marked the beginning of the couple’s three-decade life together in Washington, DC.
- Betty gave birth to three sons and one daughter from 1950 to 1957.
- Betty mostly took on the responsibilities in their household and parenting as Gerald was busy with his work for the Republican parent.
- She developed arthritis in the mid-1960s and was prescribed pain medication to manage it.
- She admitted getting addicted to her pain relievers, which prompted her to seek psychiatric help.
BECOMING FIRST LADY
- Betty raised her profile when President Richard Nixon assigned the vice presidency to Gerald Ford upon the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew in October 1973.
- The following year, Gerald Ford stepped up to the presidency after President Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974 over his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
- As First Lady, Betty gained a reputation of being honest and open, which was positively received by the public especially in the wake of the Watergate affair.
- Unlike previous First Ladies, she did not conceal the fact that she developed breast cancer and had to undergo mastectomy to remove her right breast.
- Her honesty inspired women all across America to consult their own doctors to get examined, which made Betty realize the influence she had as First Lady to make a difference.
- She continued to show her candor by publicly announcing her support for Roe v. Wade, which surprised the press.
- She also showed her firm support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), to which her involvement was both criticised and praised.
- Ford also advocated for women’s rights openly and was a prominent figure in the Women’s Movement of the 1970s.
- Her feminism and political activism prompted Time to name her Woman of the Year in 1975. She was also called the country’s “Fighting First Lady.”
- After Gerald Ford lost the 1976 presidential election to Jimmy Carter, Betty’s family moved to Rancho Mirage, California.
- After her battle with drug dependence, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in 1982, an addiction treatment center in Rancho Mirage.
- In 1991 she was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush for her roles in raising awareness and treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
- She published two books about her life, “Betty: A Glad Awakening,” which was published in 1987, and “Healing and Hope: Six Women from the Betty Ford Center Share Their Powerful Journeys of Addiction and Recovery,” which was published in 2003.
- Betty Ford died on July 8, 2011 in Rancho Mirage.
Betty Ford Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Betty Ford across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Betty Ford worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Elizabeth Anne Ford who became the First Lady of the United States when her husband Gerald Ford was elected as President from 1974 to 1977. She was a politically active First Lady and often spoke out about her advocacies such as women’s rights. As First Lady, she was preceded by Pat Nixon and succeeded by Rosalynn Carter.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Betty Ford Facts
- Being Betty
- Truths About Betty
- Mapping Her Life
- President Ford
- Fighting First Lady
- Preceding or Succeeding
- Quote Reflection
- Women’s Health Slogan
- Steps to Recovery
- Lessons I Learned
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Link will appear as Betty Ford Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 9, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.