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A Guide to the Theodore Leo Ford Letters

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2004


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ford, Theodore Leo
Title: Theodore Leo Ford Letters
Dates: 1927-1929
Abstract: Letters, dated 1927 to 1929, primarily written between Theodore Leo Ford and Ruth Carpenter of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The majority of the letters are written by Ford while residing in Bradenton, Florida, and Oak Hill, New York.
Extent: 0.75 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: Ms 157
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Theodore Leo Ford was born in 1902. He attended the University of Nebraska, George Washington University, and the University of Florida, from which he earned his law degree. He worked as a lawyer in Bradenton, Florida, along with his father, Judge N. Dwight Ford. He and Ruth Carpenter (1908-) were married in 1928. Ford died in 1967.


Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of approximately 240 letters, dated 1927 to 1929, primarily written between Ford and Ruth Carpenter of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The majority of the letters are written by Ford while residing in Bradenton, Florida, and Oak Hill, New York. At the start of the correspondence, Ford is living and working in the Catskills with his aunt and uncle, Bertie and Ernest E. Ford, who own a general merchandise store in Oak Hill.

The letters from Bradenton cover Ford's initial foray into the practice of law, at a time when the economy is depressed, there is a great need for attorneys, but little in the way compensation. He discusses his father's partnership with attorney J.J. Stewart in Bradenton, as well as his father's desire to be appointed to the federal judgeship. He provides only cursory descriptions of the cases in which he is involved, including the February 1928 defense of black man for attempted murder. In addition, he discusses the political situation in Florida and describes many trips to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, and Gainesville, as well several trips to Sarasota for court cases and to see the Ringling Circus. He also describes the visits of his aunt and uncle to Bradenton from January to March, 1928.

The letters from Oak Hill describe Ford's work at his uncle's store, as well as trips throughout New York and Massachusetts, especially to visit Carpenter. The large majority of this correspondence is of a personal nature, involving the courtship, engagement, and marriage of Ford and Carpenter during this period. Most of the letters discuss the family members and friends of the two correspondents. Ford also discusses the death of his grandfather, Omar Mackey.

In addition to the Ford-Carpenter letters, there are a handful of letters written to and from other correspondents, including Aunt Bertie, Millie Mackey Ford (his mother), Ted Moore, and Dr. Brenizer of Broken Bow, Nebraska.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Theodore Leo Ford Letters, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased in 2003.


Contents List

Box
1 From Oak Hill, New York, and various locations while traveling to Florida. August-October, 1927
1 From Bradenton, Florida, to Stockbridge. October 27-December 15, 1927
1 From Bradenton, Florida, to Stockbridge. December 17, 1927-February 7, 1928
1 From Bradenton, Florida, to Stockbridge, and various locations while traveling to New York (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). February 9-April 27, 1928
1 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). May 7-May 30, 1928
1 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). June 2-June 21, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). June 25-July 12, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). July 13-August 14, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). August 15-August 27, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). August 28-September 19, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). September 24-October 6, 1928
2 From Oak Hill, New York, to Stockbridge (Also letters from Carpenter to Ford). May 20-September 6, 1929

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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