Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Happy 150th Birthday, Clara Ford!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 7th

clara ford formal portraitApril 11 marks Clara Bryant Ford’s 150th birthday. Born a year after the American Civil War, she was the third of 10 children and grew up in rural Michigan. Clara attended school until the age of 17. In 1885, she met future husband for the first time at a New Year’s dance. Henry and Clara married in 1888. Later in life, Henry was quoted in the New York Times Magazine as saying, “the greatest day of my life was when I married Mrs. Ford.”

Henry and Clara had one son, Edsel, in 1893. Together they built a strong family nucleus that sustained them during the tumultuous early years of the automotive business. Nicknamed the “great believer” by her husband, Henry valued Clara’s unfailing support and welcomed her advice on business matters. Her “strong leadership qualities, steadfastness and  passion” helped advance various philanthropic initiatives and social reform projects for women.

ford rose gardenClara Ford became a proponent for woman’s suffrage, providing both financial and moral support to the cause. Her ultimate passion, however, was horticulture. Clara had extensive rose gardens at the year round Ford Estate, Fair Lane, in Dearborn, Michigan, and was the Founding President of the Dearborn Garden Club. Some of her favorite roses can be viewed on the Ford property at The Mangoes, their Fort Myers estate. Clara Ford, the “great believer,” passed away on September 29, 1950 at the age of 84.

Leave a Reply