Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Celebrating Mrs. Henry [Clara] Ford

Last Sunday I returned to Shore Pointe Assisted Living Facility for their monthly 2:00 o'clock tea and program, which is always held in the second floor Activity Room.  

It is said, "Behind every good man is a good woman," and that certainly was true of Clara Ford - the subject of this month's program.

Clara Jane Bryant Ford
  [Callie to Henry]
April 11, 1866 - September 29, 1950

[Internet Photo]

Over 100 biographies have been written about Henry Ford, but only two [that I'm aware of] about Clara.  She chose to live in Henry's shadow.  A favorite expression Henry used for her was 'The Believer' because she always believed in his endeavors and supported them.

The residents have enjoyed previous programs about famous women such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Julia Child, but they especially responded to hearing about Clara Ford. Perhaps because she was a local lady, and one of our own.  Clara went from being a farm girl to an international figure with grace and dignity, and never forgot where she came from.

Henry and Clara owned the second largest collection of original McGuffy readers.  They had a fondness for them because they were both educated by them, and in adulthood they liked the fundamental values the readers conveyed.  They were used as the standard reader [primer through year six] in Greenfield Village schools.

I have a copy of McGuffey's third reader,  and I shared lesson XVII with the ladies.

What the Minutes Say

We are but minutes - little things!
Each one furnished with sixty wings,
With which we fly on our unseen track,
And not a minute ever comes back.

We are but minutes; use us well,
For how we are used we must one day tell.
Who uses minutes, has hours to use;
Who loses minutes, whole years must lose.

In 2005 I was privileged to work with a tea room owner to coordinate a garden tea honoring Clara and Henry.  Clara's passion was gardening, so a garden setting was very fitting. She had a rose garden at their Fair Lane estate with 10,000 rose bushes.

Her favorite color was blue, and since she was fond of drinking tea, today's cup of tea is in honor of her!

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Today I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and
Antiques and Teacups for Tuesday Cuppa Tea


  1. Love the poem! I'm sure everyone enjoyed the tea and program, too.

  2. Hi Phyllis,
    I don't know very much about Henry or Clara Ford other than the cars. This is such an interesting post about Clara. She sounded like a lovely and refined lady. It is nice to hear that she never forgot her roots. That is so important when one becomes wealthy and famous. Keeps one grounded. Your blue teapot and teacup are gorgeous! Love the patterns. It's always a pleasure to have you join me for my virtual tea party. Have a beautiful day, my friend.

    Autumn blessings,

  3. What an informative post! I think the McGuffey Reader is something we have grown up hearing about, but probably not the next generation. I LOVE your teapot and teacup! Lovely blue! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  4. How interesting! Your pretty blue tea set is a lovely tribute to Clara Ford.


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