Main Content

Mrs. Ford with Designer Frankie Welch

This photograph of First Lady Betty Ford with designer Frankie Welch was taken by Karl Schumacher in the West Sitting Hall on February 15, 1975. Welch was one of the first designers to design across the aisle, creating gowns and scarves for first ladies Pat Nixon, Lady Bird Johnson, and Rosalynn Carter in addition to Mrs. Ford. After earning a degree in clothing and design at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, Welch relocated with her husband to Maryland, where she taught clothes coordination classes at the local university. Welchs work is frequently described as Americana, and she often used the proceeds of her designs to give back to communities. Welch integrated her love of American culture and history in her designs, leaving a unique mark on the lexicon of American fashion.
Karl Schumacher
Date of Work
February 15, 1975
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum/NARA