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Richard Norton Smith, historian and author of "An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford"
49 minutes

Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, welcomed respected author and historian Richard Norton Smith to a special town hall gathering to discuss his latest book An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. Ford was born in Nebraska and raised in Michigan, surviving a tumultuous start in life while being raised by a strong, single mother. He was a star player for University of Michigan football, and went to Yale Law School while coaching their football and boxing teams. Ford served in the navy during World War II, and returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan to practice law where he decided to enter politics. He married Elizabeth Bloomer and won a congressional seat in 1948. Ford served 25 years in Congress, rising to the position of House Minority Leader, before being tapped by President Richard Nixon to become his VP. When Ford became the nation’s first “unelected” president after Nixon resigned, he acknowledged that he was taking the oath “under extraordinary circumstances.” Richard shares many insights he discovered while writing his biography of Gerald R. Ford, including how the former president believed his wife’s historical contributions would outweigh his.

The Association’s Official 2023 White House Christmas Ornament features decorations inspired by the handcrafted decorations used in the White House during the Ford administration. You can purchase an ornament at this link.

The podcast host

Stewart McLaurin, Host

President of the White House Historical Association

As President of the White House Historical Association Stewart McLaurin leads the nonpartisan, nonprofit in its mission to preserve, protect, and provide access to White House history. As a lifelong student of history, Stewart is an avid reader, author, and storyteller. Drawing on his own experiences, relationships, and knowledge he provides listeners with a front row seat to history at the White House.