Gerald Ford in Chapel Hill

President Gerald Ford spent time in Chapel Hill on a couple of occasions as a young man. He was enrolled at the UNC Law School in the summer of 1938, and then returned to campus in 1942 to attend the U.S. Navy’s Pre-Flight School training program. Ford reflected on his time here in 1979 in response to questions sent by Mary Layne Baker, a UNC graduate student who was working on a thesis about the Pre-Flight School.

When he came for the Pre-Flight training, Ford and two other officers rented a “small cottage off the Durham Rd. about 3 miles out of Chapel Hill.” The future president remembered the university as “a beautiful, quiet but potentially a well-organized campus.” In regard to the general community, Ford said of Chapel Hill that “There was a good but not too demonstrative feeling of patriotism. It was wholesome & constructive.” And finally, it appears that he kept out of trouble when in town. In response to a question about the social life in Chapel Hill, Ford wrote that it was “Not too bad considering my heavy Navy schedule.”

Life’s Luxuries

I like the detailed engravings that you find in so many 19th-century books and periodicals. The complicated machine shown here is from the Historical and Descriptive Review of the State of North Carolina, a business directory published in Charleston in 1885. The engraving appeared in an ad for James Redmond of New Bern, a “wholesale liquor dealer, and manufacturer of ginger ale, sarsaparilla, lemon soda, buffalo mead, California pear cider, &c.” Apparently this is some sort of bottling contraption. The entry for Redmond in the book describes his business as furnishing “one of the staple luxuries of life, lager beer.”

Bottler Engraving