By on January 31, 2020

Henry Ford playing fiddle with his old-time dance orchestra on his 70th birthday in 1933. (From the collections of The Henry Ford)

Henry Ford was unquestionably a great man, but he was not a very good man. As an entrepreneur and industrialist, he may have changed the world — for the better, I personally think — but as a human being he had serious failings. According to Richard Bak’s Henry and Edsel, the elder Ford would humiliate his son, Edsel, in public because Henry, a farm boy, worried that his only child would become the soft son of a rich man. That practice continued into Edsel’s adulthood.

Clara (Mrs. Ford) had to make her peace with Henry’s long-term relationship with Evangeline Cote Dahlinger, whom the industrialist met when he was 50 and she was 23 — his associate C. Harold Wills’ secretary at the Highland Park plant. Her son John Dahlinger asserted that he was the son of Henry Ford, whom he strongly resembled.

Ford’s public life was no less unsavory. His bigotries are well known. In his mind he divided the Jewish community between “good Jews” — those he personally knew, like architect Albert Kahn — and “bad Jews,” the boogeymen “bankers” of his fevered imaginations. Less well-known is the fact that many of the most hateful things attributed to Ford were not his own words. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • BobinPgh: But people probably go into the building and wonder: Where are all the old clothes?
  • BobinPgh: When GM went through bankruptcy I thought it would be a good idea to retire the GM name and logo and call...
  • bullnuke: In 1969 (the year Uncle Sam forced me to seek out the US Navy to escape that Crazy Asian War ™),...
  • ttacgreg: Interesting math there. Assuming said Silverado is getting 20 mpg, that means that 18 cents will take my...
  • ttacgreg: More like a narrative to mislead and anger people. A whole lot of politics is just a battle of narratives.

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