Edsel and Eleanor Ford: A Legacy of Love
As part of our strategic plan, Ford House established four values guided by Eleanor and Edsel Ford’s shared legacy: equity, playfulness, philanthropy, and love. It is love that inspires us every day as we not only preserve and share their legacy but also as we imagine its future and our community.
In the annals of American history, certain families stand out not just for their wealth or influence but for the depth of their commitment to love, family, community, and service. Among these luminaries are Eleanor and Edsel, whose legacy transcends mere material success to exemplify the true meaning of philanthropy and civic duty.
Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s only child, was not content to merely inherit his father’s automotive empire. Instead, he sought to make his mark on the world by championing innovation, design, and social responsibility. Alongside his wife, Eleanor Clay Ford, Edsel forged a partnership built on shared values and a mutual dedication to positively impacting society.
Central to the Fords’ ethos was their unwavering love of family. Despite their considerable wealth and status, Eleanor and Edsel remained grounded in their devotion to their children—Henry II, Benson, Josephine, and William—as well as to their extended family. Their home was more than just a symbol of affluence; it was a sanctuary where familial bonds were nurtured and cherished.
But the Fords’ love extended far beyond the walls of their mansion. They were deeply committed to their community, recognizing the importance of giving back. Eleanor and Edsel supported numerous causes through their philanthropic endeavors, from education and healthcare to the arts and preservation. Their love knew no bounds, and they took great pride in using their resources to improve the lives of others.
Moreover, Eleanor and Edsel expressed their love of community through service, believing true fulfillment came from selflessly serving others. The couple demonstrated an unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world through Edsel’s leadership within the Ford Motor Company or Eleanor’s involvement in various charitable organizations.
Their legacy lives on today through the continued work of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, which serves as a testament to their enduring values of love, family, community, and service. Visitors to the estate are not only treated to a glimpse of the Fords’ life but also to a reminder of the importance of using one’s privilege for the betterment of society.
In a world often defined by greed and self-interest, the example set by Eleanor and Edsel Ford serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Their love of family, dedication to their community, and commitment to service remind us of the profound impact we can have when we prioritize the well-being of others over our own. As we reflect on their legacy, may we be inspired to follow in their footsteps and strive to leave the world a better place than we found it.
With love of community being an important value, we invite local nonprofits to submit donation requests. Click to learn more.