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American Experience: Henry Ford

"Henry Ford" paints a fascinating portrait of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century. Ford’s Model T automobile and his five-dollar-a-day wage ushered in the modern world, earning Ford reverence from millions of Americans. Yet many of the changes he wrought deeply troubled the carmaker. In frustration, he lashed out at enemies, real and imagined, blamed Jews for the country’s problems, bullied those who worked for him and exhibited great cruelty to his only son, often, it seemed, wishing to retreat to an idyllic fantasy of the past.

Henry Ford and Edsel Ford in Ford Model F Automobile, 1905.

Henry Ford and Edsel Ford in Ford Model F Automobile, 1905.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Henry Ford, James Couzens, Elwood Rice and Gaston Plantiff in Ford Model K Car, 1907.

Henry Ford, James Couzens, Elwood Rice and Gaston Plantiff in Ford Model K Car, 1907.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Henry Ford in his office at the Highland Park Plant, 1913.

Henry Ford in his office at the Highland Park Plant, 1913.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

 Ford Model T Chassis outside Highland Park Plant, 1914.

Ford Model T Chassis outside Highland Park Plant, 1914.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Henry Ford ca. 1915.

Henry Ford ca. 1915.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Edsel Ford and Henry Ford ca. 1915.

Edsel Ford and Henry Ford ca. 1915.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

The Ford English School graduating class as they emerged from the "Melting Pot," 1916.

The Ford English School graduating class as they emerged from the "Melting Pot," 1916.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Henry Ford and Edsel Ford with Fordson Tractor, 1921.

Henry Ford and Edsel Ford with Fordson Tractor, 1921.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

Henry Ford with Ford Model T, Buffalo, New York, 1921.

Henry Ford with Ford Model T, Buffalo, New York, 1921.

Credit: Courtesy of the collections of The Henry Ford

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