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USPS Unveils Betty Ford Stamp

March 6, 2024

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WASHINGTON — On March 6, the U.S. Postal Service revealed the artwork of a commemorative Forever stamp celebrating the life and legacy of former First Lady Betty Ford.

The stamp design was unveiled at the White House by First Lady Jill Biden, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Susan Ford Bales, daughter of former President Gerald R. Ford and former First Lady Betty Ford.

The dedication ceremony for the Forever stamp will be held April 5 — three days before the 106th anniversary of her birth. The event will take place at the Annenberg Health Sciences Building located at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, CA.

“Betty Ford changed the role of first lady,” said Postmaster General DeJoy. “She used the role not just as a platform to represent the nation and advance and support her husband, she used it to speak openly and honestly about issues she cared about, and about personal issues she faced.”

Elizabeth Anne Bloomer Ford (1918–2011), wife of the 38th president, was first lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977. After the Watergate scandal forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon on Aug. 9, 1974, and an earlier scandal pushed out Vice President Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford became the first U.S. president who had never been elected president or vice president. In her new role as first lady, Betty Ford, impressed the American public in interviews by showing humor and frankness about controversial issues facing the country.

“Mom would be humbled and grateful beyond words for the extraordinary tribute of her commemorative stamp,” said daughter Susan Ford Bales, who attended the White House event. “To Mom, the stamp would be a heartwarming reminder of joys of millions of breast cancer and substance use disorder survivors who have overcome their diseases and individually added to her legacy of candor and courage.”

While the Fords never intended to inhabit the White House, Betty Ford embraced the role, becoming the most politically outspoken first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt and helping mold the position’s modern role.

Throughout her husband’s political career, Mrs. Ford openly fought for women’s rights, often conflicting with the Republican Party’s stances. She campaigned tirelessly for the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have mandated constitutional equality for all Americans, regardless of gender.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Mrs. Ford underwent a mastectomy on Sept. 28, 1974. While medical issues of previous first ladies weren’t always disclosed, Mrs. Ford chose to share the story of her treatment for the once-taboo medical condition.

In 1964, Mrs. Ford had begun taking prescription pain pills for a pinched nerve in her neck, developing a substance use disorder over time. In 1978, after an intervention, she entered the Naval Regional Medical Hospital in Long Beach, CA, for treatment. As with her breast cancer, she publicly acknowledged her substance use disorder, changing its perception and putting a face to the disease.

In 1982, Mrs. Ford and former ambassador and close family friend Leonard Firestone established the Betty Ford Center for substance dependency. She agreed to lend her name to the center, hoping to destigmatize substance use disorder treatment at a time when it wasn’t spoken about openly — especially by women — and options for treatment were scarce. Her work helped change the way treatment options and those seeking it are viewed by American society.

The Forever stamp honoring Betty Ford is being issued in panes of 20. News of the stamp will be shared with the hashtag #BettyFordStamp.

Dedication Ceremony Information

What:
The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the life and legacy of former First Lady Betty Ford with the issuance of a Forever stamp.
When:
April 5, 2024, 11 a.m. PDT
Where:
Eisenhower Health
Annenberg Health Sciences Building
Helene Galen Auditorium
39000 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
RSVP:
Dedication ceremony attendees are encouraged to register at: usps.com/bettyfordstamp
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