Henry Ford’s book collecting began in 1913 with McGuffey Readers that he remembered from his childhood. Later in the 1920s he focused on other early textbooks, trade catalogs and books associated with the buildings he acquired for Greenfield Village. In addition, the museum staff maintained files that documented many of the museum’s industrial and household acquisitions. These and other holdings became the museum’s library.
In 1964, the Ford Motor Company donated most of its corporate archives to The Henry Ford. The Library outgrew its quarters in the museum and moved to Lovett Hall in 1974. In the late 1970s, the two departments—archives and library—merged to become the Archives & Library, and the Archives relocated to renovated facilities in Lovett Hall near the Library in 1980.
After more than ten years of planning, in 2002, the renamed Benson Ford Research Center moved to a new 66,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility located on the Josephine F. Ford Plaza at the entrance to Greenfield Village. The Benson Ford Research Center is dedicated to the memory of Benson Ford, father of Benson Ford, Jr., and Lynn Ford Alandt, major donors to the building’s construction.
The Benson Ford Research Center holdings include the historical records and photographs of Ford Motor Company and The Henry Ford, the Henry Austin Clark, Jr., Automotive History Collection, and other major holdings in automotive, industrial, social and cultural American history. Its collections form an unparalleled resource documenting the American experience.
The Benson Ford Research Center is free and open to the public. For information on gallery exhibits, travel-to-collection grants, and other programs, explore the FAQs page and the research center web pages.
For directions, see our campus map.