from Henry Ford’s Sociological Department

by Apr 7, 2022Foglifter Features, Volume Six

01) A REMIXED YEARBOOK FOR FORD EMPLOYEES FROM THE EARLY 1990S. THE COLLAGE READS: “TYPICAL CASE OF POVERTY, RELIEVED BY THE HIRING OF THE UNEMPLOYED MAN BY THE COMPANY. I HEARD REPORT. HIS COUNTRY HAS CALLED HIM. MANX, CANADIAN, AMERICAN, PORTO RICAN. TYPICAL CASE OF POVERTY, RELIEVED BY THE HIRING OF THE UNEMPLOYED MAN BY THE COMPANY. ALBANIAN, ARMENIAN, SWISS, NEW ZEALANDER. TYPICAL CASE OF POVERTY, RELIEVED BY THE HIRING OF THE UNEMPLOYED MAN BY THE COMPANY. DANISH, ITALIAN, LIVONIAN, SYRIAN. TYPICAL CASE OF POVERTY, RELIEVED BY THE HIRING OF THE UNEMPLOYED MAN BY THE COMPANY. AMERICAN-INDIAN, ARGENTINEAN—8. YOU DO SPEAK, FILL IN THE BLANK—MEXICAN, MOROCCAN. REVIEW ENGLISH IS NEEDED. TYPICAL CASE OF POVERTY, RELIEVED BY THE HIRING OF THE UNEMPLOYED MAN BY THE COMPANY. N—O, JEW, GERMAN, CHINESE. 10. YOU DO SPEAK SOMETHING USEFUL. REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 60 DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES WORKING IN THE FORD FACTORY. PAGE 56.”

02) AN IMAGE OF A DIRTIED, EARLY 1900S KITCHEN. A STOVE WITH POTS AND PANS HANGING. A WOODEN CHAIR. IMAGE IS DARK AS IF TAKEN AT NIGHTTIME. TEXT TYPED OVER THE IMAGE READS: “BEFORE HE WAS MAKING $5 AND BEFORE THAT,” “(SILVER INTO SUN),” “FREEZING OUR HOME MEAL (MAKING IT UGLY),” “THIS TIME NEEDING A FLASH CUBE,” “NOT KICKING THE CAMERA TRIPOD,” “INSTEAD BOWING INSTEAD A POSTCARD,” “MAKING WORK ETHIC AN AESTHETIC ACT.”

03) AN IMAGE OF A FORD EMPLOYEE’S FRONT YARD, WITH LUMBER SPILLING EVERYWHERE AND AN UNFINISHED LAWN UNDERNEATH A SUPERIMPOSED BASIC, LINE DRAWING OF A HOUSE, MADE BY HENRY FORD AS A CHILD.

04) AN IMAGE OF A PRISTINE, EARLY 1900S KITCHEN. TEXT WRITTEN OVER THE IMAGE READS: “THINGS I BORROWED,” “THE 3X3 GRID UPON WHICH OUR HOME IS DOCUMENTED,” “THE WINDOW I WISH THEY’D WATCH THROUGH I DO WATCH THROUGH,” “NO NO NO NO NO NO,” “THEY CAME AT DAYLIGHT SO NO FLASH WAS NEEDED”

05) A COLLAGE REMIX OF A CHILDREN’S BOOK ADVERTISEMENT FROM THE 1910S. AN IMAGE OF A YOUNG EDSEL FORD, H. FORD’S SON, IS SUPERIMPOSED OVER THE CARTOON BOY’S BODY. THE CARTOON BOY IS WALKING ON A STREET WITH TREES AND IDEALISTIC, SUBURBAN BUILDINGS.  A BLUE SKY IS BEHIND. TEXT COLLAGED OVER THE ADVERTISEMENT READS: “HOW A LITTLE BOY CAME TRUE,” “ONCE WROTE A FRIEND, SAYING, “I HAVEN’T TIME TO WRITE YOU A SHORT LETTER.” NEXT TO EDSEL FORD’S HEAD, TEXT READS: “—RIGHTEST—MOST.” BELOW MORE TEXT READS: “HE KNEW, UNDERSTANDABLE LANGUAGE, CAN FORCE HIS VICTIM TO—.“ “A PROFIT MAKER, THE ABILITY TO DISCRIMINATE.” “SOMETIMES ‘MAKES GOOD,’ IS NOT EASY TO FOLLOW—BUT SALESMAN SOMETIMES GET TO BE AS DEEP AS GRAVES.”  

06) A HOUSE OF A HENRY FORD EMPLOYEE IN THE EARLY 1900S. THERE ARE CHILDREN IN FRAME, BUT ALL OF THEIR FACES ARE COVERED BY TEXT. THE TEXT ON THE PAGE READS:  “MUST DO, MUST DO, MUST DO, MUST DO, MUST DO, MUST DO,” “A SHARE OF THE PROFITS IS GIVEN TO EVERY EMPLOYEE WHO IS MARRIED, LIVING WITH AND TAKING GOOD CARE OF HIS FAMILY; TO EVERY SINGLE MAN, MORE THAN 22 YEARS OF AGE, WHO HAS PROVED TO BE THRIFTY AND OF GOOD HABITS,” “1. I FINISH UP MY SUPPORT AT 6 P.M. 2. I GET UP FROM THE TABLE. 3. I LOOK OUT DOORS. 4. IT IS RAINING 5. I GO INTO THE CLOAK ROOM. 6. I GET MY OVERCOAT, RUBBERS AND UMBRELLA. 7. I CLEAN MY OVERCOAT WITH A HAND BROOM. 8. I PUT THE RUBBERS ON MY FEET. 9. I PUT MY OVERCOAT ON. 10. I BUTTON MY OVERCOAT TIGHTLY ABOUT MY NECK. 11. I BRUSH MY HAT. 12. I PUT ON MY GLOVES. 13. I TAKE MY UMBRELLA. 14. I OPEN THE DOOR. 15. I SAY ‘GOODNIGHT’ TO MY FAMILY.”

07) A COLLAGE OF HENRY FORD’S EARLY 1900S WORK OFFICE. A PHOTO OF HIM IS BELOW, AND TEXT STRETCHES OVER HIM AND ACROSS THE PAGE. TEXT READS: “IN SHORT — THIS IS A STIFF OR MAN OR AN OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, ONLY ASSET, OOOO TO BUST A TRUST, DE-DE-DEVELOPMENT THE WORLD OVER OUGHT TO BE GLORY ENOUGH, THE STORY—THE CAPITAL, CAPITAL, CAPITAL, INDIVIDUAL. CONTINUED AS THE WORLD COUNTS WEALTH—ABILITY. TO BUILD MMMMM NOTH, MMM NORTH, MM NOTH, NO MAN ACQUAINTED. BUT CAPITAL IS ALWAYS LOOKING.”

08) A COLLAGE OF THE AMERICAN FLAG, A MAP OF THE CONTINENTAL USA, AND A CUTOUT OF UNCLE SAM WITH NO FACE. TEXT OVER THE IMAGES READS: “14. I AM LYING — THE TRUE AMERICAN IS ALERT AND ENTERPRISING. YOU WILL NOT SQUANDER THIS. KNOWS, KNOWS, KNOWS. DOST THOU LOVE LIFE? BASIC ENGLISH. YOU WILL NOT SQUANDER THIS. 10. YOU DO SPEAK — THE SQUARE DEAL. ARE YOU A TRUE AMERICAN? HE, NOT SQUANDER THIS. YOU WILL NOT SQUANDER THIS. YOU WILL NOT SQUANDER THIS. YOU WILL NOT SQUANDER THIS. 8. YOU SANK—TO OWN, TO OWN, TO OWN, KNOWS, TO OWN KNOWS, TO OWN ONE PRICE, TO OWN KNOWS ONE PRICE.”

09) A COLLAGE FEATURING CUTOUTS OF HENRY FORD ENGLISH SCHOOL CLASSROOMS, AN UNCLE SAM FIGURE, A MAN OPERATING A MOVIE CAMERA, AND A FAMILY IN THEIR HOME FEATURING A MOTHER AND CHILDREN. IN THE CENTER OF THE COLLAGE, PEOPLE TURN RIBBON AROUND A MAYDAY POLE. ALL FIGURES HAVE THEIR FACES CUT OUT. TEXT ACROSS THE PAGE READS: “HOW TO TAKE OUT YOUR FIRST PAPERS. WIND YOURSELVES AROUND IT, AND BECOME TRUE AMERICANS AND NOTHING BUT AMERICANS. BECOME, AMERICANS, TRUE, MERICANS, COME, AMERICANS, BE, MER, NS, S. WELL, MY FRIENDS, SHE’S LEFT FOR A HAPPY LAND FAR, FAR AWAY. AND BECOME NOTHING. ADVISOR SUGGESTING CONDITIONS BLANK.”

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