Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl Street, NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
White House Photographs; May 17, 1976. Role #A9830, slides 22A – 25A: “State Visit of French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing-State Gift; Bicentennial standing, examining an antique printing press presented as a Bicentennial gift on behalf of the people of France.”
Website: “In 1776, the most famous American of the time, Benjamin Franklin, set sail for Paris as the ambassador to France from the world’s newest nation, the United States. Two hundred years later for America’s Bicentennial, the French president, Giscard d’Estaing, presented an 18th century printing press to President Ford as a tribute to our 200th birthday. Purported to have been used by Franklin while stationed in Paris, the press was a tribute to the relationship between the two nations over the years from the services of Lafayette to Pershings’s proclamation of “Lafayette, we are here” in 1917. This press is among the oldest of any artifact in the Museum’s collections and represents a time when our fledgling nation, while the youngest, was also the most literate in all the world.”
The press moved around the United States (Information provided by James W. Draper, Museum Registrar on March 15, 2018):
1976 – Presented as a gift to President Ford in celebration of America’s Bicentennial.
1976-1977 – Displayed in the Great Hall of the Commerce Building (Washington, DC) with other Bicentennial gifts from the White House.
1977-1987 – Exhibited at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (as an artifact loan from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum).
1987 – Shipped from Philadelphia to the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Accessioned into the museum’s artifact collections and preserved in storage.
1997-2015 – Prominently displayed in the renovated core exhibits in the Ford Museum.
2015-2017 – Moved to storage for core exhibit renovations and building additions.
2017 – Placed back on display in the Bicentennial Gallery of the new core exhibits at the Ford Museum.
Website: “President Ford and French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing exchanged state gifts following the arrival ceremony on May 17, 1976. France gave an antique 18th-century printing press to the United States, which was set up to print copies of the Declaration of Independence. In return President Giscard d’Estaing received a bronze cast of a bust of the Marquis de Lafayette.”
Website: “Presidents Ford and Giscard d’Estaing view the state gift from France, an antique 18th- century printing press set up to print copies of the Declaration of Independence, May 17, 1976.”