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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fred Black - Man of many hats.

Fred Black was one of the most able executives in Henry Ford's office in the 1918-1940 period. Ford hired him in 1919 to oversee his Dearborn Independent newspaper that he had just bought. The two met when Black found Henry Ford a printing press for the newspaper.

Not only was he responsible for such things as building Ford's radio station, WWI and overseeing the Ford exhibits in the 1933, 1934 World's Fairs, but he did much more unusual tasks. One of the most prominent jobs was being assigned by Henry Ford to track down the supposed mummy of John Wilkes Booth, on another occasion Black was sent by Ford to see about damning the Mississippi River in St. Louis for a possible Ford plant. Why Ford decided to send an advertising man to do this only shows the wide range of projects in which Fred Black was involved with.

His personal life was pretty quiet & normal. He was one of the first licensed pilots in Michigan, and was friends with the first female pilot in the state of Michigan- Evangeline Dahlinger who also was a Ford employee & confidant.

He lived in a Ford built home in the now "Ford Homes Historic District" later moving to a large home adjoining Ford Field in Dearborn.

I could post tons more of information and likely will in the near future as needed.

As always comments & questions welcomed.

Henry's Lieutenants- by Ford Bryan
Author's research done at Ford Archives.