Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Lee (Leola) Ellen Ford


Lee Ellen Ford was an attorney, writer, educator, and scientist. She taught biology and cytology from the 1950s to the 1970s at Anderson College, Pacific Lutheran University, Carson College, and Mississippi State College for Women, among other colleges. In 1969 she served as director of the Institute for Basic Research in Mental Retardation, New York, and from 1973 to 1975 was executive assistant to Indiana Governor Otis Bowen.  [Source: Guide to Women's History Materials in the Manuscript and Visual Collections, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana][The Indiana Historical Society papers include "correspondence with publishers nad manuscripts regarding efforts at publishing her poetry, fiction, plays, . . . [and] her efforts to publish her autobiography, 'Herstory.'"]

"Lee (Leola) Ellen Ford was born in Auburn, Indiana in 1917. She received her B.A. (1947) from Wittenberg University; an M.S. (1949) from the University of Minnesota; a Ph.D in Cytogenetics and Botany (1952) from Iowa State University and a J.D. (1972) from the University of Notre Dame. Her scientific research focused on corn cytology and monoploids and revolutionized the progress and development of the hybrid corn industry.

Ford has led a varied life, and her employment has included business work and accounting for various corporations (1934-1944); Associate Professor of Biology (1950-1951) at Gustavus Adolphus College and Anderson College (1952-1955); visiting Professor of Biology (1955-1956) at the University of Alberta; Associate Professor of Biology (1956-1962) at Pacific Lutheran University; and Professor of Biology and Cytogenetics (1962-1964) at Mississippi State College for Women. She was also a faculty member (1965-1968, 1970) at Carson College (Nevada) and Dominican College (N.Y.). In addition, Dr. Ford was the chief cytogeneticist (1964-1965) for the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation and held the position of economist (1966-1968) for the Manpower Program in Nevada. In 1969 she accepted the job of Director of Research at the Institute of Basic Research in Mental Retardation in Staten Island, N.Y.

Ford was also the Director of the Canine Genetics Consultation Service (1963-1969); founder of the Companion Collie for Adult and Jr. Blind (1955-1965); and Director of the Genetics Research Laboratory (1955-1975) where she conducted research in the illne sses in dogs and rabbits and testicular tissue in humans. After receiving her law degree and being admitted to the Indiana Bar in 1972, Dr. Ford was appointed as Executive Assistant to Otis Bowen, Governor of Indiana. She was responsible for minority rights issues particularly in regards for women and the handi capped and was a participant on numerous committees.

Finally, Dr. Ford's other accomplishments are those of owner, editor, and publisher (1972-1976) of the Dekalb Record-Herald and president of Ford Association Publishers (1972-1987). She currently resides in Butler, Indiana."

[Biographical Note, Archives of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Special Collections Department, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa]

Lee Ellen Ford

Research Resources

Lee Ellen Ford Papers
Archives of Women in Science and Engineering
Special Collections Department
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa

Lee Ellen Ford Papers
Indiana Historical Society
Indianapolis, Indiana