Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the papers consist of correspondence, legal and business papers and account books. The correspondence is separated into general and family, both in chronological order (by year only). The general correspondence (1842-1891) consists of in-coming letters, and drafts and letter books of out-going letters. The correspondence reflects Ford's activities as a lawyer and businessman, his real estate and railroad investments, his presidency of the New London, Willimantic & Palmer Railroad, his work as deputy U. S. Marshall, as collector of internal revenue and as commissioner of deeds. Some correspondence concerns his autograph collecting. His civic and social life is reflected to a lesser degree, correspondents include Alexander Bliss, Gordon Burnham, William C. Ford (who acted as his office manager), William C. Fowler, Henry J. Gardner, G & C Merriam (publishers), Charles Nordhoff and Whitelaw Reid. Some family correspondence is scattered throughout the general correspondence. The family correspondence (1830-1891) includes early letter by Ford to his parents after his arrival in New York City, included also is correspondence of Ford with his wife Emily Ellsworth Ford, his brothers and sisters especially Marcia Ford, and his children, and various members of the Burnham family. The legal papers (1837-1893) include case records, a letter book, law diaries and law ledgers. The case records concern real estate in Brooklyn (Ford vs. Sampson) and the bankruptcy of Ellis Bartlett, a New York merchant who assigned his assets to Ford for the purpose of settling with his creditors. The letter book (1851-1852) contains correspondence of Ford & March and Ford & Bliss. The law diaries and ledgers contain notes of work performed, letters received/sent, court appointments, bank balances, and some business and household expenses, and records of actions taken in cases litigated in various courts. The business papers (1839-1891) include insurance papers, accounts, bills & receipts, promissory notes, indentures, pocket-size account books, and other papers in chronological order. The account books (1844-1892) include ledgers reflecting Ford's complex legal and business transactions and accounts with various persons including family members. There are also papers (1869-1871) relative to Ford's collectorship of internal revenue consisting mainly of correspondence with the commissioner of internal revenue at Wash., D. C.; and papers (1863-1869) relative to the Brooklyn Daily Union including correspondence of Ford and Simeon Baldwin Chittenden with the Associated Press and others, articles of agreement and other papers. There are also a few miscellaneous papers including membership certificates, invitations, calling cards and printed ephemera. Ford's certificates of appointment as commissioner of deeds (including one certificate signed by Brigham Young) have been filed in the charter case.