Edith Banker Ford was born in Ovid, New York, on July 24, 1875, the eldest child of John DeMott Banker and Elizabeth Losey Banker. The John Banker farm was located about one mile east of Ovid. Edith W. Banker spent her childhood in Ovid, graduating near the top of her class at Ovid High School in June of 1892. This photo was made around that time.
In addition to farming, Edith’s father was a professional auctioneer and prominent citizen in Ovid and Seneca County politics in the 1880s and early 1900s. He encouraged his eldest daughter’s ambition to become a school teacher. Edith entered the State Normal School at Oneonta, New York, in the fall of 1892. She did well in her studies toward her desired career. She also fell in love with her future husband, an Oneonta native named Walter Burton Ford.
Their romance was a long one. During the eight years between falling in love and getting married, Edith Banker graduated from Oneonta, attended Radcliffe College, and became a schoolteacher in New Britain, Connecticut. Her sweetheart, Walter Ford, graduated from Oneonta, attended Amherst College, graduated with honors from Harvard University in the class of 1897, and pursued a career in teaching mathematics–with numerous disappointments.
Finally, in the fall of 1900, the now Dr. Ford received an appointment as instructor in mathematics at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This meant that the long-awaited marriage to Edith was finally possible. They were married on October 25, 1900, at the Banker farm in Ovid. The newlyweds left for Ann Arbor immediately after the wedding, and Ann Arbor remained their home for the next 40 years. Every summer they returned to Ovid to visit Edith’s family. In 1908 Walter made his first purchase of property near Elm Beach on the shore of Cayuga Lake.
In 1939 the couple retired. The next year they moved from Ann Arbor back to Ovid, to the home which they had built on their property during the years just prior to returning. Here they lived during their years of retirement.
The Edith B. Ford Memorial Library is a gift to the people of Ovid, made by Walter following the 1959 death of his wife, as a lasting memorial to her and for the benefit and use of all the citizens of Ovid.