Before he was President: Gerald Ford
Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 Busboy, male model
Gerald Ford spent some time as a male model. Ford and his girlfriend
were in a Look magazine spread in 1939, and in 1942 he was the cover
boy of Cosmopolitan.
Gerald Ford held part-time jobs in high school and college. In high
school he worked part-time in order to help pay family expenses
during the Great Depression. During college, he worked part-time
jobs in order to pay the various educational and living expenses
that were not covered by the football scholarship he had won from
the University of Michigan.
James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981
peanut farmer, sailor, nuclear submarine commander
Jimmy worked so hard for his money as a child that getting a rare
bonus was memorable. He recalled one year that the circus had just
left a neighboring small town and he, along with other children,
examined every square inch of grass in the area the circus had been
performed on. His painstaking work paid off. He found 2 nickels and
Living in primitive conditions was the norm until a stroke of luck
brought electricity to the Carter home in 1938 during America’s
Rural Electrification Program. Not only was the Carter family
fortunate enough to have one light bulb in their home, but their
$10.00 electricity bill was one of the highest in the area after
they were fortunate enough to install a electricity guzzling
refrigerator and stove!
An interesting note about this was that because of the Carter’s
“enormous” use of electricity, Jimmy’s father was elected to
represent the area at the Sumter Electric Membership Corporation.
This position introduced Jimmy’s father, and the family, to
politics, thus giving Jimmy an early education on politics.
Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989
Actor, Radio Announcer
One of Reagan's first jobs was that of lifeguard at Lowell Park
where he would arrive every morning at dawn, fetched 100 pound
blocks of ice, stock the snack bar and, for the next 10 hours, watch
swimmers negotiate the currents of the Rock River. During his six
summers as lifeguard, he pulled 77 people from the water. He always
went up and cut a notch in the log after he pulled someone out of
the water. At the end of his service as a lifeguard there were 77
notches in the log. American Experience: Ronald Reagan
Reagan was a sports broadcaster at the University of Iowa, where he
was paid $10 per game. He became a radio announcer before working as
an announcer for the Chicago Cubs. He received his contract with
Warner Brothers in 1937.
Reagan was struggling with his acting career when General Electric
signed him to host a weekly television series, "GE Theater," at an
annual salary of $125,000. Every Sunday evening, Ronald Reagan
visited Americans in their living rooms. American Experience: