The Unfinished Preface by Carleton G. Ferris

Preface

In the forepart of this book will be found the autobiography of Woodbridge N. Ferris, "the good, gray Governor", as he was affectionately denominated by the people of Michigan. It is obviously incomplete as the manuscript ends with the recital of his election to the United States Senate in November of 1922.

Inasmuch as I served him as his secretary during part of his term in the Senate, I am reasonably certain that he prepared additional chapters dealing with his reactions to his experiences, both as Governor of Michigan and as a Senator from that State. I am even more positive in my conviction that it was his intention to include in his autobiography a comprehensive reference to the woman who worked and struggled with him during the majority of his lifetime my mother.

I know that before my father's death there existed at least half a carload of miscellaneous material, consisting of newspaper clippings, official proclamations, correspondence, lectures and other material, which would now be invaluable in the compilation of addenda to his autobiography. The probabilities are that this material was destroyed in the fire that almost totally consumed our old home several years ago.

In the circumstances, therefore, I shall do the best I can with the material at my command to supplement the incomplete autobiography with such additional narrative and addenda as I believe my father would approve, with the possible exception of such favorable estimates of his character and accomplishments as may appear under my authorship or that of others.

Certain it is that anyone who reads his autobiography cannot avoid the conviction that my father possessed one characteristic that is revealed consistently throughout his entire recital modesty. This trait of character undoubtedly explains the fact that his own compilation is essentially a bare recital of facts, unembellished with few exceptions with incidents in his life of a "human interest" character.

In attempting to enlarge upon the autobiography my only objective is to present to the reader as comprehensive a story of the life-character and philosophy of my father as is possible, fully realizing the fact that any recital of mine cannot in the circumstances be entirely free from prejudice.

During the preparation of his autobiography my father made it clear time and again that he was fully aware of the fact that the general public would not be interested in the story of his life. He said that the only reason he was undertaking the task was because of his belief that is would be of interest to the men and women who had attended the Ferris Institute his ever loyal student body.