USHC Architects, Landscape Architects and Planners


James Ford (1885–1944)

Henry V. Hubbard


Born in Clinton, Mass. James Ford received an A. B. degree from Harvard in 1905 and an M. A. the next year. He took graduate courses at the College Libre des Sciences Sociales in France in 1906-07 and at the University of Berlin in 1907. He received his Ph. D. from Harvard in 1909. In 1909 Dr. Ford joined the Harvard University faculty as an instructor in social ethics. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1913 and to associate professor in 1921. Dr. Ford was manager of the Homes Registration and Information Division of the United states Housing Corporation in 1918-19, associate director of the President's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership in 1930-33 and had served as a member of the executive committee on hygiene of housing of the American Public Health Association. He also was executive director of Better Homes in America, an educational organization, when former President Herbert Hoover was its president. A leading authority on slum clearance, he published a two-volume work "Slums and Housing With Special Reference to New York City History, Conditions, Policy," which he wrote in collaboration with George N. Thompson and Miss Katherine Morrow to sum up their findings in a study of general housing problems and slum clearance. In 1936 Miss Morrow became Dr. Ford's second wife. The New York study, made under the auspices of the tenement house committee of the Phelps Stokes Fund, was aided by the committee on research in the social sciences at Harvard. The investigators wrote that beneath slums lay stupidity and a cruel apathy, and that no solution of the national slum problem could be expected "until the primacy of public interests over private interests in property is recognized."

Sample Publications

Social problems and social policy; principles underlying treatment and prevention poverty, defectiveness, and criminality. 1923
Slums, large-scale housing and decentralization; reports of the committees on blighted areas and slums President’s Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership (1931 :Washington, D.C.)
Slums and housing, with special reference to New York City: history, conditions, policy, 1936
The abolition of poverty. 1937
Design of modern interiors. 1942


Obituary, The New York Times (New York: May 13, 1944) pg. 19.