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Mrs. Ford is a seamstress who owns the Ford's Dress Shop, and employs Addy Walker's mother Ruth as a seamstress.

Personality and Traits[]

Mrs. Ford is a white woman who wears spectacles. She is illustrated with dark hair.

Mrs. Ford is stern and fussy, but fair and pays her workers well. She has no issue hiring black women to work for her--she is an abolitionist--but cannot abide laziness, poor work, and a lack of trustworthiness. She hires Ruth Walker and offers her and Addy her upstairs garret to live in.

Most of her clientele are from Society Hill. She initially states that Addy must go upstairs when she is there after school, as her shop is not a place to play and she does not want children underfoot. However, as she warms up to her (in part because Addy delivers packages for her well) she allows Addy to stay in the shop with Ruth and her while they work, as long as she keeps busy by helping out and learning to sew.

She praises good work and considers Momma the best seamstress she has ever had.

In The Books[]

Addy Learns a Lesson[]

Mabel Moore brings Ruth to Mrs. Ford shop when she learns she is a seamstress. When Mable says that Ruth will be a fine seamstress for her, Mrs. Ford lets Mabel know that she'll be the judge of that (given that the last girl married and left very soon after starting). She has a business to run and can't take too many chances on poor employees. She hires Ruth at a dollar a week[1] on a trial basis, informing her she expects good work and runs a business, not a charity ward.

One day, Mrs. Ford gives Ruth packages to deliver while she is out, and Addy finds Momma crying and saying she should quit, as she can't read the addresses to make deliveries. Addy asks Sarah to help her deliver the packages as she can read much better than Addy at the time. Shortly after they deliver all the packages, Mrs. Ford returns and fusses to find the children there. When she learns that Addy is the one delivering the packages, she lets her keep the tips she earns as she is doing honest work.

Addy's Surprise[]

Mrs. Ford has three deliveries for Addy when she returns home from school. Once Addy is done and returns, Mrs. Ford remarks that she looks frozen stiff. As Addy starts to head up to the garret, Mrs. Ford asks Ruth how things are upstairs, and Ruth says they get by, not wanting to complain about the conditions.

Addy is about to head up to the garret once she's done with her deliveries (and has donated all her funds to the freedmen's fund) when Mrs. Ford days she can stay in the shop. She gives Addy an apron and needle book and tells her she can practice hem work. From then on, she allows Addy to stay in the shop while she and Ruth work.

When Mrs. Howell accuses Momma of doing a poor job on her daughter's Christmas dress, Mrs. Ford criticizes Mrs. Howell of ignoring her daughter's weight gain. Mrs. Ford gives Mrs. Howell a refund for the dress's commission only because she is dissatisfied and then says some people have no idea what Christmas is about.

She gifts Addy the tartan dress on Christmas Eve, for being a big help during the Christmas season; she has sewn it smaller to fit Addy and cuts off the excess length at the bottom, which Addy hems into a scarf for Ruth (along with hemming the dress). She also gifts the family a kerosene lamp, leaving it in the garret with a note while Ruth and Addy are at church.

Changes for Addy[]

Addy Studies Freedom[]

Mrs. Ford and Momma are busy adding black ruffles to mourning clothing following President Lincoln's assassination.

Shadows on Society Hill[]

Mrs. Ford informs Ruth that she is moving to Maine to live with her sister and thus closing the dress shop. This is right after Poppa is employed by Mr. Radisson, but leaves Ruth unemployed.

A New Beginning: My Journey with Addy[]

Addy: An American Girl Story[]

Mrs. Ford is played by a multi-character actress who also plays Miss Caroline and Master Stevens' wife, Missus. Not much is changed from the book series; however, since the Walkers don't move away from the garret to the boarding house (so as to minimize stage sets), Mrs. Ford participates actively in Addy's birthday celebration.

In the Seattle production she was played by Marianne Owen.


  1. Approximately $17 in 2021.