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In this interview with Sue after her June 2015 taping at the Spokane ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, she talks more about her personal experiences working in the Kennedy White House.

JFK Staffer Shares Administration Stories

Hear more from the Spokane guest who brought her fascinating collection of mementos from her years serving as a press aide to President John F. Kennedy, and see a slideshow of draft speeches and other documents she kept from her time in the White House.

In 1958 Sue Mortensen was a bright young lady fresh out of college when she landed a job working for Sen. John F. Kennedy’s nascent presidential campaign. This experience catapulted her a few short years later into the Kennedy White House, serving as a staff assistant under the president’s press secretary, Pierre Salinger. She worked closely and intensely with Kennedy during his brief time in office, helping with the drafting and revision of numerous speeches — a process that in that pre-laptop era still produced mountains of paper. And she was part of the president’s entourage on the fateful campaign trip to Dallas in late November 1963.

On her time serving JFK: “Quite honestly, much of the time it feels totally unbelievable. … I did that? I was there? … That's what it feels like. It's very hard to believe it really happened.”

Sue brought a personal archive of her mementos from the time she spent serving the president to the Spokane ROADSHOW in June 2015, sharing it and her fascinating story with appraiser Martin Gammon, who appraised the collection for between $60,000 and $80,000.

This slideshow gives an up-close view of some of Sue’s most interesting keepsakes from her time in the West Wing, including a photograph with the president in a ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Oriskany; a copy of the presidential schedule for November 22, 1963; and a number of typescript works-in-progress that offer vivid and intriguing glimpses of JFK's thinking during the intense and continual process of drafting presidential speeches — as well as of his awful handwriting.

In the accompanying video Sue also tells us more about her personal recollections of JFK, and her own poignant experience of one of the most shocking tragedies in American political history.


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Author Luke Crafton
Luke Crafton is ANTIQUES ROADSHOW's senior digital producer.