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.
Kennedy and Johnson Archive
Former White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, who took the iconic photo of Lyndon Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One the day that President Kennedy was assassinated, visited the Orlando ROADSHOW in June 2007.
Interview with the AR Podcast
In this Antiques Roadshow Podcast, we learn more about Sue's fascinating life and her time in politics.