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Bess Abell Oral History Project

Project Summary

This is a series of interviews with friends, family, and colleagues of Elizabeth Hughes "Bess" Clements Abell (1933-2020). Abell volunteered on the 1960 Kennedy-Johnson presidential campaign and became personal secretary to Lady Bird Johnson. She served as the White House social secretary under the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administration until 1969. She reportedly “planned, organized and staged the entertaining and feeding of nearly 80,000 presidential guests” in her first three years on the job. She also organized the 1966 wedding reception for the Johnson's younger daughter, Luci, and the 1967 wedding for their eldest daughter, Lynda, and future Virginia governor Charles S. Robb. Abell later served as executive assistant to Joan Mondale, wife of Vice President Walter Mondale, during the Carter Administration, and established Bess Abell Enterprises, a Washington public relations firm.

Bess Abell was the daughter of former Kentucky Governor and United States Senator Earle C. Clements and Sara Blue Clements. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky in 1954, and in 1955, she married attorney Tyler Abell who worked on the Kennedy-Johnson campaign, becoming Chief of Protocol in 1968. They have two sons; Dan and Lyndon. The Abell's came to be a Washington power couple. Among their many accomplishments together was the development of Merry-Go-Round Farm in Potomac, Md.

Project Code

ba

Project Keyword

Merry-Go-Round Farm   Dan Abell   Lyndon Abell


Interviews in this Project (21 Total):

Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0546_ba0001
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
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Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0547_ba0002
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0548_ba0003
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0549_ba0004
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0550_ba0005
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0551_ba0006
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0552_ba0007
Interviewer: Brien Williiams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0553_ba0008
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0554_ba0009
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0555_ba0010
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0556_ba0011
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0557_ba0012
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0558_ba0013
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0559_ba0014
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0560_ba0015
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0561_ba0016
Interviewer: Donald A. Ritchie
Restrictions: No Restrictions
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Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0562_ba0017
Interviewer:
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0563_ba0018
Interviewer: Donald A. Ritchie
Restrictions: No Restrictions
Access:
Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0564_ba0019
Interviewer: Brien Williams
Restrictions: No Restrictions
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Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0565_ba0020
Interviewer:
Restrictions: No Restrictions
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Interview Accession Number: 2020oh0566_ba0021
Interviewer:
Restrictions: No Restrictions
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