Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ann Stock, January 23, 2019

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Personal background / Working with Bess Abell

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Partial Transcript: Um, this is an oral history interview with Ambassador Ann Stock--

Segment Synopsis: Stock briefly discusses her personal and professional background. Stock recalls how she came to work with Bess Abell in Vice President Walter Mondale's office. Stock then describes what it was like to work with Bess Abell.

Keywords: Adjustment; Advice; Airplane; Allies; Anxious; Appointment; Beautiful; Bess Abell; Chief of staff; Clear; Clues; Communication; Confused; Context; Courses; Deputy press secretary; Direct; Earle Clements; Events; Executive office building; First lady; Flight attendant; Friends; Gradual; Hallway; Helpful; Husband; In charge; Inauguration; Interview; Intimidating; Jimmy Carter; Lady Bird Johnson; Laughing; Lyndon Johnson; New; Office; Office manager; Organized; Outgoing; Overwhelming; Patience; President; Presidential campaign; Press office; Press secretary; Questioning; Quit; Realization; Report; Resume; Role model; Senior staff; Settled; Typing; Typist; Unfamiliar; Vice president; Walter Mondale; White House; Work together; Youngest social secretary

Subjects: Confidence; Conversation; Enemies; Father; Learning; Listening; Mail; Mother; Politicians; Press; Resignation; Speechwriting; Surprise; Training; Travel; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:08:53 - Bess Abell and Joan Mondale

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Partial Transcript: I think more importantly Joan Mondale...

Segment Synopsis: Stock discusses the working relationship between Bess Abell and First Lady Joan Mondale, especially in promoting the arts.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Advantage; Art collection; Art institutions; Arts & crafts; Aware; Bed; Bedroom; Behind the scenes; Bess Abell; Birthday; Collecting; Contemporary art; Crafts; Departments; Efficient; Enjoyed; Events; Familiar; Focus; Frank Stella; Fresh start; Fun; Funding; Gift shops; Help; Honest; House; Idea; Influence; Interesting; Jasper Johns; Jimmy Carter; Joan Mondale; Louise Nevelson; Mastermind; Mind; Minneapolis Museum of Art; Modern; Needs; New; Open; Organization; Organizer; Passion; Powerful; Problems; Relationship; Remarkable; Resolve; Reticence; Richard Diebenkorn; Robert Rauschenberg; Schedule; Showcase; Shy; Social secretary; Team; The arts; Unaware; Visiting; Walter Mondale; Willem de Kooning; Word

Subjects: Art; Artists; Cabinet; Contacts; Cooperation; Furniture; Lobbying; Meetings; Memo; Minneapolis (Minn.); Minnesota; Pattern; People; Politicians; Pottery; Power; Rockefeller family; Staff; Table; Trust; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:17:10 - Work in Vice President Walter Mondale's office / Advice from Bess Abell on being a social secretary

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Partial Transcript: Another thing I remember Bess talking to me a lot about and--and I would always go to her before we had an event...

Segment Synopsis: Stock details her work in Vice President Walter Mondale's office. Stock relays the advice that Bess Abell gave to her when she became social secretary for President Clinton.

Keywords: Action; Activity; Advance; Advice; Bess Abell; Best job; Caveat; Ceiling; Center; Co-workers; Desk; Different; Events; First lady; Friends; Guest lists; Incident; Information; Instructions; Invitation; Job; Lady Bird Johnson; Large; Lunch; Lyndon Johnson; Mantra; Map; Meet people; Nuances; Office; Phone call; President; Receptionist; Room; Storyteller; Surprises; Together; Unity; Unsure; Vice president; Visit; Walter Mondale; White House

Subjects: Christmas; Confidence; Conversation; December; Meeting; Memories; People; Politicians; Social secretaries; Staff; Successful; Tone; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:23:23 - Role in Vice President Walter Mondale's office

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Partial Transcript: Your--your title was--was what?

Segment Synopsis: Stock goes into more detail on her work with Bess Abell in Vice President Walter Mondale's office.

Keywords: 1980 presidential campaign; BBQ; Baby; Bess Abell; Comfortable; Couple; Deputy press secretary; Easter Egg Roll at the White House; Events; First trip; Fun; Help; Holiday parties; House; Ideas; Involved; Jimmy Carter; Joan Mondale; John Brademas; Natural; New events; Office manager; Press office; Press previews; Showcase; Stuck; Talking; Vice president; Walter Mondale; White House

Subjects: Bloomingdale's (Firm); Children; Cooking; Easter Bunny; Fishing; Genius; Grill; Politicians; Press; South Bend (Ind.); Surprise; Time; Travel; Washington (D.C.); Work; Young

00:27:22 - Bess Abell's personality

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Partial Transcript: You have, uh, referred to her management style and her approach to things and whatnot.

Segment Synopsis: Stock describes Bess' unique personality.

Keywords: Bess Abell; Bill Clinton; Busy; Demeanor; Dinner; Effortless; Fix; Flexible; Got along; Gravitas; Interesting; Issue; Jobs; Knowledgeable; Larger than life; Last minute; Laugh; Laughing; Lesson; Lunch; Magical; Movie; Organized; Outgoing; Plans; Political family; Rare; Resolved; Sense of humor; Shocking; Smart; Social secretary; Straightforward; Talent; Upbringing; White House; Wicked; Zest

Subjects: Clinton family; Confidence; Energy; Experience; Federal government; Johnson family; Joy; Leadership; Learning; Life; Love; Magnetism; People; Personality; Politicians; Social; Teaching; Training; Washington (D.C.); Woman

00:32:18 - Characteristics of Bess Abell

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Partial Transcript: What was her relationship with the West Wing like?

Segment Synopsis: Stock considers some of the most distinct characteristics of Bess Abell.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Advice; Bess Abell; Clever; Crafty; Dependable; Excellent; Expert; Got along; Honest; Liked; Lunch; Moral; Negotiator; Obstacles; Office; Plans; Politics; Reliable; Resolution; Role model; Smart; Social secretary; Stories; Tasks

Subjects: Charm; Good; Listening; Management; Meeting; Nature; People; Politicians; Problem solving; Staff; Visibility; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:35:32 - Influence of Bess Abell on Joan Mondale

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Partial Transcript: Did you--

Segment Synopsis: Stock provides her opinion on the influence of Bess Abell on Joan Mondale.

Keywords: Accustomed; Appreciative; Arts & Humanities; Beginning; Beneficial; Bess Abell; Book; Contrast; Different; Enjoy; Events; Focus; Help; Influence; Information; Interactions; Involved; Issues; Joan Mondale; Low key; New; Opposites attract; Outgoing; Package; Passion; President; Private; Promote; Public; Quiet; Reticent; Schedule; Shy; Situations; Skills; Talking; Teamwork; Unexpected; Unprecedented; White House

Subjects: Administration; Art; Artists; Cabinet; Change; Communities; Confidence; Contacts; Diversity; Experience; Good; People; Perspective; Politicians; Speeches; Successful; Tours; Understanding; Washington (D.C.); Women; Work; Writing

00:41:13 - Roles in the 1980 Carter presidential campaign

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Partial Transcript: Did Bess participate in the '80 campaign, for re-election?

Segment Synopsis: Stock considers her and Bess Abell's respective roles in Jimmy Carter's 1980 presidential campaign.

Keywords: 1980 presidential campaign; Bess Abell; Campaigns; Comradery; Congenial; Convivial; Dinner; Fun; Jimmy Carter; Joan Mondale; Plans; Schedule; Substantive; Talking; Today; Together; Walter Mondale

Subjects: Learning; Nature; Politicians; Time; Travel

00:42:50 - Menus for events / Work-life balance as social secretary

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Partial Transcript: How much say did Bess have in setting the, uh, menus for the dinners that were served at the vice president's residence?

Segment Synopsis: Stock explains why she believes that Bess was not interested in planning the menus for events in her position as social secretary. Stock also discusses the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance as a social secretary and mother.

Keywords: Bed; Bess Abell; Bill Clinton; Book; Complaining; Decision; Demand; Demanding; Dinner; Family; Files; First lady; Focus; Friends; Give up; Guests; Hillary Clinton; Husband; Ideas; Important; Insistent; Interesting; Job; Plans; Policy; Priorities; Projects; Realization; Sense; Smart; Teenager; Tony Bennett; Unsure; Vice president; White House

Subjects: Cancer; Children; Christmas; Death; Fall; Games; Girls; Menus; People; Politicians; Rooms; Sick; Social secretaries; Sons; Time; Washington (D.C.); Work; Work-life balance

00:47:21 - Bess Abell's legacy

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Partial Transcript: What kind of a life did Bess Abell carve--carve for herself?

Segment Synopsis: Stock articulates what Bess' legacy is for other social secretaries in the White House.

Keywords: Bess Abell; Center; Challenges; Comportment; Creative; Details; Emulate; Events; Extraordinary; Follow; Fulfilling; Fun; Good life; Happy; Husband; Optimistic; Politics; Relentless; Role model; Satisfying; Unafraid

Subjects: Business; Career; Children; Confidence; Example; Experience; Independence; Life; Love; Memory; People; Politicians; Social secretaries; Successful; Training; Washington (D.C.)