Bess Abell, Social Secretary in Johnson White House, Dies at 87

In Luci’s case, the bride had picked out a gown designed by Priscilla of Boston, a nonunion store, which drew the wrath of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, staunch supporters of the president. Ms. Abell mentioned the scenario with Priscilla, who had an identical gown made by a close-by union store. She despatched each to Ms. Abell, who then minimize the union label out of the second gown and sewed it into Priscilla’s, in line with the forthcoming e book. Ms. Abell justified the ruse by noting that brides are presupposed to put on “something borrowed.”

That complete expertise, Ms. Abell typically mentioned later, left her with “no regrets” that when it got here to her personal marriage, she had eloped — an uncommon transfer for the daughter of a outstanding politician.

Elizabeth Hughes Clements was born on June 2, 1933, in Evansville, Ind., and grew up in Morganfield, Ky. She absorbed a lot about politics from traipsing round along with her father, Earle Chester Clements, who later grew to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the governor of Kentucky and a senator. From her mom, Sara (Blue) Clements, who was the postmaster in Morganfield, she discovered about social etiquette by making place playing cards when her mom’s buddies came visiting for bridge.

Bess went to boarding college in Nashville, then studied at the University of Kentucky, the place she majored in political science and graduated in 1954.

She had met Tyler Abell, a younger lawyer and the stepson of Drew Pearson, the nationally syndicated columnist, briefly at the Kentucky Derby in 1950. When they had been reintroduced 4 years later, they immediately fell in love.

At a New Year’s Eve social gathering as 1954 turned to 1955, they had been enjoying consuming video games and had been egged on by their buddies to get married, Mr. Abell mentioned in an interview. They determined to elope that evening and, with a buddy at the wheel, drove to Maryland, then Virginia, and ended up in North Carolina earlier than they discovered a spot that might marry them on the spot.

Her father, initially livid, forgave her. At the time, he was the Senate majority whip and an in depth buddy of Lyndon Johnson, the Senate majority chief. One day in March, Johnson ended Senate enterprise early in order that different senators and employees may attend a lavish social gathering that he and his spouse gave for the younger newlyweds.

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