Staffers & Political History: Key Links in the Chain

graham office

Staffers at work in Senator Graham’s DC office

SCPC typically enjoys long close relationships with our donors and often with their families and/or senior staff.  In some offices, staff come and go.  In others, senior staff stay with their bosses for years.  Fritz Hollings and Lindsey Graham are members whose staff have often had remarkable tenures. 

We often tout the Graham office as our example of a perfect donor.  We have a strong working relationship with his Washington and South Carolina offices.  His collection receives regular additions.  The additions are materials we want and which add substance to the collection.  The office carefully labels every carton alerting us to the contents.  And, the labels are accurate.  This is not the case with many congressional donors.  It has been the norm for the Graham office since we first received material in 2002 as he prepared to leave the House for the Senate. 

Fritz Hollings has had staffers who worked for him for twenty-five, thirty years and longer.  For our Hollings Oral History Project, a number of these terrifically bright individuals provided unique insights into Hollings and his career.  Through these interviews and other contacts, we’ve forged relationships with many of his most ardent supporters. 

Cartoon depicting New Hampshire voters’ unfamiliarity with Hollings during his run for the presidency
(Kate Salley Palmer)

Jackie McGinnis headed Hollings’ presidential campaign (1983-1984) in the early voting state of New Hampshire.  Hollings was among of a large field of attractive Democratic candidates and became a media favorite.  His strong platform called for a freeze to instill sanity into the federal budget and reporters were particularly drawn to his forceful and eminently quotable speaking style.  Unfortunately, early voters didn’t buy in to Hollings’ candidacy and he withdrew from the race early in 1984.

The Hollings Collection documents well his race for the presidency and Jackie has donated invaluable material.  She remains a devoted Hollings fan and a great friend to SCPC.  Recently, she sent us a dramatic portrait painted in 1982 by noted courtroom sketch artist Freda L. Reiter (1919-1986), and we are excited to add this portrait to our collection.

Following are Jackie’s comments on the portrait:

Freda Reiter

Freda Reiter signature

In 1983/84 I had the privilege of running Senator Hollings’ presidential campaign office in New Hampshire.  The Reiter portrait was displayed in that office.  I recently found the portrait among some treasured items I had put away for safekeeping. I had forgotten that I even had it – but as soon as I found it again, I knew that it belonged in the Hollings Special Collections Library at USC.

During the campaign, I learned a great deal.  I also had a lot of fun.  I admire the Senator so much and very much enjoyed my time with him and Peatsy.  There were many memorable moments.  From the visits of the “Hollings Home Team” from South Carolina to do some canvassing to the dramatic recitations provided by the Senator in the car as we traveled from one campaign stop to another.  Some were so funny that I could hardly see the road because of the tears of laughter coming from my eyes listening to that great voice reading from a favored book.  It still makes me smile when I think about it today.

We have continued to keep in touch over the years and that has meant a great deal to me.  The Senator is a very special person who models all the best qualities that make an exceptional U.S. Senator or President of the United States.  I am very proud of the fact that I once worked for Senator Hollings and had the opportunity to get to know him a little on the personal level as well.  He will always have my deepest respect, my friendship and my love.

The pastel portrait

hollings pastel portrait

By Herb Hartsook

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