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Evelyn Lincoln saved everything

Luggage March 18, 1998
Web posted at: 1:40 p.m. EST (1840 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- John Kennedy's private secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, was a pack rat. She saved everything tied to Kennedy, including memos, doodles, photographs and letters.

She saved some things the Kennedy family said really belong to them: Kennedy's briefcase; the watch he was wearing when he died; the possessions he kept in the Oval Office.

But Robert White, who inherited much of Lincoln's stash when she died, contended she primarily kept things no one else wanted.

CNN's Tony Clark explains why the items were preserved
icon VXtreme streaming video (1:30)

"John Kennedy takes his wallet out of his pocket and goes, 'I'm not going to carry this ugly thing anymore. Here, Mrs. Lincoln, change wallets and get me a new one,'" White said.

"There's his wallet sitting there. It's her decision whether to save it or throw it away. She made the right decision. I have it in my collection."

Robert White
White   

The same is true, White said, of a 1960 will Kennedy's wife Jackie wrote. Lincoln was supposed to tear it up. Instead, she kept it.

"We're preservationists. We're not destroying history. We're preserving history," White explained.

But with about 600 items tied to Kennedy going to the highest bidder, critics say history is being sold, not saved.

 
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