Oral History

All Oral Histories

Jack Valenti

Longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America (1966-2004), Valenti served as special assistant to President Johnson from 1963 to 1966. He was traveling with the presidential party in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Recorded February 24, 2004.

Mr. Valenti passed away on April 26, 2007.

Edmond Van Brandt, Jr.

Van Brandt is the son of the late Edmond Van Brandt, a carpenter at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. Brandt, Sr., built a custom lectern that was used by President Kennedy during his visit on Thursday, November 21, 1963. Brandt was interviewed with two of his siblings. Recorded April 11, 2015.

Dr. Ann van Kleek

Currently a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, van Kleeck was a sixth grade Kennedy supporter living in Upstate New York in 1963. Later, while attending college, she was active in the peace movement. Recorded February 19, 2015.

Ambassador William vanden Heuvel

A distinguished lawyer and former representative to the United Nations, vanden Heuvel was Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s assistant in the Justice Department during the Kennedy administration. Recorded November 21 and 22, 2003.

Ambassador vanden Heuvel passed away on June 15, 2021.

Judge Tom Vandergriff

County Judge in Tarrant County from 1991 to 2007, Vandergriff was mayor of Arlington, Texas (1951-77), and later a U.S. congressman (1983-85). He attended the Fort Worth breakfast for President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Prior to the assassination, Marguerite Oswald was briefly employed in his home. Recorded June 3, 1992.

Judge Vandergriff passed away on December 30, 2010.

Jonathan Vankin

An award-winning author and journalist, Vankin is author of Conspiracies, Cover-Ups, and Crimes (1991) and co-author of the long-running Greatest Conspiracies book series (1995-2010). Recorded August 29, 2019.

John Vargo

A longtime Washington, D.C., attorney, Vargo served as counsel for the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct from 1996 to 2005.  His interest in politics began during the 1960 presidential election, and he subsequently became a collector and researcher specializing in Roosevelt and Kennedy campaign materials. Recorded July 15, 2015.

Dr. Michael Varner

A composer and musician, Varner is Director of Percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington. One of his works, “Stars in the Heart,” inspired by the Kennedy assassination, premiered at The Sixth Floor Museum in 2019. Recorded November 12 and 21, 2019.

Dennis Varwig

Varwig was a seven-year-old in Monroe, Michigan, in 1963. He recalls being home sick from school on the day of the assassination. Recorded June 28, 2019.

Thomas Vasquez

A lifelong resident of San Antonio, Vasquez experienced racism and prejudice throughout his early life. In part because his late father suffered a massive stroke on the night of November 22, 1963, Vasquez believes that the assassination had a significant impact on his life and ultimately led to his service in the U.S. Marine Corps. Recorded April 28, 2021.

Kathleen Vaughan

Vaughan was along the fence line at Dallas Love Field on November 22, 1963, where President and Mrs. Kennedy briefly interacted with her fifteen-month-old daughter in a moment captured in several news photographs. Vaughan was interviewed with her daughter, Peggy Vaughan Sorrentino. Recorded May 10, 2018.

Harold Vaughan

A campaign secretary for the Boston area during John F. Kennedy’s senatorial campaign in the 1950s, Vaughan had personal contact with JFK and arranged several of his appearances and public events, particularly in local African-American communities. He maintained political ties to the Kennedy family and later worked with Ted Kennedy on his early senatorial campaigns. Recorded July 25, 2007.

Mr. Vaughan passed away on April 22, 2016.

Stephen Vaughan

Vaughn is the grandson of the late Dallas County deputy sheriff Willard Vaughn. As a jailer, Vaughn spent time with Jack Ruby during his incarceration at the Dallas County Jail from 1963 to late 1966. Recorded March 7, 2012.

Dr. Rebecca Vaughn

Vaughn is the daughter of the late Rufus Youngblood, a U.S. Secret Service agent from 1951 to 1971. As the agent-in-charge of Vice President Johnson’s detail on November 22, 1963, Youngblood shielded Johnson with his body during the assassination. He later wrote the book, Twenty Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents (1973), chronicling his experiences with Presidents Truman to Nixon. Recorded October 23, 2017.

Royce Vavrek

A native of Alberta, Canada, Vavrek is the librettist of the opera JFK, which had its world premiere at the Fort Worth Opera in 2016. Vavrek was interviewed alongside JFK composer David T. Little. Recorded March 24 and April 15, 2016, and September 30, 2020.

Gene Veal

A railroad switching tower operator from 1952 to 1989, Veal provided extensive information about the structure and operation of the switching tower in the parking lot of the former Texas School Book Depository building. He also knew and worked with tower operator Lee Bowers, an assassination eyewitness who died in 1966. Recorded July 12 and August 30, 2001, and April 16, 2003.

Mr. Veal passed away on October 25, 2011.

Harlin Veasey

A state trooper assigned to motor vehicle inspection, Veasey drove the national press pool car in the Kennedy motorcade. Following the assassination, he was assigned guard duty for Gov. Connally at Parkland Memorial Hospital and was at the hospital when Lee Harvey Oswald arrived following his shooting. Recorded December 1, 2010.

Frank Velasco

A member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Velasco saw President and Mrs. Kennedy at the organization’s annual conference at the Rice Hotel in Houston on November 21, 1963. Recorded May 16, 2013.

Robert & Brian Venner

The widower and son of the late Kennedy supporter Jo Ann Venner, the Venners discussed the color home movie she captured of Senator John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election, which was donated to the Museum in 2007. On November 22, 1963, son Brian was with his mother at Dallas Love Field and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Recorded October 6, 2009.

Mr. Robert Venner passed away on January 18, 2013.

Gov. Jesse Ventura

A onetime professional wrestler, media personality, and former governor of Minnesota (1999-2003), Ventura was a political assassinations researcher and co-author, with Dick Russell, of American Conspiracies (2010). Twelve years old at the time of the assassination, Ventura went on to serve in the Vietnam War. Recorded June 30, 2010.

Ross Vick, Jr.

A Dallas CPA, Vick and his two young children observed the Kennedy motorcade on Main Street. Recorded November 17, 2016.

Aron Vigushin

A building engineer and member of the Young Communist League, Vigushin was living in the Soviet city of Minsk when Lee Harvey Oswald defected to Russia.  Vigushin was acquainted with both Oswald and his future wife, Marina Prusakova, and he practiced at the same firing range as Oswald between 1960 and 1961. Recorded November 6, 2009.

Gladys Villarreal

Villarreal was the daughter of the late Edmond Van Brandt, a carpenter at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. Brandt built a custom lectern that was used by President Kennedy during his visit on Thursday, November 21, 1963. Villarreal was interviewed with two of her siblings. Recorded April 11, 2015.

Ms. Villarreal passed away on April 10, 2020.

Dennis Vincent

An actor and co-founder of the Dallas Children’s Theater, Vincent visited Havana twice in 2000 and provided impressions of modern-day Cuba under the control of Fidel Castro. Recorded September 27, 2000.

Phil Vinson

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter in 1963, Vinson helped cover the activities at Dallas police headquarters on November 22, 1963, and later observed Oswald’s funeral. His late father, Doyle D. Vinson, was news editor for WBAP-TV in Fort Worth and also covered the events of that weekend. Ironically, in 1947, Vinson attended second grade with Lee Harvey Oswald at Lily B. Clayton Elementary in Fort Worth. Recorded March 4, 2005.

Milton Viorst

A White House correspondent for the New York Post in the early 1960s, Viorst attended press conferences and had contact with President Kennedy. Later he interviewed Marguerite Oswald and Warren Commission chief counsel Lee Rankin. Recorded March 5, 2003.

Greg Vogelsang

Vogelsang celebrated his twelfth birthday the day before the assassination. A longtime researcher and enthusiast, he compiled a massive assassination scrapbook between 1975 and 1984. Recorded September 27, 2019.

Jay Vogelson

An attorney with the U.S. Justice Department from 1963 to 1966, Vogelson worked closely with Attorney General Robert Kennedy. During the summer of 1964, he was assigned to review evidence for the Warren Commission investigation. Recorded April 3 and October 11, 2013.

Mary Vogelson

A Dallas native, Vogelson worked as an economist in the Labor Department during the Kennedy presidency. Her husband, Justice Department lawyer Jay Vogelson, was assigned to work with the Warren Commission in 1964. Upon her return to Dallas in 1968, Mary Vogelson became a prominent activist for civil rights, fair housing rights, and women’s rights. Recorded March 5, 2008.

Rondine Volpert

Born in California in 1961, Volpert is the granddaughter of the late Ann Rubenstein Volpert, one of Jack Ruby’s siblings. Rondine Volpert did not learn of her great uncle’s connection to the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald until the early 1970s.  Recorded March 9, 2016.