Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy


(1929 - 1994)

First Lady from January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was the wife of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. She was later married to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis from 1968 until his death in 1975. In later years she had a successful career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and historic preservation, her style and elegance, and her public stoicism in the wake of President Kennedy's assassination. 

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born in Southampton, New York to Wall Street stock broker John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee. Jacqueline had a younger sister, Caroline Lee, known as Lee, born in 1933. Her parents divorced in 1940 and her mother married Standard Oilheir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr. in 1942. Through Janet's second marriage, Jacqueline gained a half sister and a half brother, Janet and James Auchincloss.



On her mother's side, Jacqueline was of half Irish descent, and on her father's side, one-sixteenth French and English. Michael Bouvier, Jacqueline's great-great-grandfather and closest French ancestor, was a contemporary of Joseph Bonaparte and Stephen Girard. He was a Philadelphia-based cabinetmaker, merchant and real estate speculator.

She spent her early years in New York City and East Hampton, New York at the Bouvier family estate, "Lasata".[citation needed] Following their parents' divorce, Jacqueline and Lee divided their time between their mother's homes in McLean, Virginia and Newport, Rhode Island and their father's homes in New York City and Long Island.

At a very early age she became an enthusiastic equestrienne, and horse-riding would remain a lifelong passion. As a child, she also enjoyed drawing, reading and lacrosse.

Bouvier pursued her secondary education at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland (1942–1944) and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut (1944–1947).When she made her society debut in 1947, Hearst columnist Igor Cassini dubbed her Debutante of the Year.

Bouvier spent her first two years of college at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and spent her junior year (1949–1950) in France at the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonnein a program through Smith College.[4] Upon returning home to the United States, she transferred to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree in French literature.

Bouvier's college graduation coincided with her sister's high school graduation, and the two spent the summer of 1951 on a trip through Europe. This trip was the subject of Kennedy's only autobiographical book, One Special Summer, which is also the only one of her publications to feature her drawings.


Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, née Bouvier, half-length portrait, facing front, holding camera
Following her graduation, Bouvier was hired as the Inquiring Photographer for The Washington Times-Herald. The position required her to pose witty questions to individuals chosen at random on the street and take their pictures to be published alongside selected quotations from their responses in the newspaper. During this time, she was engaged to a young stock broker, John Husted, for three months.



Jacqueline and then-Senator John Kennedy belonged to the same social circle and often attended the same functions. In May 1952, at a dinner party organized by mutual friends, they were formally introduced for the first time.The two began dating soon afterward, and their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.

Bouvier married Kennedy on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island in a Mass celebrated by Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing. An estimated 700 guests attended the ceremony and 1,200 attended the reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm.


John and Jackie Kennedy's wedding--close-up portrait of Kennedy family with the bride and groom
Jackie was a most supportive wife as evidenced by this letter to James MacGregor Burns, Hyannisport, Massachusetts, on November 4, 1959.   She writes with polite, yet barely restrained anger, at how Burns has depicted JFK in his forthcoming book, John F. Kennedy, A Political Profile. "I think you underestimate him," she writes, stressing that she is writing solely on her own initiative and 
"without Jack's knowledge, as he is out in California for a week...Jack is a strong and self-sufficient person. If we could just lay to rest those bromides about Dad and Brother Joe. Let me assure you that no matter how many older brothers and fathers my husband had had, he would have been what he is today, or the equivalent in another field. There would have been 'the complete development of all faculties along lines of excellence,'" 
She continues, quoting one of JFK's favorite mottos. "The desire and the drive were always there."


She thinks Burns depicts

"a blundering weakling...It seems to me you lay too much stress on my husband's health. He now has everyone who tries to keep up with him--me, Ted Sorenson, Steve Smith, dropping like flies. We can't stand his pace." As for the impact of Joseph Kennedy, Sr. on his son, "Jack and his father are as different as day and night. Each speaks for a different generation. There is or was no puppet-Svengali relationship...Your book makes Jack sound as if he wasn't his own master--and he always was."

"I see, every succeeding week I am married to him, that he has what may be the single most important quality for a leader--an imperturbable self-confidence and sureness of his powers...What other candidate has talked to Chamberlain, Baldwin, Churchill, Laski in his twenties, known De Lattre, Nehru, Ben Gurion in his thirties, been to Russia in Stalin's day, has friends and colleagues in the French and English parliaments." In the second letter she writes much less combatively: "It was so kind of you to take it as you did, and not be really irritated at my interfering, and I do appreciate the time and trouble you must have taken with your lengthy answer. I showed it to Jack and he said the same thing. Now I will find it very hard to wait patiently until the book comes out..." 
 In January 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Jacqueline began traveling all around the country in support of the campaign, and learned that she was pregnant.  Following her doctor's advice, Jackie remained home in Georgetown where she answered hundreds of campaign letters, recorded TV commercials, granted interviews, and worked hard on her weekly newspaper column, Campaign Wife, which was distributed nationally. On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy won the election receiving 34,220,984 votes to  Richard M. Nixon's 34,108,157 votes.  On November 25th, Mrs. Kennedy gave birth to their second child, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.


White House Photo: First official White House photograph of Mrs. John F. Kennedy, half-length portrait, seated on couch, facing front
Mary Edith Wilroy began her profession of Blair House Manager on March 2, 1961 only 40 days after John F. Kennedy took the Presidential oath of office.  Mrs. Wilroy recollects of the Kennedy Administration: 
It did seem that everyone was flying over to see President Kennedy.  You could almost imagine the Presidents and the Prime Ministers lined up at airports all over the world waiting to get on the next plane to Washington.  During the short administration of President Kennedy, forty-seven foreign guests came to see him. 
Wilroy then recalls the couple's first visit to the Blair House:
As I watched, a large black limousine, flags flying from both front fenders pulled up to the curb and President John F. Kennedy, and President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia emerged.  Just behind the two men came the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Mrs. Bourguiba  … I admit that I was just a little nervous.  But then, as their presidential party reached the door reached the door I realized that this was the young President’s first visit from a head of state as well as mine.  It hit me that the Kennedy’s might be just as apprehensive as I was, and that calmed me down. 
A few weeks later, Wilroy recalls a surprise visit from the First Lady writing that began with this phone call:
 "Mrs. Kennedy wanted to me to tell you that she’d like to come over to see Blair House in a little while, with a few people” the secret service said. ‘Mrs. Kennedy doesn’t want to see the whole house does she?’ I prayed.  ‘I am pretty sure she does.  We’ll see you in a few minutes.’ … We began to walk through the house, room by room, and Mrs. Kennedy immediately showed that she was very knowledgeable and very interesting in the furnishings.   … It took two hours for Mrs. Kennedy to see the whole house. ‘I envy you all these lovely pieces of furniture,’ she said as she was leaving.  ‘I’m sure we’ll soon be able to do some redecorating here and show them off in an even better setting.’ She promised.  Then she thanked all of us and was gone.  Her suggestions had been excellent and set me to thinking about rearranging several of the rooms.  And she had sparked one idea I decided to act on right away. 
December 5th, 1961, a silver Pitcher presented to White House is received by Mrs. Kennedy in the Diplomatic Reception Room. 

Jackie, at 31, was the 2nd youngest First Lady (Frances Folsom Cleveland was the youngest First Lady in history, aged 21) and is remembered for restoring the historic interior of the presidential home along with accenting White House social events with exceptional entertainment. Jackie  paid particular attention to her wardrobe worn during her tenure as First Lady set US and International fashion trends.  This, along with her command of numerous foreign languages, beauty, youth, and intellect resulted in a  international and American popularity that was unprecedented since Dolley Madison saved the treasures of the White House from British occupation. The official White House site writes of Mrs. Kennedy and her role as First Lady:
To the role of First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy brought beauty, intelligence, and cultivated taste. Her interest in the arts, publicized by press and television, inspired an attention to culture never before evident at a national level. She devoted much time and study to making the White House a museum of American history and decorative arts as well as a family residence of elegance and charm. But she defined her major role as "to take care of the President" and added that "if you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
Mrs. Kennedy's gallant courage during the tragedy of her husband's assassination won her the admiration of the world. Thereafter it seemed the public would never allow her the privacy she desired for herself and her children. "
One week after the assassination of her husband Mrs. Kennedy requested that T. H. White visit her at Hyannisport for an interview.  On November 29th, 1963 Jackie Kennedy evoked her late husband's fondness for Camelot stating:
At night, before we go to sleep, Jack liked to play some records: and the song he loved most came at the very end of this record.  The lines he loved to hear were "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot." 
There'll be great Presidents again -- and the Johnsons are wonderful, they've been wonderful to me -- but there'll never be another Camelot again. 
Once, the more I read of history the more bitter I got.  For a while I thought history was something that bitter old me wrote.  But then I realized history made Jack what he was.  You must think of him as this little boy, sick so much of the time, reading in bed, reading history, reading the Knights of the Round Table, reading Marlborough. For Jack, history was full of heroes.  And if it made him this way --- if it made him see heroes -- maybe other little boys will see.  Men are such a combination of good and bad.  Jack had this hero idea of history, the idealistic view. 
"Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot"  -- and it will never be that way again. 
For President Kennedy: An Epilogue - For One Brief Shining Moment, By Theodore H. White, Time, Inc., Distributed by United Press International, Washington Post, December 1, 1963.
Robert F. Kennedy, her brother-in-law, was assassinated in June 1968. It was after the funderal in a moment of grief that Ms. Kennedy stated to former White House Press secretary Pierre Salinger: "I hate this country, I despise America and I don't want my children to live here any more. If they're killing Kennedys, my kids are number one targets. I want to get out." 

On October 20, 1968, she married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate, who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.  The wedding took place in Greece on Skorpios, Onassis's private island in the Ionian Sea.  Congress, after the marriage, permitted the removal of her Secret Service protection and franking privilege, both of which are entitlements to a widow of a U.S. President.  The marriage brought considerable adverse publicity.  New York Magazine reports:
It was the American media that was scandalized by the marriage on behalf of the American people. “Jackie How Could You?” and “Jack Kennedy Dies Today for a Second Time” cried headlines. Magazines like Life feared their best-selling cover subject was disappearing to a kingdom by the sea. Of course all they had to do was wait fifteen minutes, until she was reinvented as that piece of newsstand heaven: “Jackie O.,” never too thin and never too rich.
Jackie visited the White House only once after 1963 after agreeing to a secret, unphotographedtrip with her children in 1971.  Jackie, still married to Onassis, took the children to  view Aaron Shikler’s portraits of her and her husband. Later Jackie wrote Nixon with thanks, saying, “A day I had always dreaded turned out to be one of the most precious ones I have spent with my children.”  

Aristotle Onassis' health began deteriorating rapidly shortly after his son's plane crash death in 1973.  Artistotle died of respiratory failure in Paris, on March 15, 1975, at the age of 65. After the death of  Onassis, in 1975, Jackie got a job as a New York editor at Viking and then Doubleday, publishing art books, histories and memoirs.  Jackie was known to most of her authors as a hands-on colleague who performed the kind of assiduous line-editing that, even in the 1990s, was growing scarce.  Her correspondence during this period was voluminous and always willing to share  kind words with former Kennedy White House staffers and officials.  In 1986, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wrote Blair House Manager, Mary Edith Wilroy on the occasion of her illness:


1040 Fifth Avenue   
December 2, 1986
Dear Mrs. Wilroy,
I was most distressed to learn of your illness and want you to know that you are in my thoughts at this time.  I know how difficult these days are for you but you must continue to have courage and spirit.
I shall never think of Blair House without thinking of you.  You were so admired and respected by all those who worked or visited there.  I am sure they remember you with the greatest affection just as I do. 
With deepest friendship,
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
In January 1994, Jackie Onassis, a three-pack-a-day smoker,  was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.  She continued to work at Doubleday but with a reduced schedule. The cancer proved to be aggressive and  in her sleep on Thursday, May 19, 1994, two and a half months before her 65th birthday, she died. John F. Kennedy, Jr., announced her death stating: "My mother died surrounded by her friends and her family and her books, and the people and the things that she loved. She did it in her own way, and on her own terms, and we all feel lucky for that."


After her death, John also  wrote to Clintons to explain why his mother accepted heir invitations to visit the White House.  He wrote: “Since she left Washington I believe she resisted ever connecting with it emotionally — or the institutional demands of being a former First Lady. It had much to do with the memories stirred and her desires to resist being cast in a lifelong role that didn’t quite fit.”

Onassis' funeral was held at the church where she was baptized in 1929 and confirmed as a teenager, Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan on May 23, 1994. At her funeral, Senator Ted Kennedy gave the following eulogy:
Last summer, when we were on the upper deck on the boat at the Vineyard, waiting for President and Mrs. Clinton to arrive, Jackie turned to me and said: "Teddy, you go down and greet the President."
"But," I said, "Maurice is already there."
And Jackie answered: "Teddy, you do it. Maurice isn't running for re-election."
She was always there--for all our family--in her special way.
She was a blessing to us and to the nation-and a lesson to the world on how to do things right, how to be a mother, how to appreciate history, how to be courageous.
No one else looked like her, spoke like her, wrote like her, or was so original in the way she did things. No one we knew ever had a better sense of self.
Eight months before she married Jack, they went together to President Eisenhower's Inaugural Ball. Jackie said later that that's where they decided they liked Inaugurations.
No one ever gave more meaning to the title of First Lady. The nation's capital city looks as it does because of her. She saved Lafayette Square and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Jackie brought the greatest artists to the white House, and brought the Arts to the center of national attention. Today, in large part because of her inspiration and vision, the arts are an abiding part of national policy.
President Kennedy took such delight in her brilliance and her spirit. At a white House dinner, he once leaned over and told the wife of the French Ambassador, "Jackie speaks fluent French. But I only understand one out of every five words she says--and that word is DeGaulle."
And then, during those four endless days in 1963, she held us together as a family and a country. In large part because of her, we could grieve and then go on, She lifted us up, and in the doubt and darkness, she gave her fellow citizens back their pride as Americans. She was then 34 years old.
Afterward, as the eternal fame she lit flickered in the autumn of Arlington Cemetery, Jackie went on to do what she most wanted--to raise Caroline and John, and warm her family's life and that of all the Kennedys.
Robert Kennedy sustained her, and she helped make it possible for Bobby to continue. She kept Jack's memory alive, as he carried Jack's mission on. Her two children turned out to be extraordinary, honest, unspoiled, and with a character equal to hers. And she did it in the most trying of circumstances. They are her two miracles.
Her love for Caroline and John was deep and unqualified. She reveled in their accomplishments, she hurt with their sorrows, and she felt sheer joy and delight in spending time with them. At the mere mention of one of their names, Jackie's eyes would shine brighter and her smile would grow bigger.
She once said that if you "bungle raising your children nothing else much matters in life." She didn't bungle. Once again, she showed how to do the most important thing of all, and do it right.
When she went to work, Jackie became a respected professional in the world of publishing. And because of her, remarkable books came to life. She searched out new authors and ideas. She was interested in everything.
Her love of history became a devotion to historic preservation. You knew, when Jackie joined the cause to save a building in Manhattan, the bulldozers might as well turn around and go home.
She had a wonderful sense of humor--a way of focusing on someone with total attention--and a little girl delight in who they were and what they were saying. It was a gift of herself that she gave to others. And in spite of all her heartache and loss, she never faltered.
I often think of what she said about Jack in December after he died: "They made him a legend, when he would have preferred to be a man.' Jackie would have preferred to be just herself, but the world insisted that she be a legend, too.
She never wanted public notice, in part I think, because it brought back painful memories of an unbearable sorrow, endured in the glare of a million lights.
In all the years since then, her genuineness and depth of character continued to shine through the privacy to reach people everywhere. Jackie was too young to be a widow in 1963, and too young to die now.
Her grandchildren were bringing new joy to her life, a joy that illuminated her face whenever you saw them together. Whether it was taking Rose and Tatiana for an ice cream cone, or taking a walk in Central Park with little Jack as she did last Sunday, she relished being Grand Jackie and showering her grandchildren with love.
At the end, she worried more about us tan herself. She let her family and friends know she was thinking of them. How cherished were those wonderful notes in her distinctive hand on her powder blue stationery!
In truth, she did everything she could--and more--for each of us.
She made a rare and noble contribution to the American spirit. But for us, most of all she was a magnificent wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.
She graced our history. And for those of us who knew and loved her--she graced our lives.
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was buried alongside President John F. Kennedy, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. 





Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies
1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45








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3 comments:

  1. I am fascinated by what Jackie wrote to James MacGregor Burns; I have never seen that before. Where did you find those quotes?

    Thanks,

    Peter
    pameyers@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Source of the letters: Kennedy, Jacqueline (1929-1994), First Lady. Two autograph letters signed (Jacqueline Kennedy) TO James Macgregor Burns, Hyannisport, Massachusetts, [4 November 1959] AND [15 November 1959]. Together 5 Pages, Folio And 8vo, With Original Envelope (One Signed Mrs. John F. Kennedy) Fine Condition. In A Cloth Slipcase. - Christies Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Auction Catalogue, Sale 2572 , 22 June 2012 New York, Rockefeller Plaza

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