Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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Jacqueline Kennedy
Silver Pitcher presented to White House (Portrait).jpg
Jacqueline Kennedy at the White House in 1961
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Preceded by Mamie Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lady Bird Johnson
Personal details
Born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
(1929-07-28)July 28, 1929
Southampton, New York
Died May 19, 1994(1994-05-19) (aged 64)
Manhattan, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) John F. Kennedy
(m. 1953; d. 1963)
Aristotle Onassis
(m. 1968; d. 1975)
Alma mater Vassar College – attended
Sorbonne – attended
George Washington University
Occupation First Lady of the United States
Book editor at Viking Press (1975–1977)
Book editor at Doubleday (1978–1994)
Religion Catholicism

Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier, pronounced /ˌˈækln ˈl ˈbvi/;[1] July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later, she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; they remained married until his death in 1975.

Jacqueline was the elder daughter of Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III and socialite Janet Norton Lee, who divorced in 1940. In 1951, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature at George Washington University and went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald as an Inquiring Photographer.

In 1952, Jacqueline met Congressman John F. Kennedy at a dinner party. Shortly after, he was elected to the United States Senate and the couple married the following year. They had four children, two of whom died in infancy. As First Lady, she aided her husband's administration with her presence in social events and with her highly publicized restoration of the White House. On November 22, 1963, she was riding with her husband in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, when he was assassinated. She and her children withdrew from public view after his funeral, and she remarried in 1968 after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Following her second husband's death, for the final two decades of her life, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, as well as for her style, elegance, and grace.[2][3] She was a fashion icon; her famous ensemble of pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat has become symbolic of her husband's assassination and one of the lasting images of the 1960s.[4][5] She ranks as one of the most popular First Ladies and in 1999 was named on Gallup's list of Most Admired Men and Women in 20th century America.[6]

Background and childhood

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 in Southampton, New York,[7] to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou "Black Jack" Bouvier III (1891–1957) and Janet Norton Lee (1907–1989), at Southampton Hospital.[8] Jacqueline was baptized at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan.[9] Her younger sister, Caroline Lee (1933–), known as Lee, was born four years later. The Bouviers divorced in 1940; in 1942, Janet married Standard Oil heir Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, Jr. and had two more children: Janet Jennings Auchincloss (1945–1985)[10] and James Lee Auchincloss (born 1947).[11]

Jacqueline's mother was of Irish ancestry,[12] and her father's ancestry included French, Scottish, and English.[13] Her maternal great-grandfather emigrated from Cork, Ireland, and later became the Superintendent of the New York City Public Schools. Michel Bouvier, Jacqueline's patrilineal great-great-grandfather, was born in France and was a contemporary of Joseph Bonaparte and Stephen Girard. He was a Philadelphia-based cabinetmaker, carpenter, merchant, and real estate speculator.[14] Michel's wife, Louise Vernou, was the daughter of French émigré tobacconist John Vernou and English-born Elizabeth Clifford Lindsay. Michel and Louise's sons included John Vernou Bouvier, Sr. and Michel Charles Bouvier. Jacqueline's paternal grandfather John Vernou Bouvier, Jr., whom she called "Grampy Jack",[15] fabricated a more noble ancestry for his family in his vanity family history book, Our Forebears. Recent scholarship and the research done by her cousin John Hagy Davis in his book, The Bouviers: Portrait of an American Family,[16] have disproved most of these fantasy lineages.

Jacqueline spent her early years in Manhattan and East Hampton on Long Island, at the Bouvier family estate, "Lasata."[17] Following their parents' divorce, the Bouvier sisters divided their time between their mother's homes in McLean, Virginia and Newport, Rhode Island, and their father's homes in New York City at 125 East 74th Street[17][18][19] and Long Island.[20]

Jacqueline strongly resembled her father, whom she idolized. Her father likewise favored her over her sister Lee, calling Jacqueline "the most beautiful daughter a man ever had."[21] Lee would later say that Jacqueline would not have gained her "independence and individuality" had it not been for the relationship she had with her father and paternal grandfather.[22]

Jacqueline Bouvier at age six.


At a very early age, she became an enthusiastic equestrienne,[20][23] and horse-riding remained a lifelong passion.[24] By age 2, Jacqueline was able to control her pony with confidence; whenever she fell off, she would instantly climb back on.[22] Beginning in her youth, she was similar to her mother in her riding and athleticism as well as her reserve and temper. As their father became more estranged from the marriage, the Bouvier sisters began to spend more time with their mother. Her mother encouraged the pair's artistic traits, as they had been influenced by their paternal grandfather, who had rewarded them and his other grandchildren at his home for drawing pictures and composing poems.[25] In her youth, she took ballet lessons and though only having average talent, she never lost interest and frequently read books on the subject.[26]

During high school, Jacqueline, who was a theater lover, wrote a musical which was produced by the drama club. Though she admitted to her stepbrother Yusha the desire to become an actress, she felt unwilling to pursue it due to the uncertainty of the career. She was able to impersonate her teachers during her education and entertained classmates by mimicking them. She was also able to learn languages with ease — in particular, French — due to her mother insisting that she and her sister learn it and requiring that it be the only one which could be spoken at the dinner table.[26]

Parents' divorce and mother's remarriage

Author and cousin John H. Davis wrote that she suffered over the divorce of her parents and that it was noticed by her relatives that she subsequently had a "tendency to withdraw frequently into a private world of her own."[27] The humiliation of having intimate details of her parents' lives publicized had taken its toll on ten-year-old Jacqueline.[28] Biographer Darwin Porter further speculated that seeing her father not remarry and engage in self-destructive behavior may have influenced Jacqueline's overall view of men as an adult, including her feelings about her husband's infidelities.[29]

Janet married Hugh D. Auchincloss on June 21, 1942. Her daughters did not attend the ceremony because the wedding was arranged quickly and "because of wartime travel restrictions." Two days after the wedding, Auchincloss shipped out to work with British intelligence in Jamaica. Jacqueline's mother stayed with her daughters until he returned. Jacqueline and Lee, along with Auchincloss's son Hugh Dudley "Yusha" Auchincloss III and later the couple's two children together, all lived at Auchincloss's Merrywood estate in McLean, Virginia. Merrywood would be Jacqueline's primary residence for the remainder of her teen years.[30]

Jacqueline retained a relationship with her father, while also spending considerable time with the Auchinclosses.[27] Her new stepfather, Hugh Auchincloss, whom she and her sister called "Uncle Hughdie", became a father figure for her. Pottker wrote that he gave her a stable environment and the pampered childhood she never would have experienced otherwise.[31] Auchincloss's son, Yusha, became her closest step-sibling and one of her most trusted confidants.[30] Yusha's daughter Maya said the pair retained a bond throughout the remainder of their lives.[32][33]

Though Jacqueline eventually became adjusted to her mother's remarriage, she still sometimes felt like an outsider in the high society world of the Auchinclosses. Her friend, bandleader Peter Duchin, said she told him later that she had always felt as if she did not belong in that world, and that she attributed it to her being Catholic in a Protestant environment as well as feeling different because she was child of divorce which was not common in that social group at that time.[34]

Education and young adulthood

Jacqueline attended the Chapin School in New York City[23] for first through sixth grade. Her paternal grandfather covered the expenses of the school, which were substantial, especially in light of the annual income earned by many Americans during the Great Depression.[35] Janet Norton Lee remembered her daughter's intellectual ability running ahead of her "chronological age" at the time she started attending Chapin School.[25] Her behavior became an issue at school, which her mother attributed to her finishing assignments before classmates and then acting out in boredom.[36] Childhood friend Nancy Tuckerman recalled Jacqueline's brightness but claimed she "held the distinction of being the naughtiest girl in the class" during what she called "the days when good manners and proper behaviors were key factors in our education."[25] Harris writes that Jacqueline's behavior improved following a dialogue with the headmistress of Chapin, who acknowledged her positive qualities, but warned her that none of those would matter if she did not act properly.[36]

Jacqueline went on to the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, attending from 1942 to 1944, and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1944 to 1947.[12] She chose Miss Porter's because it was a boarding school, and she wished to distance herself from the Auchinclosses. Intending to go to college, she found common ground with Miss Porter's headmasters Mr. and Mrs. Johnson who placed an emphasis on college preparatory classes.[37] The yearbook for her senior year noted her wit, accomplishments as a horsewoman, and refusal to become a housewife.[38] When she made her society debut in 1947, Hearst columnist Igor Cassini dubbed her "debutante of the year."[39]

Beginning in 1947, Jacqueline attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, for two years and then spent her junior year (1949–1950) in France – at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble, and at the Sorbonne in Paris – in a study-abroad program through Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.[40] Upon returning home, she transferred to The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; she graduated in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature.[7] While attending George Washington, she won a junior editorship at Vogue magazine, selected over thousands of girls from across the country. The position entailed six months working in the magazine's New York City office and spending the remaining six in Paris, which greatly interested Jacqueline.[41] She later took continuing education classes in American History at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.[7] 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,[42] one that their stepfather had offered after disliking the possibility that Jacqueline would be traveling abroad on the Vogue trip.[43] This trip was the subject of Jacqueline's only autobiographical book, One Special Summer, – co-authored with her sister; it is also the only one of Jacqueline's publications to feature her drawings.[44]

Following her graduation, Jacqueline was hired as "Inquiring Camera Girl" for The Washington Times-Herald.[45] The position required her to pose witty questions to individuals chosen at random on the street and take their pictures to be published in the newspaper alongside selected quotations from their responses.[40] In addition to the random "man on the street" vignettes, she sometimes sought interviews with people of interest such as six-year-old Tricia Nixon after her father Richard Nixon was elected to the vice presidency several days after the 1952 presidential election.[46][47] She initially was hired as a part-time receptionist, but a week later she approached editor Frank Waldrop with the request that she have more challenging work. At first Waldrop was concerned that Bouvier might not have the technical skills required for that job, but she proved herself to be competent. Robert Denny, a colleague of Bouvier at The Washington Times-Herald, remembered her as "rather naive and almost touchingly trusting".[48]

During this time, she was engaged to a young stockbroker, John G. W. Husted, Jr., for three months.[40] In proposing, Husted gave her a sapphire and diamond engagement ring, once having belonged to his mother. Their engagement was announced in The New York Times on January 21, 1951.[48] When Jacqueline met John F. Kennedy at a dinner party, he tried to escort her to her car, but found Husted waiting for her and left immediately. She later broke off the engagement, telling friends that Husted was "immature and boring".[49][50] He reportedly never got over it and felt Kennedy had stolen her from him.[51]

Kennedy marriage and family

Engagement and wedding

Jacqueline Kennedy at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island on her wedding day, September 12, 1953

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier and then-U.S. Representative John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy belonged to the same social circle and often attended the same functions.[40] They were formally introduced by a mutual friend, journalist Charles L. Bartlett, at a dinner party in May 1952.[40] Bouvier was attracted to Kennedy's physical appearance, charm, wit and wealth. The two also shared similarities in both being Catholic and writers, enjoying reading and previously having lived abroad.[52] Kennedy was then busy running for the US Senate but after his election in November, the relationship grew more serious and led to their engagement, officially announced on June 25, 1953.[53][54]

Jacqueline took some time to accept Kennedy's proposal, due to having been assigned, by her editor at The Washington Times-Herald, coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in London, where Jacqueline stayed for two weeks before taking an additional trip to Paris for another two weeks. When she returned to the United States after a month abroad, Kennedy met her at the airport and she accepted, resigning her position at The Washington Times-Herald a day later.[55]

They were married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island, in a Mass celebrated by Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing.[56] The wedding was considered the social event of the season with an estimated 700 guests at the ceremony and 1,200 at the reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm.[57] The wedding cake was created by Plourde's Bakery in Fall River, Massachusetts.[58] The wedding dress, now housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, and the dresses of her attendants were created by designer Ann Lowe of New York City.[59]

Early years

Jacqueline standing over her husband, John F. Kennedy, after his spinal surgery, December 1954

The newlyweds honeymooned in Acapulco, Mexico before settling in their new home, Hickory Hill in McLean, Virginia.[60] Behind the glamour, however, the couple faced several personal setbacks. Jack had some serious health issues then unknown to the public: he suffered from Addison's Disease and from chronic and at times debilitating back pain due to a war injury. During the fall and winter of 1954, he underwent two delicate spinal operations that almost proved fatal.[61] Additionally, Jacqueline suffered a miscarriage in 1955 and in August 1956 gave birth to a stillborn daughter whom they planned to name Arabella.[62][63] They subsequently sold their Hickory Hill estate to Jack's brother Robert, who occupied it with his wife Ethel and their growing family, and bought a townhouse on N Street in Georgetown.[12]

Jacqueline attended the 1956 Democratic National Convention, comforting her husband after he had hoped to be the vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in the upcoming election. She had offered her complete support to Jack's examination of his political future.[64]

Her father died of liver cancer in August 1957, aged sixty-six. Jacqueline, six months pregnant at the time of his death, went to see him at Lenox Hill Hospital to be with him in his final moments, but arrived after he had already passed away. She presided over his funeral, returning a bracelet that he had given her as a child.[65]

Jacqueline gave birth to a daughter, Caroline, on November 27, 1957, via Caesarean section.[62] The couple posed for the cover of the April 21, 1958 issue of Life magazine, appearing with their infant daughter.[66] At first she opposed the magazine's offer of the cover, not wanting the baby to be used to benefit her husband's political career, but changed her mind in exchange for a promise from her father-in-law that Jack would stop campaigning during the summer to go to Paris with her.[67]

Jacqueline and Jack traveled together during his 1958 campaign for reelection to the U.S. Senate, trying to narrow the geographical gap between them that had persisted for the first five years of the marriage. Soon enough, Jack started to notice the value she had for his campaign, Kenneth O'Donnell remembering "the size of the crowd was twice as big" when she accompanied her husband, also recalling her as "always cheerful and obliging". But Rose Kennedy observed Jacqueline as not being "a natural-born campaigner" due to her shyness and being uncomfortable with too much attention.[68] In November 1958, Senator Kennedy was reelected to a second term. He credited Jacqueline's help with securing his victory due to her visibility in both ads and stumping, calling her "simply invaluable."[69][70]

In July 1959, Arthur M. Schlesinger visited the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, having his first conversation with Jacqueline and finding her to have "tremendous awareness, an all-seeing eye and a ruthless judgement."[71] That year, her husband traveled to fourteen states, Jacqueline taking long breaks from the trips so she could spend time with their daughter. She also counseled her husband on improving his wardrobe in preparation for his intended run for the White House the next year.[72]

Relationship with Rose and Joseph Kennedy

Jacqueline referred to Rose Kennedy as "Belle Mère," the French term for mother-in-law. When Jacqueline became tired during the early months of her husband's presidency as a result of John Jr.'s birth, Rose would sometimes substitute for her at official functions.[73] Rose was pleased when Jacqueline assigned her to the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House during a stay, as Rose often compared President Kennedy to Abraham Lincoln. After the assassination and the stroke suffered by her father-in-law Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Jacqueline compared Rose and herself to Ruth and Naomi, a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law from the Bible who supported each other following their husbands' deaths.[74]

Jacqueline also had a good relationship with Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.; biographer Barbara Leaming wrote that Joseph Sr. favored her "in many ways" over his surviving daughters because she reminded him of his late daughter Kathleen.[75] Joseph, Sr. developed a warm bond with her, being refreshed by Jacqueline's independence and teasing of him. Billings remembered Joseph, Sr. being Jacqueline's "most ardent supporter" and that he liked her due to her individuality.[76] Joseph, Sr. believed that Jacqueline was "exactly the wife" his son needed at his side when running for president, and Rose agreed. He encouraged Jack to marry Jacqueline, who on her first time meeting the elder Kennedy sat with him, suspecting that he had been involved in convincing Jack to propose.[77] Despite this, the elder Kennedy was steadfast in his defense of Jack amid rumors of his extramarital affairs.[75]

In later years, Jacqueline was attentive to Rose as she visited her in Hyannis Port and they would go for walks when Rose was still able to. After her health declined, Jacqueline would sit with her and keep her company.[78] This was a contrast to when Jacqueline was younger, sometimes expressing disdain for Rose. Despite this, Jacqueline would later reflect that Rose "went out of her way" to be nice to her, commenting, "She was terribly sweet to me."[76]

First Lady of the United States

Campaign for Presidency

Jacqueline campaigning with her husband in Appleton, Wisconsin, in March 1960

On January 3, 1960, John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Presidency and launched his nationwide campaign.[79] In the early months of the election year, she accompanied her husband to campaign events such as whistle-stops and dinners.[80] She was fluent in Spanish and French, and spoke some Italian and Polish on the campaign trail.[81] Though she had intended to take a more active role in the campaign, Jacqueline learned that she was pregnant again shortly after the campaign began[82] and due to her previous difficult pregnancies, her doctor instructed her to stay at home.[83] From Georgetown, Jacqueline participated in her husband's campaign in subsequent months by answering letters, taping television commercials, giving televised and printed interviews, and writing a weekly syndicated newspaper column, Campaign Wife.[83] She also made occasional personal appearances. One of her last times with him before the election was when they attended a Manhattan ticker-tape parade in October 1960, where they were viewed by more than a million New Yorkers.[84]

During the campaign, Jacqueline was the target of distaste from some of her husband's supporters, who believed she was a snob who disliked politics. She had worried about this during his previous campaign for the U.S. Senate.[85] She was also disparaged by the press[86] for her penchant for wearing French clothing.[87] Though her husband was aware of the backlash, he did not ask her to change.[85] Beasley notes she was given a platform to defend herself with Campaign Wife, Jacqueline responding to criticism in the column by expressing confusion over how her clothing and physical appearance in general would impact her husband's ability to effectively lead the nation.[88]

On July 13, 1960, John F. Kennedy was nominated by the Democratic Party for President of the United States in Los Angeles at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Jacqueline did not attend, but learned of the nomination the following morning. Her pregnancy had been announced to the public ten days earlier, to explain her absence from the convention.[89]

Jacqueline watched the September 26, 1960 debate between her husband and Vice President Richard Nixon at Hyannis Port with Marian Cannon, wife of Arthur Schlesinger. Days after the debates, Jacqueline contacted Schlesinger, informing him that her husband wanted his aid along with that of John Kenneth Galbraith in preparing for the third debate on October 13 and wished for them to give him new ideas and speeches.[90]

On September 29, 1960, the Kennedys appeared together for a joint interview on Person to Person.[89] The couple had previously been interviewed on Person to Person the month following their marriage.[91] Charles Collingwood asked Jacqueline what her role would be as First Lady, leading to her reply that she would "take care of the President so he can best serve the people. And not to fail her family, her husband and her children." Biographer Donald Spoto noted that the response was not considered "weak or old-fashioned" for its time.[89] Later, on election night, Jacqueline watched the returns while her husband took a walk, after which he learned that he had been elected president.[92]

As First Lady

First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy, André Malraux, Marie-Madeleine Lioux Malraux, Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson having just descended White House Grand Staircase on their way to a dinner with the French cultural minister, April 1962. The First Lady wears a gown designed by Oleg Cassini[93]

In the U.S. presidential election on November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Republican opponent Richard Nixon.[94] A little over two weeks later, on November 25, Jacqueline gave birth to the couple's first son, John F. Kennedy, Jr., via Caesarean section.[62][95] After the birth, Jacqueline spent two weeks in the hospital recovering, during which the most minute details of both her and her son's conditions were reported by the media in what has been considered the first instance of national interest in the Kennedy family.[96]

When JFK was sworn in as president on January 20, 1961, she became, at age 31, the third youngest First Lady in history, behind Frances Folsom Cleveland (21) and Julia Gardiner Tyler (24).[97] Jacqueline was ill at her husband's inauguration after having visited the White House the previous month. She had been promised a wheelchair to support her as she had surgery shortly before, but it never appeared; instead she had to tour the mansion on foot. She spent the weeks between the visit and the inauguration for the most part in bed.[98] She was not impressed when she first saw the White House, comparing it to a dungeon and describing it as "cold and dreary".[99] Jacqueline received support from her old school friend Letitia Baldrige, hiring her in August 1960 to assist her in becoming a successful First Lady, as Jacqueline's ideas about how to go about doing that were not sharply formed. Prior to Baldrige joining the campaign, Jacqueline had indicated that she might be focusing on education or exchange programs for youth. After Baldrige was hired it was stated that the First Lady intended to restore the White House, which became her lasting legacy.[100]

As First Lady she was thrust into the spotlight, and while she did not mind giving interviews or being photographed, she preferred to maintain as much privacy as possible for herself and her children.[101] She ranks among the most popular of First Ladies,[6] remembered for reorganizing entertainment for White House social events, restoring the interior of the presidential home, her fashion trend-setting, her popularity among foreign dignitaries, and leading the country in mourning after John Kennedy's 1963 assassination.[102]

Social success

Jacqueline devoted much of her time as First Lady to planning social events at the White House and other venues, often inviting artists, writers, scientists, poets, and musicians to mingle with politicians, diplomats, and statesmen. She also began to let guests at the White House drink cocktails, to give the mansion a more relaxed feeling.[103]

Perhaps due to her skill at entertaining, Jacqueline proved quite popular among international dignitaries. When Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was asked to shake President Kennedy's hand for a photo, Khrushchev said, "I'd like to shake her hand first."[104] Khrushchev later sent her a puppy, significant for being the offspring of the dog that had gone to space during a Soviet space mission.[105] Jacqueline was also gifted with Sarbar, a horse, by Pakistan President Ayub Khan, who on his visit to the White House discovered that he and the First Lady had a commonality in their interest in horses.[106][107] She was well received in Paris, France, when she visited with her husband, and when she traveled with her sister to Pakistan and India in 1962.[108] André Malraux was said by President Kennedy to be "far more interested in Jackie" than he was in him.[109]

During her tenure as First Lady and throughout her husband's political career, her public appearances would energize voters and give reporters "something positive to write about", making her a valuable asset to her husband's planned re-election bid for president and contributing to her accompanying him to Dallas.[110]

White House restoration

Jacqueline Kennedy with Charles Collingwood during their televised tour of the restored White House in 1962.
The Blue Room of the White House as redecorated by Stéphane Boudin in 1962. Boudin chose the period of the Madison administration, returning much of the original French Empire style furniture

The restoration of the White House was Jacqueline's first major project as First Lady. She was dismayed during her pre-inauguration tour of the White House to find little of historic significance in the house. The rooms were furnished with undistinguished pieces that she felt lacked a sense of history. Her first efforts, begun her first day in residence (with the help of society decorator Sister Parish), were to make the family quarters attractive and suitable for family life. Among these changes was the addition of a kitchen on the family floor and rooms for her children. Upon almost immediately exhausting the funds appropriated for this effort, she established a fine arts committee to oversee and fund the restoration process and asked early American furniture expert Henry du Pont to consult.[111]

While her initial management of the project was hardly noted at the time, later accounts have determined that she managed the conflicting agendas of Parish, du Pont, and Boudin with seamless success;[112] she initiated publication of the first White House guidebook, whose sales further funded the restoration; she initiated a Congressional bill establishing that White House furnishings would be the property of the Smithsonian Institution, rather than available to departing ex-presidents to claim as their own; and she wrote personal requests to those who owned pieces of historical interest that might be, and later were, donated to the White House.[113]

On February 14, 1962, she took American television viewers on a tour of the White House with Charles Collingwood of CBS News. In the tour she said, "I feel so strongly that the White House should have as fine a collection of American pictures as possible. It's so important... the setting in which the presidency is presented to the world, to foreign visitors. The American people should be proud of it. We have such a great civilization. So many foreigners don't realize it. I think this house should be the place we see them best."[112] Working with Rachel Lambert Mellon, she oversaw redesign and replanting of the White House Rose Garden and the East Garden, which was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden after her husband's assassination. Her efforts on behalf of restoration and preservation at the White House left a lasting legacy in the form of the White House Historical Association, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House which was based upon her White House Furnishings Committee, a permanent Curator of the White House, the White House Endowment Trust, and the White House Acquisition Trust.[112]

Broadcasting of the White House restoration greatly helped the Kennedy administration.[112] The U.S. government sought international support during the Cold War, which was thought to be achieved by affecting public opinion. The First Lady's celebrity and high profile status made viewing the tour of the White House very popular. The tour film was distributed to 106 countries and in 1962 at the Emmy Awards a special Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees Award was given to Jacqueline for her CBS-TV tour of the White House. Lady Bird Johnson accepted for the camera-shy First Lady. The Emmy statuette is on display in the Kennedy Library located in Boston, Massachusetts. Focus and admiration for Jacqueline took negative attention away from her husband. By attracting worldwide public attention, the First Lady gained allies for the White House and international support for the Kennedy administration and its Cold War policies.[114]

Foreign trips

Jacqueline Kennedy at the Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India on March 15, 1962

Throughout her husband's presidency, Jacqueline made many official visits to other countries, on her own or with the President - more than any of the preceding First Ladies.[7] Before the Kennedys' first official visit to France in 1961, a television special was shot in French with the First Lady on the White House lawn. After arriving in the country, she impressed the public with her ability to speak French, as well as her extensive knowledge of French history.[108] She had been aided in her learning of the French language by the prominent Puerto Rican educator María Teresa Babín Cortés.[115] At the conclusion of the visit, Time magazine seemed delighted with the First Lady and noted, "There was also that fellow who came with her." Even President Kennedy joked, "I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris – and I have enjoyed it!"[116][117]

Pakistani President Ayub Khan and Jacqueline Kennedy with Sardar (1962)

At the urging of John Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. Ambassador to India, she undertook a tour of India and Pakistan in 1962, taking her sister Lee Radziwill along with her, which was amply documented in photojournalism of the time as well as in Galbraith's journals and memoirs. At the time, Ambassador Galbraith noted a considerable disjunction between her widely noted concern with clothes and, on personal acquaintance, her considerable intellect.[citation needed] While in Karachi, Pakistan, she famously took a ride on a camel with her sister.[118] In Lahore, Pakistan, Pakistani President Ayub Khan presented the First Lady with a much-photographed horse, Sardar (the Urdu term meaning "leader"). Subsequently this gift was widely misattributed to the king of Saudi Arabia, including in the various recollections of the Kennedy White House years by journalist Benjamin Bradlee. While at a reception in her honor at the Shalimar Gardens, Jacqueline told guests "all my life I've dreamed of coming to the Shalimar Gardens. It's even lovelier than I'd dreamed. I only wish my husband could be with me."[119] Life magazine correspondent Anne Chamberlin wrote that Kennedy "conducted herself magnificently” although noting that her crowds were smaller than those that President Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth attracted when they had previously visited these countries.[120]

In addition to these well-publicized trips, during the three years of the Kennedy administration countries she traveled to included Afghanistan, Austria, Canada,[121] Colombia, England, Greece, Italy, Mexico,[122] Morocco, Turkey, and Venezuela - some countries on more than one trip.[7]

Death of infant son

In early 1963, the First Lady was pregnant again, leading her to curtail her official duties. She spent most of the summer at a home she and her husband had rented on Squaw Island, near the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, scheduling a Caesarean section for September at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. However, on August 7, over five weeks early, she went into labor and gave birth to a boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, via emergency Caesarean at nearby Otis Air Force Base. His lungs were not fully developed, and he was transferred from Cape Cod to Boston Children's Hospital where he died of hyaline membrane disease (now known as respiratory distress syndrome) two days after birth.[123][124] Jacqueline had remained at Otis Air Force Base to recuperate after the Caesarean delivery; President Kennedy went to Boston to be with their infant son, and was present at his death. He returned to Otis on August 14 to take her home, giving an impromptu speech to thank nurses and airmen that had gathered in her suite, and she presented hospital staff with framed and signed lithographs of the White House.[125]

The First Lady was deeply affected by the death,[126] entering a state of depression afterward.[127] But losing their child seemed to have a positive impact on the marriage, bringing the couple closer together in their shared grief. Upon their departure from Otis Air Force Base, they were seen holding hands, an unusual public gesture for them. Secret Service agent Clint Hill recalled their having "a distinctly closer relationship" following Patrick's death. Press secretary Pierre Salinger also believed that the President and First Lady had been brought closer by the passing of their last child.[126] Arthur Schlesinger wrote that while President Kennedy always "regarded Jacqueline with genuine affection and pride", their marriage "never seemed more solid than in the later months of 1963."[128]

Aware of her depression, Jacqueline's friend Aristotle Onassis invited her to his yacht and she decided to go. Despite President Kennedy initially having reservations, he reportedly believed that it would be "good for her." The trip was widely disapproved of within the Kennedy administration and by much of the general public, as well as in Congress. The First Lady returned to the United States on October 17, 1963. She would later say she regretted being away as long as she was, but had "melancholy after the death of my baby".[127]

Assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy

The President and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas approximately 30 minutes before the assassination
The Presidential limousine just minutes before the assassination
File:Clinthill limo.png
Jacqueline Kennedy reaching out across the back of the presidential limousine, as captured on the Zapruder film
Jacqueline Kennedy, still wearing the blood stained pink Chanel suit, stands alongside as Lyndon B. Johnson takes the Presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One

On November 21, 1963, the Kennedys left the White House for a political trip to Texas, the first time Jacqueline had joined her husband on such a trip in the US.[129] After a breakfast on November 22, they flew from Fort Worth's Carswell Air Force Base to Dallas' Love Field on Air Force One, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie.[130] The First Lady was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit and a pillbox hat,[4][5] which had been personally selected by President Kennedy.[131] A 9.5-mile (15.3 km) motorcade was to take them to the Trade Mart, where the President was scheduled to speak at a lunch. The First Lady was seated next to her husband in the presidential limousine, with the Governor and his wife seated in front of them. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife followed in another car in the motorcade.

After the motorcade turned the corner onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, the First Lady heard what she thought to be a motorcycle backfiring and did not realize that it was a gunshot until she heard Governor Connally scream. Within 8.4 seconds, two more shots had rung out, and she leaned toward her husband. Another shot struck the President in the head. Almost immediately, she reached out across the trunk of the car for something. Her Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, later told the Warren Commission that he thought she had been reaching across the trunk for a piece of the President's skull that had been blown off.[132][page needed][133] Hill ran to the car and leapt onto it, directing her back to her seat. As Hill stood on the back bumper, Associated Press photographer Ike Altgens snapped a photograph that was featured on the front pages of newspapers around the world.[134] She would later testify that she saw pictures "of me climbing out the back. But I don't remember that at all."[135]

The car sped the 3.4 miles to Dallas' Parkland Hospital, and on arrival there, the President was rushed into a trauma room. The First Lady at first remained in a room for relatives and friends of patients just outside. A few minutes into her husband's treatment she attempted to enter the operating room. A nurse stopped her and tried to bar the door but she persisted, and the President's personal doctor, Admiral George Burkley who was traveling with them, suggested she take a sedative, which she refused. "I want to be there when he dies," she told Burkley. He eventually persuaded the nurse to grant her access to Trauma Room One, saying: "It's her right, it's her prerogative."[132][page needed]

Later, when the casket arrived, Jacqueline removed her wedding ring and slipped it onto the President's finger. She told aide Ken O'Donnell, "Now I have nothing left."[130]

Family members depart the U.S. Capitol after a lying-in-state ceremony for the President, November 24, 1963

After the President was pronounced dead, Jacqueline refused to remove her blood-stained clothing and reportedly regretted having washed the blood off her face and hands. She continued to wear the blood-stained pink suit as she went on board Air Force One and stood next to Johnson when he took the oath of office as President. She told Lady Bird Johnson, "I want them to see what they have done to Jack."[136] The unlaundered suit was donated to the National Archives and Records Administration in 1964, and under the terms of an agreement with Caroline Kennedy will not be placed on public display until 2103.[137] Johnson's biographer, Robert Caro, writes that Johnson wanted Jacqueline to be present at his swearing-in in order to demonstrate the legitimacy of his presidency to Kennedy loyalists and to the world at large.[138]

Jacqueline took an active role in planning the details of her husband's state funeral, which was based on Abraham Lincoln's.[139] She requested a closed casket, overruling the wishes of her brother-in-law, Robert, who favored an open casket in keeping with tradition.[140] Jacqueline reportedly asked another brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, for his help in arranging the funeral.[141][142] The funeral service was held at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington D.C., and the burial at Arlington National Cemetery; the widow led the procession there on foot and lit the eternal flame at the gravesite, a flame that had been created at her request. Lady Jeanne Campbell reported back to The London Evening Standard: "Jacqueline Kennedy has given the American people... one thing they have always lacked: Majesty."[139]

A week after the assassination, on November 29,[143] the Warren Commission was established by President Johnson to investigate the assassination, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone perpetrator.[144] Privately, Jacqueline cared little of the investigation, believing that even if they had the right suspect, it would not bring her husband back.[145] Nevertheless, the widowed Jacqueline gave a deposition the Warren Commission, recalling the shooting. There were some mixed feelings about whether she should testify, Earl Warren in particular indicating an unwillingness to interview her while John J. McCloy outright opposed such an inquiry. Future U.S. President Gerald Ford, who served on the Warren Commission, proposed "most informally" having her interviewed by an associate.[146] With the varying opinions of what to do lingering, Warren held a short meeting with Jacqueline at her apartment.[146][147]

Following the assassination and the media coverage that had focused intensely on her during and after the burial, Jacqueline stepped back from official public view. She did, however, make a brief appearance in Washington to honor the Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, who had climbed aboard the limousine in Dallas to try to shield her and the President.

In September 2011, audio tapes were released that had been recorded in 1964 after her husband's assassination. They were not supposed to be released until 50 years after her death (she died in 1994). Approximately 8.5 hours in length, the tapes contain an interview with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., in which Jacqueline reveals her thoughts on a wide range of topics, including the vice-president, Lyndon B. Johnson, and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. She also discusses how she refused to leave her husband's side during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when other officials had sent their wives away for their safety.[148][149] More recently, some of her personal correspondence from the years 1950 to 1964 have surfaced, including letters that were written by her to Irish priest Joseph Leonard, whom she had twice met while in Ireland.[150] In her final letter to Leonard, Jacqueline wrote she would have preferred losing her own life to losing Jack.[151]

Life following the John F. Kennedy assassination: 1963-1975

Jacqueline Kennedy's official White House portrait by Aaron Shikler

On November 29, 1963, a week after her husband's assassination, Jacqueline was interviewed in Hyannis Port by Theodore H. White of Life magazine.[152] In that session, she famously compared the Kennedy years in the White House to King Arthur's mythical Camelot, commenting that the President often played the title song of Lerner and Loewe's musical recording before retiring to bed. She also quoted Queen Guinevere from the musical, trying to express how the loss felt.[153] Her steadiness and courage after her husband's assassination and funeral won her admiration around the world.[130]

Jacqueline and her children remained in the White House for two weeks after the assassination, preparing to vacate.[154] For their last night, Jacqueline threw John and Caroline a joint birthday party. The day before she left the White House, Johnson gave serious thought to appointing her to an ambassadorship to France, aware of her heritage and fondness for its culture. Johnson told Pierre Salinger that he wanted to "do something nice for Jackie". She turned the offer down, as well as follow-up offers of ambassadorships to Mexico and Great Britain. She publicly praised Johnson for his kindness to her[155] and asked him to rename the Florida space center after her late husband, seeking to ensure that his championship of the space program not be forgotten; a week after the assassination Johnson renamed the facility the John F. Kennedy Space Center, honoring her request. She reportedly later regretted the request having learned that the name Cape Canaveral had existed since the time of Christopher Columbus.[156] After Jacqueline and the children left the White House, Lady Bird Johnson found a bouquet of flowers and a note from her, saying that she wished her a "happy arrival" and told her she would "be happy" there.[157]

Jacqueline asked her Secret Service drivers to arrange her travel around Washington in such a way that she would never accidentally glimpse the White House.[158] On December 7, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson telephoned her and encouraged her to return to visit the White House. She promised that she would some day,[159] but did not until February 1971, during the administration of Richard Nixon, when she returned to view her official portrait and that of President Kennedy before their public unveiling.[160]

Jacqueline and her children spent the winter of 1963-64 in Averell Harriman's home at 3038 N Street in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., before purchasing their own home at number 3017 on the same street. Daily visits by her mother and sister eased her transition. She also received visits from her secretarial staff, who read her cards and poems received from different parts of the world. On January 14, 1964, Jacqueline made a televised appearance from the office of the Attorney General, thanking the public for the "hundreds of thousands of messages" she had received since the assassination and said she had been sustained by America's affection for her late husband.[161] Later in 1964, in the hope of having more privacy for her children,[162] she decided to buy a 15th floor apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan overlooking Central Park on the Upper East Side. She sold her new Georgetown house and the country home in Atoka, Virginia, where she and her husband had intended to retire. She spent a year in mourning,[163] making few public appearances; during this time, Caroline told one of her teachers that her mother cried frequently.[164][165] But due to her efforts and lobbying there was a tribute to President Kennedy at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in August. In October of that year, she received a surprise visit by President Johnson at the New York apartment.[166]

During the fall of 1966, Jacqueline tried to block the publication of William Manchester's authorized account of President Kennedy's death. She and Robert had been behind the choice of Manchester to write a memoir about the late president, Jacqueline referring to him as the author she had "hired."[167] She filed a lawsuit against him on December 16 of that year.[168][169] It was settled the following year with Manchester reportedly removing passages detailing President Kennedy's family life.[170] By 1967, the situation had made national news, giving Jacqueline significant media attention for one of the few times between her leaving the White House and her marriage the following year. White viewed the ordeal as validation of the measures the Kennedy family, Jacqueline in particular, were prepared to take to preserve President Kennedy's public image.[171]

On March 14, 1967, Jacqueline, joined by her brothers-in-law Robert and Ted as well as President Johnson, attended a private ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery that saw the moving of her husband's coffin, after which he was reinterred so that officials at the cemetery could construct a safer and more stable eternal flame and accommodate the tourists' extensive foot traffic.[172]

Public appearances

In January 1964, Jacqueline visited U.S. Ambassador to Britain John Hay Whitney's Georgia plantation. She was accompanied by British Ambassador to the U.S. David Ormsby-Gore and his wife Sylvia. Following the trip, Sylvia said that listening to Jacqueline's recollections of the assassination was "becoming well-nigh unbearable" but regardless, she felt compelled to continue hearing her speak of the assassination. Jacqueline wrote to British statesman Harold Macmillan of her continuing grief and her failure to find solace in religion.[173]

In April 1965 Lady Bird Johnson renamed the East Garden at the White House as the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden in the former First Lady's honor.[174] The Johnsons invited Jacqueline back to the White House for the dedication ceremony, but she declined to attend.[175] Though she said it was "generous" of the new First Lady to rename the garden, she "just couldn't go back to that place".[176] Her mother, Robert and Ethel Kennedy, and sister-in-law Eunice Kennedy Shriver attended in her stead.[174]

Alongside Robert and Ted Kennedy, Jacqueline joined Queen Elizabeth II at Runnymede, England, in May 1965, where they dedicated the United Kingdom's official memorial to President Kennedy. The memorial included several acres of meadowland given in perpetuity from the UK to the US, near where King John had signed the Magna Carta in 1215.[177] Jacqueline accepted President Johnson's offer of a presidential jet to transport the family to the dedication, but she insisted that it not be Air Force One, asking for one that looked least like that plane which held sad memories for her.[175]

She kept her husband's memory alive by attending selected memorial dedications. These included the 1967 christening of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67)[178] in Newport News, Virginia, a memorial in Hyannis Port, and a park near New Ross, Ireland. She oversaw plans for the establishment of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, which is the repository for official papers of the Kennedy Administration.[179] Originally planned to be situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Harvard University, it was instead situated in Boston, in Dorchester, next to the University of Massachusetts campus. The finished library, designed by I.M. Pei, includes a museum.

In November 1967, during the Vietnam War, Life magazine recognized Jacqueline as "America's unofficial roving ambassador" during her visit to Cambodia, when she and Chief of State NorodoF. m Sihanouk visited the religious complex of Angkor Wat,[180] accompanied by trustee of the Kennedy School of Government David Harlech.[181] While there, she visited the ruins of Angkor, effectively fulfilling a "lifelong dream" of hers to tour the ruins. Australian historian Milton Osbourne would later write that her visit was "a very real event" and "the result of a lot of diplomacy".[182]

After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in April 1968, Robert asked her to attend King's funeral services in Atlanta, Georgia. She was initially reluctant due to the crowds and reminders of President Kennedy's death, but did attend the funeral. Returning to New York afterward, she predicted that the widespread public sympathy for the King family would be short-lived, saying to Arthur M. Schlesinger that people "hate feeling guilty. They can't stand it for very long. Then they turn."[183]

Relationship with Robert F. Kennedy

After the JFK assassination, Jacqueline relied heavily on her brother-in-law Robert, observing him to be the "least like his father" out of the Kennedy brothers.[184] Robert had been a source of support for Jacqueline early in her marriage when she had her miscarriage, and he, not her husband, stayed with her in the hospital.[185] Robert had considered dropping out of politics in the aftermath of his brother's death, but was convinced by Jacqueline not to do so, and she supported his 1964 run for Senator from New York.[186] She also suggested that he begin reading the plays and writing of Greeks such as Aeschylus and Sophocles, advice that he followed.[187]

Biographers have expressed opinions regarding their relationship. Ros Gilpatric concluded that the two clung to each other for emotional support in the aftermath of the assassination, saying Robert Kennedy "was the only one who could pull her out of her depression."[188] Thomas reasoned the pair were brought together by shared agony over President Kennedy's death and similarities in upbringing.[189] Spoto observed that Robert did not leave her to "solitary grief" in the months following the assassination, becoming a surrogate father for her children and consistently coming to see her, but that eventually demands by his own large family and his responsibilities as Attorney General required a reduction in his attention.[161]

Following the January 1968 Vietnam Tet offensive, which was followed by a drop in President Johnson's poll numbers, Robert Kennedy's advisors urged him to enter the presidential race. When asked by Art Buchwald if he intended to run, Robert replied, "That depends on what Jackie wants me to do."[190][191]

Jacqueline met with Robert around this time, encouraging him to run after previously advising him to not copy his brother, but to "be yourself." Privately, she worried about Robert's safety, believing he was more hated than President Kennedy had been and that there was "so much hatred" in America.[192] She confided in him about these feelings, but by her own account, he was "fatalistic" like her.[190] Despite her concerns, Jacqueline campaigned for Robert and supported him,[193] at one point even showing outright optimism that through his victory, members of the Kennedy family would once again occupy the White House.[190]

In May 1968, Jacqueline went on a four-day cruise to the Virgin Islands with Aristotle Onassis aboard his yacht. After returning to the United States, she made attempts to keep her relationship with Onassis away from the press by attending high-profile functions with Ros Gilpatric and Lord Harlech, both appearing to be romantic interests of hers.[194] Fearing that it would hurt his presidential campaign, Robert's wife Ethel asked Jacqueline to not go through with marrying Onassis. Jacqueline promised she would not make any decisions until after the election.[195]

Just after midnight on June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot and mortally wounded, minutes after celebrating his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary with a crowd of his supporters.[196] Jacqueline rushed to Los Angeles from New York to join Ethel, Ted, and other Kennedy family members at his hospital bedside, but Robert died 26 hours after the shooting without regaining consciousness.[197] She initially refused to board a presidential jet sent by Lyndon Johnson to bring the family and Robert's remains back to New York, mistakenly thinking that it might be the same plane that had carried her husband's coffin with her from Dallas. Reassured that it was not, she and the family, joined by Coretta Scott King, flew back to New York for the subsequent funeral services.[198]

Onassis marriage

Devastated by RFK's death, Jacqueline reportedly suffered a relapse of the depression she had experienced in the days following her husband's assassination nearly five years prior.[199] She came to fear for her life and those of her children, saying: "If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets ... I want to get out of this country."[200]

On October 20, 1968, she married her long-time friend Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.[200] The wedding took place on Skorpios, Onassis's private Greek island in the Ionian Sea.[201] Following her marriage, Jacqueline lost her right to Secret Service protection, an entitlement to a widow of a U.S. president. The marriage brought her considerable adverse publicity, including talk of excommunication by the Roman Catholic church (deemed as "nonsense" by Cardinal Cushing)[202] and condemnation as a "public sinner,"[203] and she became the target of paparazzi who followed her everywhere and nicknamed her "Jackie O."[204] She reportedly considered a position as an anchor at NBC, but her husband was against this, claiming, "No Greek wife works."[205]

A couple of years after marrying Onassis she wrote to Ted Kennedy with the request that he take on the role of surrogate father to her children, who had been without a Kennedy father figure in the aftermath of Bobby's death. Ted regularly visited the children after the request.[206] She developed a close relationship with Ted, who saw her as his "adored brother's wife"; Ted was involved in her public appearances from then on.[207]

In February 1971, she returned to the White House with her children for the first time since the days following the assassination. She declined President Nixon's invitation to attend the official unveiling of the mansion's portraits for President Kennedy and herself,[208] opting instead for a low profile trip, without media fanfare. Jacqueline and her children privately dined with the Nixons and she later wrote the couple a note, thanking them and their daughters for helping her children "rediscover their childhood".[209][210]

Tragedy struck again when Aristotle Onassis' son Alexander died in a plane crash in January 1973.[211] Aristotle's own health began deteriorating rapidly and he died of respiratory failure at age 69 in Paris, on March 15, 1975. Jacqueline's financial legacy was severely limited under Greek law, which dictated how much a non-Greek surviving spouse could inherit. After two years of legal battle, she eventually accepted a settlement of $26 million from Christina Onassis, Onassis' daughter and sole heir, waiving all other claims to the Onassis estate.[212]

During their marriage the couple inhabited six different residences: her 15-room Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City, her horse farm in New Jersey, his Avenue Foch apartment in Paris, his private island Skorpios, his house in Athens, and his 325 ft (99 m) yacht The Christina.[213]

Later years: 1975-1990s

Book editor and preservationist

Aristotle Onassis' death in 1975 made Jacqueline a widow for the second time. Now that her children were older, she decided to find work that would be fulfilling to her. Since she had always enjoyed writing and literature, in 1975 she accepted a job offer as a consulting editor at Viking Press. But, in 1977 the President of Viking Press, Thomas H. Guinzburg, authorized the purchase of the Jeffrey Archer novel Shall We Tell the President?, which was set in a fictional future presidency of Ted Kennedy and described an assassination plot against him. Although Guinzburg cleared the book purchase and publication with Jacqueline, upon the publication of a negative New York Times review which asserted that she held some responsibility for its publication, she abruptly resigned from Viking Press the next day.[214] She then moved to Doubleday as an associate editor under an old friend, John Sargent, and lived in New York City, Martha's Vineyard, and the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts. From 1980 until her death, her companion and personal financial adviser was Maurice Tempelsman, a Belgian-born industrialist and diamond merchant who was long separated from his wife.[215]

Prior to her publishing employment, she had gained experience by being involved with several posthumous biographies of President Kennedy. The first of these was John F. Kennedy, President, by Hugh Sidey, which was published the year after his death in 1964. Simon Michael Bessie, Sidey's editor at Atheneum, recalled her as having read galleys and submitted detailed notes on them. Despite this recollection, Sidey himself did not acknowledge her contribution in the book. The following year, she helped Ted Sorensen with his book Kennedy. Sorensen told Greg Lawrence that after finishing the "first draft" of his "first big book", he gave Jacqueline the manuscript since he thought she would be helpful and Jacqueline provided him with several comments on the book. Sorensen lauded her assistance in his memoir Counselor as he wrote that she had "proved to be a superb editor, correcting typographical errors, challenging mistaken assumptions, defending some of her husband's personnel decisions, suggesting useful clarifications, and repeatedly setting the record straight on matters not known to me".[216]

Among the many books Jacqueline edited was Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe.[217] He expressed his gratitude in the acknowledgments in Volume 2. At Doubleday she also oversaw, with Martha Levin, the English translation of the three volumes of Naghib Mahfuz's Cairo Trilogy.[218] Some of the authors whose books she edited include ballerina Gelsey Kirkland,[219] singer Carly Simon,[220] and fashion icon Diana Vreeland.[219]

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1985 with the President and First Lady, Ronald and Nancy Reagan

Jacqueline also appreciated the contributions of African-American writers to the American literary canon. She encouraged Dorothy West, her neighbor on Martha's Vineyard and the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, to complete the novel The Wedding (1995), a multi-generational story about race, class, wealth, and power in the U.S.; West acknowledged her editor's encouragement in the foreword. The novel, which received literary acclaim when it was published by Doubleday,[221] was later adapted into a television miniseries of the same name (1998) starring Halle Berry.[222]

Jacqueline also worked to preserve and protect America's cultural and architectural heritage. While First Lady, she helped to stop the destruction of historic homes in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., because she felt these buildings were an important part of the nation's capital and played an essential role in its history.[112] Later, in New York City, she led an historic preservation campaign to save from demolition and renovate Grand Central Terminal.[162] A plaque inside the terminal acknowledges her prominent role in its preservation. In the 1980s, she was a major figure in protests against a planned skyscraper at Columbus Circle which would have cast large shadows on Central Park;[162] the project was cancelled, but a large twin-towered skyscraper would later fill in that spot in 2003, the Time Warner Center.

In 1979, she visited China with I. M. Pei and his wife Eileen. She also visited the northern part of India in 1984 and the southern part five years later in 1989 with friends Cary and Edith Welch. Already interested in India's temple structure, she used her knowledge on the subject to help her prepare a catalog for an exhibition at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.[181]

She remained the subject of considerable press attention,[223] most notoriously involving the tabloid photographer Ron Galella who followed her around and photographed her as she went about her day-to-day activities, obtaining candid photos of her without her permission.[224] She ultimately obtained a restraining order against him, and the situation brought attention to the problem of paparazzi-style photography.[225]

Her apartment windows in New York City overlooked a glass-enclosed wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which displays a replica of the Temple of Dendur. This was a gift from Egypt to the U.S. in gratitude for the generosity of the Kennedy administration, which had been instrumental in saving several temples and objects of Egyptian antiquity that would otherwise have been flooded after the construction of the Aswan Dam.[17]

Political activities

After Robert Kennedy's assassination and her marriage to Onassis, Jacqueline stayed away from major political events, until the 1976 Democratic National Convention, where she stunned the assembled delegates when she appeared in the visitors' gallery.[226][227] Three years later Jacqueline appeared alongside her mother-in-law Rose Kennedy at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts when Ted Kennedy announced that he was going to challenge President Carter for the Democratic nomination for president.[228] She went on to campaign for her brother-in-law, who lost the nomination to the incumbent.[229]

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, Jacqueline had occasional communications with Nancy Reagan[230] who invited Jacqueline to the White House to see its changes. She declined on the grounds that she "prefers not to return to Washington", but assured Nancy Reagan she would let her know if she changed her mind.[231] In June 1985, Jacqueline attended a fundraiser for the John F. Kennedy Library at the home of Ted Kennedy, both President Reagan and Nancy Reagan also in attendance.[232][233]

In the early 1990s, she became a supporter of Bill Clinton and contributed money to his presidential campaign.[234] Following the election, Jacqueline met with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and advised her on the difficulties of raising a child in the spotlight of the White House,[235] and encouraging her ignore those who criticized her style and remain true to who she was. Clinton wrote in her memoir Living History, that Jacqueline was "a source of inspiration and advice for me."[234] Frank Mankiewicz, who served as press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, theorized that Jacqueline had an affinity with President Clinton due to his kinship with President Kennedy, whom he often quoted. Democratic consultant Ann Lewis viewed Jacqueline as having reached out to the Clintons "in a way she has not always acted toward leading Democrats in the past".[230]

Illness, death and funeral

Grave of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis at Arlington National Cemetery (2006)

On November 21, 1993, while participating in a fox hunt in Middleburg, Virginia, she fell from her horse while trying to jump off and remained unconscious for a half-hour. A physician examined her and discovered a swollen lymph node in her groin, which was initially believed by the doctor to be an infection. She flew back to Manhattan the following day, the thirtieth anniversary of her husband's assassination, and attended a Requiem Mass for President Kennedy with her children.[236] Biographer Edward Klein attributed the fall to a result of her declining health.[237]

Two months later, in January 1994, Jacqueline was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.[238] Her diagnosis was announced to the public the following month. The family and doctors were initially optimistic, and she stopped smoking at the insistence of Caroline, having previously been a three-pack-a-day smoker.[239] She continued her work with Doubleday, but curtailed her schedule, making her last public appearance in March at the Municipal Art Society re-dedication of Grand Central Terminal.[citation needed] The cancer proved to be aggressive, and by April had spread. She made her last trip home from New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center on May 18, 1994. A large crowd of well-wishers and reporters gathered on the sidewalk outside her Fifth Avenue apartment.

The following night at 10:15 p.m., Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in her sleep, two months before her 65th birthday. Her son stated "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."[240]

The funeral was held a few blocks away from her apartment on May 23, 1994, at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Catholic parish where she was baptized in 1929 and confirmed as a teenager.[241][242] At her funeral, her son John described three of her attributes as the love of words, the bonds of home and family, and the spirit of adventure. She was buried alongside President Kennedy, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.[163][243] President Bill Clinton delivered a eulogy at her graveside service.[244]

She was survived by her children Caroline and John, three grandchildren, sister Lee Radziwill, and son-in-law Edwin Schlossberg. She left them an estate valued at $43.7 million by its executors.[245]

Style icon

During her husband's presidency, Jacqueline Kennedy became a symbol of fashion and style for women worldwide. She retained French-born American fashion designer and Kennedy family friend Oleg Cassini in the fall of 1960 to create an original wardrobe for her as First Lady. From 1961 to late 1963, Cassini dressed her in many of her most iconic ensembles, including her Inauguration Day fawn coat and Inaugural gala gown, as well as many outfits for her visits to Europe, India, and Pakistan. In her first year in the White House, Kennedy spent $45,446 more on fashion than the $100,000 annual salary her husband earned as president (He donated the annual salary to charity).[246]

Jacqueline Kennedy at a State dinner on May 22, 1962

Her clean suits with a skirt hem down to middle of the knee, three-quarter sleeves on notch-collar jackets, sleeveless A-line dresses, above-the-elbow gloves, low-heel pumps, and famous pillbox hats were overnight successes around the world and quickly became known as the "Jackie" look.[246] Although Cassini was her primary designer, she also wore ensembles by French fashion legends such as Chanel, Givenchy, and Dior. More than any other First Lady her style was copied by commercial manufacturers and a large segment of young women.[7] Her influential bouffant hairstyle, described as a "grown-up exaggeration of little girls' hair," was created by Kenneth, whom she had been seeing since 1954, and who continued to style her hair until 1986.[247][248]

In the years after the White House, her style changed dramatically. Gone were the modest "campaign wife" clothes. Wide-leg pantsuits, large lapel jackets, gypsy skirts, silk Hermès head scarves, and large, round, dark sunglasses became her new look. She often chose to wear brighter colors and patterns and even began wearing jeans in public.[249] Beltless, white jeans with a black turtleneck, never tucked in, but pulled down over the hips, was another fashion trend that she set.[250]

Throughout her lifetime, she acquired a large collection of exquisite and priceless jewelry. Her triple-strand pearl necklace designed by American jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane became her signature piece of jewelry during her time as First Lady in the White House. Often referred to as the "berry brooch," the two-fruit cluster brooch of strawberries made of rubies with stems and leaves of diamonds, designed by French jeweler Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., was personally selected and given to her by her husband several days prior to his inauguration in January 1961.[251] She wore Schlumberger's gold and enamel bracelets so frequently in the early and mid-1960s that the press called them "Jackie bracelets;" she also favored his white enamel and gold "banana" earrings. She wore jewelry designed by Van Cleef & Arpels throughout the 1950s,[252] 1960s[252] and 1970s; her sentimental favorite was the Van Cleef & Arpels wedding ring given to her by President Kennedy.[253] She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1965.[254][255]

Honors and memorials

External video
Jacqueline Kennedy, First Ladies, Influence and Image, C-SPAN
  • A high school named Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers, was dedicated by New York City in 1995, the first high school named in her honor. It is located at 120 West 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, and was formerly the High School for the Performing Arts.[256]
  • In December 1999, she was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, from a poll conducted of the American people.[257]
  • The main reservoir in Central Park, located in New York City, was renamed in her honor as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.[258]
  • The Municipal Art Society of New York presents the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal to an individual whose work and deeds have made an outstanding contribution to the city of New York. The medal was named in honor of the former MAS board member in 1994, for her tireless efforts to preserve and protect New York City's great architecture.[259] She made her last public appearance at the Municipal Art Society two months before her death.
  • At George Washington University, a residence hall located on the southeast corner of I and 23rd streets NW in Washington, D.C., was renamed Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Hall in honor of the alumna.[260]
  • The White House's East Garden was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden in her honor.[261]
  • In 2007, her name and her first husband's were included on the list of people aboard the Japanese Kaguya mission to the moon launched on September 14, as part of The Planetary Society's "Wish Upon The Moon" campaign.[262] In addition, they are included on the list aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.
  • A school and an award at the American Ballet Theatre have been named after her in honor of her childhood study of ballet.[263]
  • The companion book for a series of interviews between mythologist Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, was created under her direction prior to her death. The book's editor, Betty Sue Flowers, writes in the Editor's Note to The Power of Myth: "I am grateful... to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, the Doubleday editor, whose interest in the books of Joseph Campbell was the prime mover in the publication of this book." A year after her death in 1994, Moyers dedicated the companion book for his PBS series, The Language of Life as follows: "To Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As you sail on to Ithaka." Ithaka was a reference to the C.P. Cavafy poem[264] that Maurice Tempelsman read at her funeral.[265]
  • A white gazebo is dedicated to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on North Madison Street in Middleburg, Virginia. Jacqueline and President Kennedy frequented the small town of Middleburg and intended to retire in the nearby town of Atoka. She also hunted with the Middleburg Hunt numerous times.[266]

See also


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External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Mamie Eisenhower
First Lady of the United States
Succeeded by
Lady Bird Johnson