Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier // BOO-vee-ay; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was an American socialite, writer, photographer and book editor. She was also the first lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963 as the wife of 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
|First Lady of the United States|
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
|President||John F. Kennedy|
|Preceded by||Mamie Eisenhower|
|Succeeded by||Lady Bird Johnson|
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
July 28, 1929
Southampton, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 19, 1994 (aged 64)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Non-Hodgkin lymphoma|
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Domestic partner||Maurice Tempelsman|
(1980–1994; her death)
|Relatives||Lee Radziwill (sister) |
Kennedy family (by marriage)
George Washington University (BA)
|Occupation||Socialite, writer, photographer, book editor|
A popular first lady, she endeared the American public with her devotion to her family, dedication to the historic preservation of the White House, the campaigns she led to preserve and restore historic landmarks and architecture along with her interest in American history, culture and arts. During her lifetime, she was regarded as an international icon for her unique fashion choices.
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born in Southampton, New York. She graduated from George Washington University in 1951. After graduation, Bouvier worked for the Washington Times-Herald as a photographer. the next year, she met then - Representative Kennedy at a dinner party in Washington D.C. She married Kennedy in 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island.
In 1961, at the age of 31, she became the third-youngest first lady of the United States when her husband was inaugurated as 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was known for her restoration of the White House, emphasis on arts and culture along with her fashion style.
After the assassination and funeral of her husband, Kennedy and her two children, left public life. In October 1968, she married Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis. After his death in 1975, she worked as a book editor in New York City.
She is seen as one of the most popular and well known first ladies in American history. In 1999, she was named as one of Gallup's Most-Admired Men and Women of the 20th century.
On May 19, 1994, she died in her sleep from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in New York. Her funeral was on May 23, 1994. She was buried next to her first husband, President Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Early life and education change
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in Southampton, New York to John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee. Her mother's family was from Ireland. Her father's background was French, Scottish, and English. She was raised as a Roman Catholic.
Bouvier lived in Manhattan and at the Bouvier country home in East Hampton on Long Island during her early childhood. She respected her father and John Vernou Bouvier III called his oldest daughter "the most beautiful daughter a man ever had".
From an early age, Bouvier was an equestrienne who competed in the sport. She took ballet lessons and learned many languages. She spoke English, French, Spanish, and Italian. In 1935, she began going to Manhattan's Chapin School. One of her teachers called her "a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil".
Her parents' marriage became worse because of her father's alcoholism. Her parents had financial problems after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. They separated in 1936 and divorced four years later. In 1942, her mother married lawyer Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr.. The family moved into his home in McLean, Virginia.
After seven years at Chapin, Bouvier went to Holton-Arms School in Washington, D.C.. She stayed there from 1942 until 1944. She later went to Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. Bouvier stayed there from 1944 to 1947. In 1947, she began studying at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
She studied in France at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble during her junior year. She also went to the Sorbonne in Paris. She was part of a program from Smith College. She transferred to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature in 1951. She later went to George Washington University to take classes on American history.
While at George Washington University, Bouvier won a twelve-month junior editorship at Vogue magazine. This let her work for six months in the magazine's New York City office and then six months in Paris. She wrote her autobiography, One Special Summer after the trip. After working at Vogue, she worked for the Washington Times-Herald as a part-time receptionist. In 1952, she was briefly engaged to a young stockbroker named John Husted but broke-off the engagement.
Marriage and children change
Bouvier met U.S. congressman, John F. Kennedy at a dinner party in May 1952 after journalist, Charles L. Bartlett helped the two meet up. The two had many things in common. They were both Catholic, they both wrote, both liked reading and both had lived outside the United States during college. John was busy running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts when they first met. Their relationship became more serious and he asked her to marry him after he was elected Senator.
Bouvier took some time to accept, because she had been asked to report on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London for The Washington Times-Herald. After a month in Europe, she returned to the United States and accepted Kennedy's marriage proposal. Their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.
They were married on September 12, 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island by Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing. In the first years of their marriage, the couple had many problems. John F. Kennedy was diagnosed with Addison's disease and back pain caused by a war injury. In late 1954, he had surgery on his spine which almost killed him.
Kennedy gave birth to her second daughter, Caroline Kennedy on November 27, 1957. During his Senate re-election campaign, John F. Kennedy began to see how popular his wife was. He asked her to campaign with him for his re-election. In November 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate and he thanked his wife for her role in the campaign.
1960 United States presidential election change
On January 3, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for president. In the early months of the election year, Kennedy traveled with her husband to campaign events. Shortly after the campaign began, she became pregnant. So, she decided to stay at home in Georgetown during most of her husband's campaign. Kennedy helped her husband's campaign by writing a weekly newspaper column, Campaign Wife. She answered questions and gave interviews to the media.
She had a large amount of media attention because of her fashion choices. While this made her popular, some criticized her for being rich. To stop the criticism, Kennedy talked about the amount of work she was doing for the campaign. She also did not want to talk about her fashion choices.
When her husband was at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Kennedy did not go to the convention because of her pregnancy. She was in Hyannis Port where she watched the presidential debate between her husband and republican candidate and incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. On November 8, 1960, her husband was elected the 35th president of the United States. Two weeks after the election, on November 25, 1960, she gave birth to their first son, John F. Kennedy Jr.
First Lady of the United States (1961–1963) change
Kennedy assumed the role and duties as the first lady of the United States, succeeding Mamie Eisenhower when her husband was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States. Kennedy did not want her children to be unprotected around the media at an early age. She stayed with them in Middleburg, Virginia for a short time because of this.
Kennedy was the first presidential wife to hire a press secretary. She hired Pamela Turnure. The media saw Kennedy as the "perfect woman" and she became popular across the world. She also helped get support for the White House and her husband's Cold War policies.
At first, Kennedy said that her main focus as the first lady was to take care of the president and their children. She later spent her time to support American arts and preservation of its history. The historical restoration of the White House was her well known work. She also hosted many social events at the White House. She wanted to create a Department of the Arts; however this did not happen. She did help create the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
White House restoration change
Kennedy thought that most of the White House needed more historical artifacts and old furniture. Her first major project was to restore the White House. She helped create a family living area by adding a kitchen on the family floor and new rooms for her children.
She created a fine arts committee to find the money for her restoration of the White House. She also wanted to redesign and replant most of the Rose Garden and the East Garden. Kennedy helped protect historic homes in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., because she thought these buildings were important.
Before she became first lady, presidents and their families had taken furniture and other items from the White House when they left office. This was why the White House had few historical items. She wrote letters to find the missing furniture and other historical pieces.
Kennedy supported a Congressional bill saying that White House furniture and other items would be the property of the Smithsonian Institution. She also started the White House Historical Association, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, a Curator of the White House, the White House Endowment Trust, and the White House Acquisition Trust.
On Valentines Day, February 14, 1962, Kennedy took American television viewers on a tour of the White House on CBS News. Fifty-six million television viewers in the United States watched the tour. Kennedy won a special Emmy Award in 1962, making her the only first lady to win an Emmy.
Foreign trips change
Kennedy made many official visits to other countries, on her own or with the president. In 1961, the Kennedy's began their official trip of Europe in France. After arriving in the country, many liked her.
French President Charles de Gaulle liked her because she could speak French and because of her knowledge of French history. Seeing how popular she was, President Kennedy joked, "I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it."
From France, the president and the first lady traveled to Vienna, Austria, where Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was asked to shake the President's hand for a photo. He replied, "I'd like to shake her hand first".
The U.S. Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith wanted Kennedy to begin a tour in India and Pakistan with her sister Lee Radziwill in 1962. President of Pakistan Ayub Khan gave her a horse named Sardar as a gift. He had found out on his visit to the White House that he and the first lady both liked horses. Her popularity was compared to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II.
Kennedy would later travel to other countries across the world representing the United States. She spoke Spanish well, which she used when traveling to Latin American countries for events.
Death of Patrick Kennedy change
In early 1963, Kennedy was again pregnant, with their third child. She spent most of the summer at a home she and the President had rented near the Kennedy Family Compound on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
On August 7, five weeks before her due date, she went into labor. She gave birth to her second boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, through an emergency Cesarean section at the Otis Air Force Base. The baby's lungs were not fully developed, so he was sent to Boston Children's Hospital. He died of hyaline membrane disease two days after birth.
Kennedy was at Otis Air Force Base to recover after Patrick was born. Her husband went to Boston to be with Patrick and was there when he died. On August 14, the president returned to Otis to take her home and gave a speech to thank nurses who had cared for her. As a thank you, Kennedy gave the hospital staff gifts from the White House.
Kennedy later had depression after her son's death. However, the loss of their child helped the president and first lady come closer together. Before Patrick's death, Kennedy was not close with her husband because of rumors of him cheating on her. It was said that the president had cheated on her with multiple women such as her secretary Pamela Turnure and actress Marilyn Monroe.
Assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy change
On November 21, 1963, the president and first lady went on a political trip to Texas to get more support for her husband's 1964 reelection campaign. They landed at Dallas's Love Field with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie. Kennedy was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit and a pillbox hat, which her husband personally picked for her to wear. The motorcade was to take them to the Trade Mart. Kennedy was sitting next her husband in the presidential car.
At 12:30 P:M, the motorcade turned to Dealey Plaza. Kennedy heard loud bangs and she thought it was a motorcycle backfiring. She did not realize that it was a gunshot until she heard Governor Connally scream.
Two more shots had been fired, three of them hit her husband in the head. She quickly began to climb onto the back of the limousine. Some believe she was reaching across the trunk for a piece of her husband's skull that had been blown off. Secret Service agent Clint Hill ran to the car telling her back to go back to her seat. Kennedy would later say that she did not remember climbing behind the car.
Approximately at 1:00 P:M in Dallas, Texas at Parkland Hospital, President Kennedy died from his gunshot wounds, aged 46. After her husband died, Kennedy did not want to take off her blood-stained clothing. She told the new first lady, Lady Bird Johnson that she wanted "them to see what they have done to Jack".
Kennedy continued to wear the blood-stained pink suit as she went on Air Force One. She stood next to Lyndon B. Johnson when he took the oath of office as the 36th president of the United States. The suit was donated to the National Archives and Records Administration in 1964. It will not be seen by the public until 2103 because of an agreement from her daughter Caroline Kennedy, because she refused to let it be seen during this century.
Kennedy planned her husband's state funeral. It was inspired by Abraham Lincoln's funeral. She wanted her husband's casket to be closed, even though her brother-in-law and, Robert F. Kennedy wanted it to be open. The funeral service was held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Many respected her role and appearance at the funeral.
A week after the assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson wrote an executive order that created the Warren Commission. It was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the assassination. Kennedy did not care about the investigation. Kennedy said that even if they had the right suspect, it would not bring her husband back. She spoke to the commission about the events of her husband's assassination.
After the assassination, Kennedy and her two children left public life and activities.
Mourning period and later activities change
On November 29, 1963, a week after her husband's assassination, Theodore H. White of Life magazine interviewed Kennedy at her home in Hyannis Port. During the interview, she compared the Kennedy years in the White House to King Arthur's Camelot. She said "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 ... but there will never be another Camelot". Her husband was nicknamed "Camelot" and his presidency the "Camelot Era" because of this.
Kennedy and her two children stayed in the White House for two more weeks after the assassination. President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to "do something nice for Jackie". He wanted to make her ambassador to France, Mexico or the United Kingdom. Kennedy said no to any ambassador roles. Johnson renamed the Florida space center the John F. Kennedy Space Center a week after the assassination. Kennedy later thanked Johnson for his kindness to her.
Kennedy made few public appearances after her husband's death. Some believed she was suffering from severe PTSD. In the winter after the assassination, she and the children stayed at Averell Harriman's home in Georgetown.
On January 14, 1964, she spoke on television thanking the public for the "hundreds of thousands of messages" she had gotten since the assassination. She bought a house for herself and her children in Georgetown, but sold it later in 1964.[source?] She bought a 15th-floor penthouse apartment for $250,000 at 1040 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to have more privacy.
Kennedy would go to a few memorial ceremonies dedicated to her husband. In 1967, she went to the opening ceremony of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). She also went to a private ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery when her husband's coffin was moved to build a safer eternal flame. Kennedy also was in charge of the creation of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
During the Vietnam War in November 1967, she was called an unofficial ambassador. This was because of her trip with David Ormsby-Gore to Cambodia. Many historians saw that her visit was to fix the relationship between the two countries. She also went to the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, in April 1968.
Relationship with Robert F. Kennedy change
After her husband's assassination, Kennedy and her children became closer with her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy supported him staying in politics. She supported his 1964 campaign for United States senator from New York.
When President Johnson became unpopular, many wanted Senator Kennedy to run for president in 1968. When Art Buchwald asked him if he wanted to run, Robert replied, "That depends on what Jackie wants me to do". She met with him around this time and she told him to run. However, she was worried about his safety.
On June 5, 1968, Sirhan Sirhan shot Senator Kennedy in Los Angeles. Kennedy Onassis went to the hospital to be with her sister in law, Ethel Kennedy, her brother-in-law Ted Kennedy, and the other Kennedy family members. Robert Kennedy died the next day, aged 42.
Marriage to Aristotle Onassis change
After Robert Kennedy's death in 1968, Kennedy had depression again. She became worried about her life and of her two children. She said "If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets ... I want to get out of this country".
On October 20, 1968, she married her long-time friend Aristotle Onassis. He was a rich Greek businessman who was able to give the privacy and security she wanted. They were married on Skorpios, Onassis's private Greek island in the Ionian Sea.
After marrying Onassis, she took the legal name Jacqueline Onassis. She lost her right to Secret Service protection when she married Onassis. Many believed that she might have been excommunicated by the Roman Catholic church. This was because she married a divorced man. Many did not approve her getting remarried; her popularity declined after the nuptials.
Aristotle Onassis's health became worse after the death of his son Alexander in 1973. He died in 1975. After a legal deal, JOnassis got millions of dollars from her step-daughter Christina Onassis.
Later years, 1975–1990's change
Onassis returned to the United States after her second husband died. She lived in Manhattan, Martha's Vineyard, and the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. In 1975, she became an editor at Viking Press. She worked there for two years.
Onassis went to the 1976 Democratic National Convention. This was her first political event in almost ten years. She quit Viking Press in 1977. This was after Viking had published Jeffrey Archer's novel Shall We Tell the President?. The story happens in a fictional future presidency of her brother in-law, Ted Kennedy. The book was about a plan to assassinate him. Two years later, she went to Boston to support her brother in law's, 1980 presidential campaign.
After she left Viking Press, Onassis worked for Doubleday. She was an associate editor. Some of the books she edited for the company were Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe, the English translation of Naghib Mahfuz's Cairo Trilogy, and autobiographies of ballerina Gelsey Kirkland, singer-songwriter Carly Simon, and fashion icon Diana Vreeland.
In the 1970s, she supported a campaign to save Grand Central Terminal from demolition and repair it. A plaque inside the terminal talks about her role in its preservation. In the 1980s, she supported protests against a planned skyscraper at Columbus Circle that would have created large shadows on Central Park. She also supported saving Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church in New York.
Onassis had a lot of press attention. Paparazzi photographer Ron Galella followed her around and took pictures of her without her permission. From 1980 until her death in May 1994, Onassis also had a close relationship with businessman Maurice Tempelsman.
In the early 1990s, Onassis supported and endorsed former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton for president. She donated money to his presidential campaign. After the 1992 presidential election, she met with First Lady Hillary Clinton. They talked about raising a child in the White House. Mrs. Clinton later said that Onassis was an inspiration for her.
Illness, death, and funeral change
In November 1993, Onassis was thrown from her horse while she was fox hunting in Middleburg, Virginia. She was taken to the hospital. Doctors found a swollen lymph node in her groin. They thought it was an infection at first. The fall made her health worse over the next six months.
In December, Onassis had new symptoms such as stomach pain and swollen lymph nodes in her neck. She had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She began chemotherapy in January 1994. By March, the cancer had spread to her spinal cord and brain. By May, it had spread to her liver. Her condition was terminal.
Onassis made her last trip back home from New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center on May 18, 1994. The next day on May 19, she died in her sleep at her Manhattan apartment, aged 64. Her two children were by her side. Her son John F. Kennedy, Jr. announced her death the next day. He said that she died with her family around her.
On May 23, 1994, her funeral was held and was short and small. Fewer than 100 people were at the 11 minute long funeral. She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, next to her husband President Kennedy, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella. President Bill Clinton spoke at her graveside service. At the time of her death, her children Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr., her three grandchildren, Rose, Tatiana and John Schlossberg, and sister Lee Radziwill were her living relatives. Her estate was worth $43.7 million.
In 1994, the Municipal Art Society of New York started the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal. It is given to a person whose work has greatly helped New York City. The White House's East Garden was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden soon after her husband died. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers was opened in 1995. The main reservoir in Central Park was renamed in her honor.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is seen as one of the most popular first ladies. She was named 27 times on the annual Gallup list of the top 10 most admired people of the second half of the 20th century. This was more often than any president of the United States listed. In 2014, she came in third place in a Siena College Institute survey as the best first lady. She was behind Eleanor Roosevelt and Abigail Adams in the survey.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is seen as an important first lady in United States history. Many historians feel that first ladies since Onassis have either been compared to or against her.[source?]
Many of her well known clothes are preserved at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Pieces from the collection were shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2001.
In 2016, actress Natalie Portman played her in a movie called Jackie about her as first lady and her life after her husband's assassination. Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her acting.
Tina Turner, Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle and Caroline Kennedy have all listed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as one of their influences or spoken in admiration of her.
In an interview with Larry King on CNN in 1997, Tina Turner mentioned that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was her one idol. She praised Jackie's grace, style, and intellect, as well as her work as a cultural ambassador for the United States. Turner also stated that she modeled herself on how Jackie presented herself, and that she admired her ability to handle herself with such poise and elegance in difficult situations.
Michelle Obama has spoken extensively about how Jackie Kennedy Onassis's work as a cultural ambassador for the United States has influenced her work and role as First Lady. In her book "Becoming," Michelle Obama wrote about her admiration for Jackie Kennedy's style and grace, as well as her commitment to using her platform to promote cultural exchange and diplomacy. She described how she admired how Jackie used her fluency in foreign languages and cultural knowledge to give speeches in different countries and establish strong relationships with foreign leaders, and studied her writings and public appearances in order to learn from her example and to understand how she was able to use her position to make a positive impact on the world.
Michelle Obama also drew inspiration from Jackie Kennedy's work in support of the arts and historic preservation, and she made these issues a priority during her time as First Lady. She launched the "Let's Move!" campaign to promote healthy eating and exercise, and she also worked to support military families, education, and other important causes. Overall, Michelle Obama's admiration for Jackie Kennedy Onassis is a testament to the enduring influence of Jackie's work as a cultural ambassador and advocate for important causes. Her legacy has inspired generations of First Ladies and has helped to shape the role of the First Lady in American society.
Meghan Markle has also spoken about her admiration for Jackie Kennedy Onassis. She has praised her style, intelligence, and cultural sophistication, and has admired her work as a cultural ambassador for the United States. Although Meghan Markle was not a First Lady like Michelle Obama, she has used her platform as a public figure to promote important causes such as gender equality and mental health awareness, following in the footsteps of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and other influential women.
Caroline Kennedy: As the daughter of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Caroline Kennedy has been deeply influenced by her mother's work and legacy. She has been a strong advocate for education and literacy, and has also worked to promote the arts and historic preservation.
More reading change
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Other websites change
- Life of Jacqueline B. Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
- Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy at the White House
- Jacqueline Kennedy at C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image
- Jackie Kennedy Archived 2017-05-23 at the Wayback Machine at the National First Ladies' Library
- The Last Will and Testament of Jacqueline K. Onassis
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on IMDb
- Appearances on C-SPAN