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Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born in Southhampton, New York on July 28, 1929.
Her family was wealthy. Her father worked as a stock broker.

Jackie's parents separated when she was eight. Her mother re-married. She married another stock broker named Hugh Auchincloss. They took Jackie with them to live in Washington, D.C.

She attended private schools. After high school, she went to Vassar College to study art history. She also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She returned to the US and attended George Washington University.

Jackie could speak both French and Spanish.

Jackie took a job with the Washington Times Herald in 1952. Her job was photographing and interviewing important people in the Washington area.

One of the people she interviewed was Senator John F. Kennedy.

She married him on September 12, 1953. The wedding was held in Newport, Rhode Island. She was 24 and he was 36. The wedding was large. Their wedding was attended by 800 people and they had 1,700 guests at the reception. The ceremony was performed by a cardinal and the Pope sent his blessings.

Library of Congress

Jackie had a miscarriage in 1955 and another baby was still born in 1956.

Then two healthy babies were born, Caroline in 1957, and John Jr. in 1960.

John Jr. was born just a few weeks before his father was elected President.

While she was First Lady, she tried to shelter her children from the public attention and to gain them some privacy. This was very difficult because the President and First Lady were very popular and anything they did was news worthy.

She hired French chefs who cooked the president bland food to help with his stomach troubles.

Mrs. Kennedy kept fit by jumping on a trampoline and lifting weights.

Jacqueline dressed in the latest elegant fashion. Her marriage was strained by her extravagant spending, refusal to attend some official events and her husband's relationships with other women.

The First Lady had a nursery made in the White House so the children could play with other children her age.

Jackie smoked, but hid it from the public.

She weighed 120 pounds and was 5' 7" tall.

Jackie began an effort to preserve the White House. She had the White House remodeled and had the results televised. Her televised tour of the Whitee House was on of the most watched shows in the history of television.

The First Lady had all the television sets removed from the White House. She brought one back so Caroline could watch Lassie.

Her favorite First Lady was Bess Truman.

Jackie Kennedy used her influence to bring the painting of Mona Lisa to the United States. It was extremely popular with the thousands of Americans who went to see it.

In 1963, their third child, Patrick, died two days after his birth. This brought the couple closer together.

On November 22, President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvery Oswald. No one who was alive at that time will forget the pictures of Jackie in the car and in her blood stained suit watching Vice President Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as President.

Jackie wanted the East Room of theWhite House where President Kennedy's casket was taken to be decorated just as it had be decorated when Lincoln was assassinated.

After the President's death, Jackie hardly had any privacy. Reporters followed her everywhere.

She later married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipowner. Aristotle died in 1975.

Jackie went back to work as an editor for a New York publisher.

She died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a form of cancer) on May 19, 1994.

Jackie is buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to President Kennedy.




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Sources of Information:

Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

Web Sites:
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Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies:


This page was last update: March 12, 2014