Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy on November 22,1963.
First Lady of the United States
In office
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Preceded by Mamie Eisenhower
Succeeded by Lady Bird Johnson
Personal details
Born July 28, 1929(1929-07-28)
Southampton, New York, United States
Died May 19, 1994(1994-05-19) (aged 64)[1]
New York City, New York, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) John F. Kennedy (1953–1963, his death)
Aristotle Onassis (1968–1975, his death)
Children Arabella Kennedy
(1956–1956)
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (born 1957)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (1960–1999)
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (1963–1963)
Alma mater Vassar College – attended
Sorbonne – attended
The George Washington University (Bachelor of Arts)
Occupation First Lady of the United States
Book editor at Viking Press (1975–1977)
Book editor at Doubleday (1978–1994)
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis (pronounced play /ˌækˈln ˈl ˈbvi ˈkɛnɨdi ˈnæsɨs/;[2] July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994)[1] was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as 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. For the final two decades of her life, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had a successful career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, her style, elegance, and grace.[3][4] A fashion icon, her famous pink Chanel suit has become a symbol of her husband's assassination and one of the lasting images of the 1960s.[5][6] A book containing the transcripts of interviews with Kennedy from 1964 was released in September, 2011.

Contents

Early life

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born in Southampton, New York, to Wall Street stock broker John Vernou Bouvier III (also known as "Black Jack Bouvier") and Janet Norton Lee. Another girl, Caroline Lee—later known as Lee—was born in 1933. The Bouviers divorced in 1940 with Janet Bouvier later marrying Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr. in 1942. From that marriage, two children were produced: Janet and James Auchincloss.

Jacqueline Bouvier in 1935.

Her mother's family, the Lees, were of Irish descent,[7] and her father descended from French and English ancestors. Her maternal great-grandfather emigrated from Cork, Ireland, and later became the Superintendent of the New York City Public Schools. Michel Bouvier, Jacqueline's paternal 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.[8] Michel's wife, Louise Vernou, was the daughter of John Vernou, a French émigré tobacconist, and Elizabeth Clifford Lindsay, an American-born woman. Jacqueline's grandfather, John Vernou Bouvier Jr., fabricated a more noble ancestry for his family in his vanity family history book, Our Forebears. Recent scholarship and the research done by Jacqueline's cousin John H. Davis in his book, The Bouviers: Portrait of an American Family,[9] have disproved most of these fantasy lineages.

Bouvier spent her early years in New York City and East Hampton, New York, at the Bouvier family estate, "Lasata".[10] 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 and Long Island.[11] Bouvier attended the Chapin School in New York City.

At a very early age, she became an enthusiastic equestrienne,[11] and horse-riding remained a lifelong passion.

Education and young adulthood

Bouvier attended the Holton-Arms School, located in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1942 to 1944 and Miss Porter's School, located in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1944 to 1947.[7]

When she made her society debut in 1947, Hearst columnist Igor Cassini dubbed her "debutante of the year'.[12]

Beginning in 1947, Bouvier spent her first two years of college at Vassar College, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, and then spent her junior year in France – at the University of Grenoble, located in Grenoble, and at the Sorbonne, located in Paris – in a study-abroad program through Smith College, located in Northampton, Massachusetts.[13] Upon returning home to the U.S., she transferred to The George Washington University, located in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature.[1] 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.[14] This trip was the subject of her only autobiographical book, One Special Summer, – co-authored with her sister, which is also the only one of her publications to feature her drawings.[15]

Following her graduation, Bouvier was hired as "Inquiring Photographer" for The Washington Times-Herald. The position required her to pose witty questions to individuals chosen at random on the street and take their pictures to be published in the newspaper alongside selected quotations from their responses. During this time, she was engaged to a young stock broker, John Husted, for three months.[13]

Kennedy marriage and family

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

Bouvier and then-U.S. Representative John Kennedy belonged to the same social circle and often attended the same functions.[13] In May 1952, at a dinner party organized by mutual friends, they were formally introduced for the first time.[13] The two began dating soon afterward, and their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.[14]

Bouvier married Kennedy on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island, in a Mass celebrated by Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing.[16] An estimated 700 guests attended the ceremony and 1,200 attended the reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm.[17]

The wedding cake was created by Plourde's Bakery in Fall River, Massachusetts.[18] 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.[19]

The newlyweds honeymooned in Acapulco, Mexico, before settling in their new home in McLean, Virginia.[20] Kennedy suffered a miscarriage in 1955 and gave birth to a stillborn baby girl in 1956.[21] That same year, the couple sold their estate, Hickory Hill, to Robert Kennedy and his wife Ethel Skakel Kennedy, moving to a townhouse on N Street in Georgetown.[7] Kennedy subsequently gave birth to a second daughter, Caroline, in 1957, and a son, John, in 1960, both via Caesarian section.[21]

Name Birth Death Notes
Arabella Kennedy August 23, 1956 August 23, 1956 Stillborn daughter.
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy November 27, 1957 Married to Edwin Schlossberg; has two daughters and a son. She is the last surviving child of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. November 25, 1960 July 16, 1999 Magazine publisher and lawyer. Married to Carolyn Bessette. Both Kennedy and his wife died in a plane crash, as did Lauren Bessette, Carolyn's sister, on July 16, 1999, off Martha's Vineyard in a Piper Saratoga II HP piloted by Kennedy.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy August 7, 1963 August 9, 1963 Died from Hyaline Membrane Disease, today more commonly called Infant respiratory distress syndrome.

First Lady of the United States

Campaign for Presidency

Jacqueline Kennedy campaigning alongside her husband in Appleton, Wisconsin, in March 1960

On January 3, 1960, John Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Presidency and launched his nationwide campaign.[22] Though she had initially intended to take an active role in the campaign, Kennedy learned that she was pregnant shortly after the beginning of the campaign.[23] Due to her previous difficult pregnancies, Kennedy's doctor instructed her to stay at home.[24] From Georgetown, Kennedy participated in her husband's campaign by answering letters, taping television commercials, giving televised and printed interviews, and writing a weekly syndicated newspaper column, "Campaign Wife."[24] She made rare personal appearances.

Kennedy was fluent in French, Spanish, and during her husband's campaign for the Presidency, she spoke in Italian and Polish in public.[25]

As First Lady

First Lady Jacqueline 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.[26]

In the general election on November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Republican Richard Nixon in the U.S. presidential election.[27] A little over two weeks later, Jacqueline Kennedy gave birth to the couple's first son, John, Jr. [28] When her husband was sworn in as president on January 20, 1961, Kennedy became, at age 31, one of the youngest First Ladies in history, behind Frances Folsom Cleveland and Julia Tyler.[29]

Like any First Lady, Kennedy 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.[30]

Kennedy is remembered for reorganizing entertainment for White House social events, restoring the interior of the presidential home, her taste in clothing worn during her husband's presidency, her popularity among foreign dignitaries, and leading the country in mourning after JFK's 1963 assassination.

Kennedy ranks among the most popular of First Ladies.[31]

Social success

As First Lady, Kennedy devoted much of her time to planning social events at the White House and other state properties. She often invited artists, writers, scientists, poets, and musicians to mingle with politicians, diplomats, and statesmen.[32]

Perhaps due to her skill at entertaining, Kennedy 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."[33] Kennedy was well received in Paris, France, when she visited with her husband, and when she traveled with Lee to Pakistan and India in 1962.[34]

Mrs. Kennedy with Charles Collingwood on the broadcasted tour of the restored White House (1962).

White House restoration

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 Kennedy'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, Kennedy established a fine arts committee to oversee and fund the restoration process and asked early American furniture expert Henry du Pont to consult.[citation needed]

While her initial management of the project was hardly noted at the time, later accounts have noted that she managed the conflicting agendas of Parish, du Pont, and Boudin with seamless success;[35] 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.[citation needed]

Jacqueline Kennedy in the diplomatic reception room of the White House

On February 14, 1962, Kennedy took American television viewers on a tour of the White House with Charles Collingwood of CBS News. In the tour she said, "I just feel that everything in the White House should be the best—the entertainment that's given here. If it's an American company you can help, I like to do that. If not—just as long as it's the best."[35] 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.[35]

Broadcasting of the White House restoration greatly helped the Kennedy administration.[35] The U.S. government sought international support during the Cold War, which it achieved by affecting public opinion. The First Lady's celebrity and high profile status made viewing the tour of the White House very desirable. The tour was filmed and distributed to 106 countries since there was a great demand from the elite as well as people in power to see the film. In 1962 at the 14th Annual Emmy Awards (NBC, May 22), Bob Newhart emceed from the Hollywood Palladium; Johnny Carson from the New York Astor Hotel; and NBC newsman David Brinkley hosted at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington D.C., and took the spotlight as a special Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees Award was given to Jacqueline Kennedy 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 Kennedy 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.[36]

Foreign trips

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

Before the Kennedys visited France, 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 fluently, as well as her extensive knowledge of French history.[34] Kennedy had been aided in her learning of the French language by the prominent Puerto Rican educator María Teresa Babín Cortés.[37] 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!"[38]

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, 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 Kennedy's widely-noted concern with clothes and other frivolity and, on personal acquaintance, her considerable intellect.[34]

While in Karachi, Pakistan, she found some time to take a ride on a camel with her sister.[39] 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 President Kennedy's friend, journalist and editor Benjamin Bradlee. While at a reception in her honor at the Shalimar Gardens, Kennedy 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."[40]

Death of younger son

Early in 1963, Kennedy became pregnant again and curtailed her official duties. She spent most of the summer at the Kennedys' rented home on Squaw Island, near the Kennedy family's Cape Cod compound at Hyannis Port, where she went into premature labor on August 7, 1963. She gave birth to a boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, via emergency Caesarian section at Otis Air Force Base, five and a half weeks prematurely. His lungs were not fully developed, and he died at Boston Children's Hospital of hyaline membrane disease (now known as respiratory distress syndrome) on August 9, 1963. [41]

Assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy

John & Jacqueline Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas on the day of the assassination
The Presidential limousine before the assassination. Jacqueline is in the back seat to the President's left.
Jackie wearing her blood-stained pink suit while Johnson took oath of office as president.

On November 21, 1963, the First Couple left the White House for a political trip to Texas, stopping in San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth that day. After a breakfast on November 22, the Kennedys flew from Fort Worth's Carswell Air Force Base to Dallas's Love Field on Air Force One, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie.[42] She was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit.[5][6] 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 limousine, with the Governor and his wife seated in front of them. Vice President 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. The final shot struck the President in the head.[43] Shocked, she climbed out of the back seat and crawled over the trunk of the car. 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.[43][44] Hill ran to the car and leapt onto it, directing her back to her seat. The car rushed to Dallas's Parkland Hospital, and on arrival there, the president's body was rushed into a trauma room. The First Lady, for the moment, remained in a room for relatives and friends of patients just outside.

A few minutes into her husband's treatment, accompanied by the President's doctor, Admiral George Burkley, she left her folding chair outside Trauma Room One and attempted to enter the operating room. Nurse Doris Nelson stopped her and attempted to bar the door to prevent her from entering. She persisted, and the President's doctor suggested that she take a sedative, which she refused. "I want to be there when he dies," she told Burkley. He eventually persuaded Nelson to grant her access to Trauma Room One, saying "It's her right, it's her prerogative."[43]

Later, when the casket arrived, the widow removed her wedding ring and slipped it onto the President's finger. She told aide Ken O'Donnell, "Now I have nothing left."[42]

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

After the president's death, she refused to remove her blood-stained clothing, and 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."[45]

Kennedy took an active role in planning the details of her husband's state funeral, which was based on Abraham Lincoln's. 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 would light the eternal flame at the grave site, 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."[46]

Following the assassination and the media coverage which had focused intensely on her during and after the burial, Kennedy 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 of Jackie Kennedy 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 in 1994. Approximately 8.5 hours in length, the tapes contain an interview with Arthur Schlesinger Jr. In it Jackie reveals her thoughts on the vice-president, Lyndon B. Johnson, and civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.. She 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.[47][48]


Life following the JFK assassination

Jackie Kennedy's Official White House Portrait by Aaron Shikler.

A week after her husband's assassination, Kennedy was interviewed in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, on November 29 by Theodore H. White of Life magazine. In that session, she 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.[49]

Her steadiness and courage after her husband's assassination and funeral won her admiration around the world.[42] Following his death, Kennedy and her children remained in their quarters in the White House for two weeks, preparing to vacate. They spent the winter of 1964 in Averell Harriman's home in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., before purchasing her own home on the same street. Later in 1964, in the hope of having more privacy for her children,[50] Kennedy decided to buy an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City and 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,[51] making few public appearances; during this time, Caroline told one of her teachers that her mother cried frequently.[52][53]

Kennedy perpetuated her husband's memory by attending selected memorial dedications. These included the 1967 christening of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) (decommissioned in 2007), in Newport News, Virginia, and a memorial in Hyannisport. They also included the dedication of the United Kingdom's official memorial to President Kennedy at Runnymede, England, and the dedication of a park near New Ross, Ireland. She oversaw plans for the establishment of the John F. Kennedy Library, which is the repository for official papers of the Kennedy Administration. Original plans to have the library situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Harvard University, proved problematic for various reasons, so it is situated in Boston. The finished library, designed by I.M. Pei, includes a museum and was dedicated in Boston in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.

In November 1967, during the midst of the Vietnam War, Life magazine recognized Kennedy as "America's unofficial roving ambassador" during her visit to Cambodia when she met with Chief of State Norodom Sihanouk. During the visit, Kennedy joined Sihanouk on a visit to Angkor Wat.[54] At that point, diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cambodia had been broken since May 1965.[55]

Onassis marriage

In June 1968 when her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, she came to fear for her life and that of her children, saying "If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets...I want to get out of this country."[56] On October 20, 1968, she married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy, Greek shipping magnate, who was able to provide the privacy and security she needed for herself and her children.[56]

The wedding took place on Skorpios, Onassis's private island in the Ionian Sea, Greece. Following her marriage to Onassis, Kennedy-Onassis lost her right to Secret Service protection and her franking privilege, both of which are entitlements to a widow of U.S. president. As a result of the marriage, the media gave her the nickname "Jackie O", which remained a popular shorthand reference to her. She became the target of paparazzi who were following her.

Then tragedy struck again, as Aristotle Onassis's only son Alexander died in a plane crash in January 1973. Onassis's health began deteriorating rapidly and he died in Paris, on March 15, 1975. Kennedy-Onassis' 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 from Christina Onassis, Onassis's daughter and sole heir, a settlement of $26 million, waiving all other claims to the Onassis estate.

During their marriage, the couple resided in a home they rented in Bernardsville, New Jersey.[57]

Later years

Onassis's death in 1975 made Kennedy-Onassis, then nearly 46, 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 an editor at Viking Press. But, in 1978, 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 Edward M. Kennedy and described an assassination plot against him. Although Guinzburg cleared the book purchase and publication with Onassis, upon the publication of a negative New York Times review which asserted that Onassis held some responsibility for its publication, she abruptly resigned from Viking Press the next day.[58] She then moved to Doubleday as an associate editor under an old friend, John Sargent, living in New York City, Martha's Vineyard and the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts. From the mid 1970s until her death, her companion was Maurice Tempelsman, a Belgian-born industrialist and diamond merchant who was long separated from his wife.[59]

She also continued to be the subject of much press attention, most notoriously involving the photographer Ron Galella. He followed her around and photographed her as she went about her day-to-day activities, obtaining candid, iconic photos of her.[60] She ultimately obtained a restraining order against him and the situation brought attention to paparazzi-style photography.[61] In 1995, John F. Kennedy Jr. allowed Galella to photograph him at public events.

Among the many books Kennedy-Onassis edited was Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe. He expressed his gratitude in the acknowledgments in Volume 2.

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1986 during a visit from the President and First Lady, Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Kennedy-Onassis 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 Onassis's encouragement in the foreword. The novel, which received literary acclaim when it was published by Doubleday,[62] was later adapted into a television miniseries of the same name (1998) starring Halle Berry.[63]

She also worked to preserve and protect America's cultural heritage. The notable results of her hard work include Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C, and Grand Central Terminal, New York City's historic railroad station.[35] While she was First Lady, she helped to stop the destruction of historic homes in Lafayette Square, because she felt that these buildings were an important part of the nation's capital and played an essential role in its history.[35] Later, in New York City, she led a historic preservation campaign to save from demolition and renovate Grand Central Terminal.[50] 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;[50] the project was cancelled, but a large twin-towered skyscraper would later fill in that spot in 2003, the Time Warner Center.

From her apartment windows in New York City she had a splendid view of a glass enclosed wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art which displays the Temple of Dendur. This was a gift from Egypt to the U.S. in gratitude for the generosity of the Kennedy administration, who 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.[10]

Death

In January 1994, Onassis was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.[64] 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 her daughter, having previously been a three-pack-a-day smoker.[65] Onassis continued her work with Doubleday, but curtailed her schedule. By April, the cancer had spread, and she made her last trip home from New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center on May 18, 1994. A large crowd of well-wishers, tourists, and reporters gathered on the street outside her apartment. Onassis died in her sleep at 10:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, two and a half months before her 65th birthday. In announcing her death, Kennedy-Onassis' son, John Kennedy Jr., 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."[66]

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

Onassis' funeral was held on May 23 at Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan — the church where she was baptized in 1929, and confirmed as a teenager.[67] 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.[51][68]

In her will, Onassis left her children Caroline and John an estate valued at $43.7 million by its executors.[69]

Fashion icon

John & Jacqueline Kennedy watching America's Cup race on board the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., September 1962.

During her husband's presidency, Jacqueline Kennedy became a symbol of fashion for women all over the world. 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. 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 an overnight success around the world that quickly became known as the "Jackie" look.[70] 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.[1]

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 were her new look. She often chose to wear brighter colors and patterns and even began wearing jeans in public.[71] Beltless, white jeans with a black turtleneck, never tucked in, but pulled down over the hips, also was a fashion trend that she set.[72]

Throughout her lifetime, Kennedy 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.[73] Schlumberger's gold and enamel bracelets were worn by Kennedy so frequently in the early and mid-1960s that the press called them "Jackie bracelets". His white enamel and gold "banana" earrings were also favored by her. Kennedy wore jewelry designed by Van Cleef & Arpels throughout the 1950s,[74] 1960s[74] and 1970s. Her sentimental favorite was the wedding ring given to her by President Kennedy, also from Van Cleef & Arpels.[75]

Honors and memorials

A 2007 view across the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, located in New York City, New York. Joggers use the running path encircling the reservoir, located in the northern portion of the park.
  • The main reservoir in Central Park, located in New York City, New York, was renamed in her honor as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
  • 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.[76]
  • 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.[77]
  • The White House's East Garden was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden in her honor.
  • 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.[78] 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.
  • The companion book for a series of interviews between mythologist Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, was created under the direction of Onassis, 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 to Onassis. The dedication read: "To Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As you sail on to Ithaka." Ithaka was a reference to the C.P. Cavafy poem that Maurice Tempelsman read at her funeral.
  • 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.

Cultural depictions

See also

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References

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Further reading

  • Abbott, James A (1995). A Frenchman in Camelot: The Decoration of the Kennedy White House by Stéphane Boudin. Boscobel Restoration Inc. ISBN 0-9646659-0-5.
  • Abbott James A., and Elaine M. Rice (1998). Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration. Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-02532-7.
  • Abbott, James A (2006). Jansen. Acanthus Press. ISBN 0-926494-33-3.
  • Baldrige, Letitia (1998). In the Kennedy Style: Magical Evenings in the Kennedy White House. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-48964-1.
  • Bowles, Hamish; Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M.; Mellon, Rachel (2001). Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. bulfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-8212-2745-9.
  • Cassini, Oleg (1995). A Thousand Days of Magic: Dressing the First Lady for the White House. Rizzoli International Publications. ISBN 0-8478-1900-0.
  • Perry, Barbara A. (2004). Jacqueline Kennedy: First Lady of the New Frontier. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1343-4.
  • Taraborrelli, J. Randy (2000). Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-52426-3.
  • West, J.B. with Mary Lynn Kotz (1973). Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan. SBN 698-10546-X.
  • Wolff, Perry (1962). A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Doubleday & Company.
  • Exhibition Catalogue, Sale 6834: The Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis April 23–26, 1996. Sothebys: 1996.
  • The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. ISBN 0-912308-79-6.

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