The Modern First Ladies- The Introcuction

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

Known the world over as probably the  most fashion forward first lady- say that five times lol- in American history, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy is one of my favorite style icons and personal hero. Though she was a  fashion icon, there was much  more to her than being consistently well dressed. The 5’8 doe-eyed Burnett was  was born on July 28, 1929 in Southampton, New York.  The daughter of an affluent Wall Street stockbroker- John Vernou Bouvier III- , and a decorated equestrian-, Janet Lee Bouvier, Jackie , by all accounts, lived a privileged childhood. According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum , she attended Miss Porter’s School for Girls in Connecticut and Vassar College, where she excelled in history, literature, art and French. After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris for her junior year in 1949, she returned to the United States to earn a degree in French literature from George Washington University.

Jacqueline Kennedy working as an Editor at Viking Press

An avid and quite talented writer, with a passion for reading and horse back riding,   Jackie won a prestigious “Vogue” magazine contest in 1950 that led to a year-long position as a trainee at Vogue, spending six months in their New York office and six months in the Paris office. Her first official job came two years later as a photographer for ” The Washington-Times Herald”

Jacqueline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy

The future first lady met her would be husband , John,  the senior senator from Massachusetts  in 1952. The pair married a year later on September 12, 1953 at St. Mary’s Church in Newport. In January 1960 John F. Kennedy announced his campaign for presidency. Though she was pregnant at the time, Jackie remained active in her husbands campaign, answering campaign mail, taping TV commercials, giving interviews and writing “Campaign Wife,” a syndicated column carried across the nation.

Jacqueline Kennedy with JFK and John junior

At tender age of 31 Jackie became the third youngest first lady in U.S. history and , according to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum,  the first to be the mother of an infant since the turn of the century. As first lady, she redecorated the family quarters of the White House and historically restored the public rooms. Her warm personality and  knowledge of different cultures was a great help to her husband.

“It was the extraordinary warm welcome afforded to the French-speaking Mrs. Kennedy during her visit to Paris in May 1961 that prompted President Kennedy’s remark, “I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself…I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.”.”- JFK Presidential Library and Museum

Jackie Kennedy Collage

On November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and Jacqueline Kennedy became a widow at age 34. According to the JFK Presidential Library after President Kennedy’s death, she began the work to build the John F. Kennedy Library which would commemorate her husband’s life. She chose then-unknown architect I.M. Pei to design the Library and decided upon a striking location overlooking Boston Harbor.

Jackie at JFK's funeral

She married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis five years later in 1968. After his death she went on to enjoy a successful career in publishing.

Jackie and John Jr.

On May 19, 1994 Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis died in her New York City home. She was laid to rest beside President Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, DC.

Jacqueline Kennedy


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