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Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was the wife of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963marker. She was later married to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis from 1968 until his death in 1975. In later years she had a successful career as a book editor. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and historic preservation, her style and elegance, and her public stoicism in the wake of President Kennedy's assassination.

Early life

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born in Southampton, New Yorkmarker to Wall Street stock broker John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee. Jacqueline had a younger sister, Caroline Lee, known as Lee, born in 1933. Her parents divorced in 1940 and her mother married Standard Oil heir Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jr. in 1942. Through Janet's second marriage, Jacqueline gained a half sister and a half brother, Janet and James Auchincloss.

On her mother's side, Jacqueline was of half Irish descent, and on her father's side, one-sixteenth French and English. Michael Bouvier, Jacqueline's great-great-grandfather and closest French ancestor, was a contemporary of Joseph Bonaparte and Stephen Girard. He was a Philadelphia-based cabinetmaker, merchant and real estate speculator.

She spent her early years in New York Citymarker and East Hampton, New Yorkmarker at the Bouvier family estate, "Lasatamarker". Following their parents' divorce, Jacqueline and Lee divided their time between their mother's homes in McLean, Virginiamarker and Newport, Rhode Islandmarker and their father's homes in New York City and Long Islandmarker.

At a very early age she became an enthusiastic equestrienne, and horse-riding would remain a lifelong passion. As a child, she also enjoyed drawing, reading and lacrosse.

Education and young adulthood

Bouvier pursued her secondary education at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Marylandmarker (1942–1944) and Miss Porter's Schoolmarker in Farmington, Connecticutmarker (1944–1947).

When she made her society debut in 1947, Hearst columnist Igor Cassini dubbed her Debutante of the Year.

Bouvier spent her first two years of college at Vassar Collegemarker in Poughkeepsie, New Yorkmarker, and spent her junior year (1949–1950) in Francemarker at the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonnemarker in a program through Smith Collegemarker. Upon returning home to the United States, she transferred to George Washington Universitymarker in Washington, D.C.marker, graduating in 1951 with a bachelor of arts degree in French literature. 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. This trip was the subject of Kennedy's only autobiographical book, One Special Summer, which is also the only one of her publications to feature her drawings.

Following her graduation, Bouvier was hired as the 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 alongside selected quotations from their responses in the newspaper. During this time, she was engaged to a young stock broker, John Husted, for three months.

Kennedy marriage and family

Jacqueline Kennedy at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island on the day of her wedding in 1953.
Jacqueline and then-Senator John Kennedy belonged to the same social circle and often attended the same functions. In May 1952, at a dinner party organized by mutual friends, they were formally introduced for the first time. The two began dating soon afterward, and their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.

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

The wedding cake was created by Plourde's Bakery in Fall River, Massachusettsmarker. The wedding dress, now housed in the Kennedy Librarymarker in Boston, Massachusettsmarker, and the dresses of her attendants were created by designer Ann Lowe of New York City.

The two honeymooned in Acapulcomarker, Mexico and settled in McLean, Virginiamarker.

Jacqueline suffered a miscarriage in 1955 and gave birth to a stillborn baby girl in 1956. That same year, the couple sold their estate, Hickory Hillmarker to Robert and Ethel Kennedy and moved to a townhouse on N Street in Georgetownmarker. Kennedy subsequently gave birth to a second daughter, Caroline, in 1957, and a son, John, in 1960, both via Caesarian section.

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 Vineyardmarker 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, at the age of two days.

First Lady of the United States

Campaign for Presidency

Jacqueline Kennedy campaigning alongside her husband in Appleton, Wisconsin, in March 1960
On January 2, 1960, John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Presidency and launched his nationwide campaign. Though she had initially intended to take an active role in the campaign, Kennedy learned that she was pregnant shortly after the campaign commenced. Due to her previous difficult pregnancies, Kennedy's doctor instructed her to stay at home. 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." She made rare personal appearances.

As First Lady

[[Image:JBKJFKMalraux.jpg|thumb|right|Mrs. Kennedy, the president, 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. Mrs. Kennedy wears a gown designed by Oleg Cassini.]]

In the general election on November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Republican Richard Nixon in the U.S. presidential election. A little over two weeks later, Mrs. Kennedy gave birth to the couple's first son, John, Jr. 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.

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.

Kennedy is remembered for reorganizing entertainment for White House Social events, seeking to restore several White House interiors, her taste in clothing worn during Kennedy's Presidency, her popularity among foreign dignitaries, and leading the country in mourning after her husband's assassination in 1963.

Kennedy ranks among the most popular of First Ladies.

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.

Perhaps due to her skill at entertaining, Kennedy proved quite popular among international dignitaries. When Soviet Premier Khrushchev was asked to shake President Kennedy's hand for a photo, Krushchev said, "I'd like to shake her hand first." Jacqueline was well received in Paris, France when she visited with Kennedy, and when she traveled with Lee to India in 1962.

White House restoration

The restoration of the White House was Jacqueline Kennedy's first major project. 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 and included 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; she also asked early American furniture expert Henry du Pont to consult.

Her skillful management of this project was hardly noted at the time, except in terms of gossipy shock at repeated repainting of a room, or the high cost of the antique Zuber wallpaper panels installed in the family dining room ($12,000 in donated funds), but later accounts have noted that she managed the conflicting agendas of Parish, du Pont, and Boudin with seamless success; 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 Institutionmarker, 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.

On February 14, 1962, Mrs. Kennedy took American television viewers on a tour of the White Housemarker with Charles Collingwood of CBS. 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." Working with Rachel Lambert Mellon, Mrs. Kennedy oversaw redesign and replanting of the White House Rose Gardenmarker and the East Garden, which was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Gardenmarker 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.

Broadcasting of the White House restoration greatly helped the Kennedy administration. The United States sought international support during the Cold War, which it achieved by affecting public opinion. Mrs. Kennedy’s celebrity and high profile status made viewing the tour of the White house very desirable. The tour was taped 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 actual 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.

Foreign trips

Before the Kennedys visited France, a television special was shot in French with Mrs. Kennedy on the White House lawn. When the Kennedys visited France, she'd already won the hearts of the French people, impressing the French public with her ability to speak French. 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!"

At the urging of John Kenneth Galbraith, President Kennedy's ambassador to India, Mrs. Kennedy 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 Mrs Kennedy's widely-noted concern with clothes and other frivolity and, on personal acquaintance, her considerable intellect.

While in Karachimarker she found some time to take a ride on a camel with her sister. In Lahoremarker, Pakistani President Ayub Khan presented Mrs. Kennedy with a much-photographed horse, Sardar (the Urdu term meaning ‘leader’). Subsequently this gift was widely misattributed to the king of Saudi Arabiamarker, including in the various recollections of the Kennedy White House years by President Kennedy's friend, journalist and editor Benjamin Bradlee. It has never become clear whether this general misattribution of the gift was carelessness or a deliberate effort to deflect attention from the USA's preference for Pakistan over India. While at a reception for herself at Shalimar Gardensmarker, Mrs. 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." While in Lahore, she had a friendly chat with Iranianmarker Empress Farah Pahlavi, whom many compared to Mrs. Kennedy.

Death of youngest 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 Codmarker compound at Hyannis Portmarker, 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 Basemarker, five and a half weeks prematurely. His lungs were not fully developed, and he died at Boston Children's Hospitalmarker of hyaline membrane disease (now known as respiratory distress syndrome) on August 9, 1963. The couple was devastated by the loss of their infant son, and that tragedy brought them closer together than ever before.

Assassination and funeral of John F. Kennedy

On November 21, 1963, the First Couple left the White House for a political trip to Texas, stopping in San Antoniomarker, Houstonmarker, and Fort Worthmarker that day. After a breakfast on November 22, the Kennedys flew from Carswell Air Force Basemarker to Dallas's Love Fieldmarker on Air Force One, accompanied by Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie. A motorcade was to take them to the Trademart where the President was scheduled to speak at a lunch. Mrs. Kennedy 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 Plazamarker, Mrs. Kennedy 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. Mrs. Kennedy, who had been thrust into a state of shock by the disaster, climbed out of the back seat and half crawled over the trunk of the car (she later had no recollection at all of having done this). Her Secret Service agent, Clint Hill, later told the Warren Commission that he thought she had been reaching for a piece of the President's skull that had blown off. Hill ran to the car and leapt onto it, directing Mrs. Kennedy 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. Mrs. Kennedy, for the moment, remained in a room for relatives and friends of patients just outside.

A few minutes into her husband's treatment, Mrs. Kennedy, accompanied by the President's doctor, Admiral George Burkley, 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 Mrs. Kennedy 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".

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."

After the president's death, Mrs. Kennedy 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."

Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, John Jr., Caroline, and Peter Lawford depart the U.S.
Capitol after a lying-in-state ceremony for John Fitzgerald Kennedy, November 24, 1963

Mrs. Kennedy took an active role in planning the details of the state funeral for her husband, which was based on Abraham Lincoln's. The funeral service was held at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Washington D.C., and the burial at Arlington National Cemeterymarker; 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 Jean Campbell reported back to The London Evening Standard: "Jacqueline Kennedy has given the American people… one thing they have always lacked: Majesty." The widow was not unaware of the powerful effect she was making. Though Mrs. Kennedy was deeply distraught by the loss, she also showed a steely determination to make this the solemn outgoing show of her husband's era; Lyndon Johnson was practically eclipsed on November 25.

Following the assassination and the media coverage which had focused intensely on her during and after the burial, Mrs. 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.

Life following the assassination

A week after the assassination, Mrs. Kennedy was interviewed in Hyannisport 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.
Jackie Kennedy's Official White House Portrait
The steadiness and courage of Kennedy during her husband's assassination and funeral won her admiration around the world. Following his death, Kennedy and her children remained in their quarters in the White House for two weeks, preparing to vacate. Kennedy and her children spent the winter of 1964 in Averell Harriman's home in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C.marker, before purchasing her own home on another block of the same street. Later in 1964, In the hope of having more privacy for her children , Mrs. Kennedy decided to acquire an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York and sold her new Georgetown house; she also sold the country home in Atoka, Virginia, where she and President Kennedy had intended to retire. She spent a year in mourning, making few public appearances; during this time, Caroline told one of her teachers that her mother cried frequently.

Mrs. Kennedy perpetuated her husband's memory by attending selected memorial dedications. These included the 1967 christening of the Navy aircraft carrier (decommissioned in 2007), in Newport News, Virginia, and a memorial in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. They also included the dedication of the United Kingdom's official memorial to President Kennedy at Runnymedemarker, England and the dedication of a park near New Rossmarker, Irelandmarker. She oversaw plans for the establishment of the John F. Kennedy Librarymarker, which is the repository for official papers of the Kennedy Administration. Original plans to have the library situated in Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker, near Harvard Universitymarker, 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.

Onassis marriage

During her widowhood, Jacqueline was romantically linked by the press to a few men, notably David Ormsby-Gore and Roswell Gilpatric. But 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." On October 20, 1968 she married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy, Greek shipping magnate, who was able to provide her family with the privacy and security she needed for herself and her children.

The wedding took place on Skorpiosmarker, Onassis's private island in the Ionian Seamarker, Greece. Jacqueline gave up Secret Service protection and her Franking Privilege, to which a widow of a president of the United States is entitled, after her marriage to Onassis. As a result of the marriage, the media gave her the nickname "Jackie O." which has remained a popular shorthand reference to her.

For a time, the marriage brought her adverse publicity and seemed to tarnish the image of the grieving presidential widow , and she became the target of paparazzi who were following her everywhere much to her displeasure and dismay. Despite it all, the marriage initially seemed successful enough, the couple dividing their time between New York City, Paris and Skorpios.

Then tragedy struck again, as Onassis's only son Alexander died in a plane crash in January 1973. The once invincible Onassis was left a broken and disillusioned man and the marriage turned sour. His health began deteriorating rapidly and he died in Paris, on March 15, 1975. Her 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, Jacqueline eventually accepted from Christina Onassis, Onassis's daughter and sole heir, a settlement of $26,000,000, waiving all other claims to the Onassis estate.

Later years

Onassis's death in 1975 made Mrs. Onassis, then 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 Jacqueline 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 Mrs. Onassis, upon the publication of a negative Sunday New York Times review which asserted that Mrs. Onassis held some blame for its publication, she abruptly resigned from Viking Press the next day. She then moved to Doubleday as an associate editor under an old friend, John Sargent, living in New York City, Martha's Vineyardmarker and the Kennedy Compoundmarker in Hyannis, Massachusettsmarker. 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.

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. She ultimately obtained a restraining order against him and the situation brought attention to paparazzi-style photography. In 1995, John F. Kennedy Jr. allowed Galella to photograph him at public events.

Among the many books she edited was Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe. He expressed his gratitude in the acknowledgments in Volume 2. Mrs. Onassis's continuing charisma is indicated by the delight the Canadian author Robertson Davies took in discovering that at a commencement exercise at an American university at which he was being honored, Jacqueline Kennedy was on hand, circulating among the honorees.

Jacqueline Onassis also appreciated the contributions of African-American writers to the American literary canon. She encouraged Dorothy West, her neighbor on Martha's Vineyardmarker and the last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance, to complete The Wedding, a multi-generational story about race, class, wealth, and power in the United States. The novel received great literary acclaim when it was published by Doubleday in 1995; in 1998 Oprah Winfrey introduced the story via a television film of the same name starring Halle Berry. Dorothy West acknowledged Jacqueline Onassis's kind encouragement in the foreword.

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 Terminalmarker, New York's beloved historic railroad station. 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. Later, in New York City, she led a historic preservation campaign to save and renovate Grand Central Terminal from demolition. 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 Circlemarker which would have cast large shadows on Central Parkmarker, the project was cancelled, but a large twin towered skyscraper would later fill in that spot in 2003, the Time Warner Centermarker.

From her apartment windows in New York City she had a splendid view of a glass enclosed wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Artmarker which displays the Temple of Dendurmarker. This was a gift from Egyptmarker to the United States 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 Dammarker.


In January 1994, Onassis was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. Her diagnosis was announced to the public in February. The family and doctors were initially optimistic, and she stopped smoking at the insistence of her daughter. 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, Jacqueline's 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."

Onassis' funeral was held on May 23 at Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan - the church where she was baptized in 1929. 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 at Arlington National Cemeterymarker in Arlington, Virginiamarker.

In her will, Onassis left her children Caroline and John an estate valued at $200 million by its executors.

Fashion icon

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. Her clean suit, sleeveless A-line dresses and famous pillbox hats were an overnight success around the world and became known as the "Jackie" look. 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.

In the years after the White House, her style changed dramatically. Gone were the modest "campaign wife" clothes. Wide-leg pantsuits, large lapel jackets, silk Hermes 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. She also experimented with different styles, often wearing a large amount of jewelry, hoop earrings with her hair pulled back, and gypsy skirts.


In December 1999, Onassis was among 18 included in Gallup's List of Widely Admired People of the 20th Century, from a poll conducted of the American people.

Honors and memorials

Onassis's legacy has been memorialized in various aspects of American culture. They include:

  • Central Parkmarker's main reservoir was renamed in her honor as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoirmarker.
  • At George Washington Universitymarker, 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.
  • The White Housemarker's East Garden was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Gardenmarker 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. In addition, they are included on the list aboard NASAmarker'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 Onassis. As you sail on to Ithaka." Ithakamarker was a reference to the C.P. Cavafy poem that Maurice Tempelsman read at her funeral.

Cultural depictions

Onassis is frequently alluded to and depicted in various forms of popular culture, including films, television series, cartoon series, video games and music. Numerous books and plays have been written about her.

Further reading

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


  1. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Jacqueline Kennedy in the White House
  3.|title=What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons From the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis|author=Tina Santi Flaherty|accessdate=2009-8-17
  4. The First Ladies Fact Book: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, by Bill Harris & Laura Ross, 2009
  5. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life, by Donald Spoto, 2000
  6. Bouvier, Jacqueline and Lee. One Special Summer. New York: Delacorte Press, 1974.
  7. B. Hill & L. Ross, ibid.
  8. B. Hill & L. Ross, ibid.
  9. Donald Spoto, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life (2000), 84–92; ISBN 0312977077
  10. [1]Special Exhibit Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy.
  11. Rosemary E. Reed Miller, The Threads of Time (2007)
  12. Sally Bedell Smith, Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House (2004)
  13. Jan Pottker, Janet and Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter
  14. Time Magazine, April 26, 1963, ibid.
  15. Barbara Harrison & Daniel Terris, A Twilight Struggle: The Life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1992)
  16. Molly Meijer Wertheime, Inventing a Voice: The Rhetoric of American First Ladies of the Twentieth Century (2004)
  17. Carl Sferrazza Anthon, As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family and Friends (2003)
  18. A Thousand Days of Magic page 153 by Oleg Cassini
  19. Looking Backward: A Reintroduction to American History, by Lloyd C. Gardner, William L. O'Neill
  20. All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families, by Doug Wead, 2004
  21. The Presidents' First Ladies, by Rae Lindsay, 2001
  22. Camel ride pic
  23. During the years when India under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (whom President Kennedy strongly eschewed) was attempting to forge a policy of non-alignment vis-a-vis the USA and the Soviet Union, American and western public opinion in general was sympathetic to India.
  24. Benign Competition - TIME
  25. Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot. Warner Books: 2000. ISBN 0-446-52426-3
  26. William Manchester, Death of a President, 1967
  27. W. Manchester, ibid.
  29. ibid., p. 82–99
  30. Manchester, Death of a President, 1967
  31. Bugliosi ibid., p. 144–145.
  32. New York Times Her Majesty: Book Review December 17, 2000, William Norwich: America's Queen — The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Sarah Bradford. Illustrated. 500 pp. Viking, New York. "Bradford appears to concur with Lady Jean Campbell, who attended President Kennedy's funeral and wired back to The Evening Standard of London her conviction that the first lady had 'given the American people from this day on the one thing they always lacked — majesty.'"
  33. LIFE Magazine, December 6, 1963: Vol. 55, No. 23, ISSN 0024-3019
  34. Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi
  35. The eloquent Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: a portrait in her own words, Volume 1, by Bill Adler
  36. The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club: Power, Passion, and Politics in the Nation's Capital, by C. David Heymann
  38. American Legacy: The Story of John & Caroline Kennedy, by Clemens David Heymann
  39. Sweet Caroline: Last Child of Camelot, by Christopher P. Andersen
  40. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis at Arlington National Cemetery website
  41. MoMa collection photo
  42. Nicholas A. Basbanes, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. New York: Owl Books, 1999, p. 32.
  43. Arlington National Cemetery Once More, A Service in Arlington Mrs. Onassis Laid to Rest Beside the Eternal Flame retrieved November 3, 2006
  44. [2]
  45. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School
  46. Department of Environmental Protection, DEP Unveils Signs Renaming Central Park Reservoir As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, retrieved November 12, 2006

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