Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, born July 28, 1929, is remembered for her style, elegance, and her contributions to the arts. Jackie was well educated, beginning her college years at Vassar, studying abroad at the Sorbonne, and finishing a degree in French Literature at George Washington University. After graduation, she worked as a photographer for The Washington Times-Hearald.

It was during this time that Jackie was formally introduced to the handsome US Representative John F. Kennedy. They were formally introduced in May of 1952 and the relationship became more serious after John’s election to the US Senate. They married on September 12, 1953 in what some considered the social event of the season. But behind the scenes life wasn’t a fairy tale. John suffered from Addison’s disease and severe back pain that required surgery in 1954 in which he almost died. Jackie suffered a miscarriage in 1955 and had a stillborn daughter in 1956.

When John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for President of the US, Jackie intended to actively campaign, but soon found out that she was pregnant. In spite of giving birth to a healthy Caroline in 1957, because of her earlier difficult pregnancies her doctors recommended that she curtale her activities. Instead she taped television interviews, answered letters and wrote a weekly newpaper column called “Campaign Wife.”

Jackie campaigning with John in March 1960. Photo © by Jeff Dean.

Jackie campaigning with John in March 1960. Photo © by Jeff Dean.

November of 1960 brought good news. John F. Kennedy was elected President of the US and weeks later on November 25, John F. Kennedy Jr. was born healthy. Jackie was a much loved First Lady. She was popular with the American people as well as foreign dignitaries. Her social acumen and fashion sense were admired as well as her work in restoring the White House.

1963 brought tragedy again. In August, Jackie gave birth to Patrick Bouvier Kennedy who only lived for two days. Then in November of the same year, John was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Jackie handled herself with customary dignity, standing beside Lyndon Johnson when he took the oath of office and taking an active role in planning John’s funeral.

Five years later in October 1968, Jackie married Aristotle Onassis. Just four months after the assassination of Robert Kennedy, she lost her Secret Service protection because of remarriage. But Aristotle was very wealthy and able to provide the security she needed. They had six years together before Jackie was once again a widow.

After Onassis died, Jackie became a book editor, working for Viking Press and Doubleday. She also continued her work in historical preservation. In January 1994, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She died in her home with family on May 18, 1994.

See what else happened on July 28 in Women’s History.

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