Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Kennedy Onassis (born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier) was born on the 28th of July, 1929, in Southampton, New York. She was the wife of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
Jackie served as First Lady during John’s presidency from 1961 to his assassination in 1963. In 1952, she met a flamboyant young congressman from Massachusetts and Senator-elect at a dinner party, and this young man, named John F. Kennedy, asked her out, and the couple got married just one year later, on September 12th.
Jackie was enjoying a privileged childhood and received ballet lessons at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House and she also had French lessons from age 12 onward. Just like her mother, Jacqueline loved horseback riding and she became actually so highly skilled that already in 1940, at the young age of just 11, she was winning a national junior competition in horsemanship.
After Jackie had given birth to Caroline, her first child, in 1957, she stimulated Kennedy to start writing, resulting in his famous book ‘Profiles in Courage’, about great U.S. Senators who had been risking their careers to fight for causes they believed in. Jackie had received her education at Miss Porter’s School, a highly prestigious Connecticut boarding school where students also became educated in the proper art of conversation. She was excelling there but had greater ambitions than just being recognized for popularity and beauty.
Jacqueline subsequently enrolled at New York’s Vassar University where she studied literature, history, art, and French, and she spent her junior year studying in Paris. That year was, as she said, her life’s best year. When she came back from Europe, Onassis transferred to D.C.’s George Washington University to graduate in French literature.
When in early 1960, John announced he would run for the U.S. presidency, Jackie was pregnant so she couldn’t join him on his campaign trail, but she was campaigning fanatically from home, answering letters, giving interviews, recording commercials, and writing a weekly column called the ‘Campaign Wife’.
On November 8, 1960, John defeated Richard Nixon to become the 35th president of the United States, and just three weeks later, Jackie gave birth to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., the couple’s second child. Jacqueline was known for her elegance and style, and when the couple moved into the White House, she started to restore it to its former, original grandeur and elegance.
The first thing she did as America’s First Lady was the transformation of the White House to a museum of American history and culture to stimulate public service and patriotism. In early 1962, she hosted a tour on national television of the restored and renewed White House that was watched by 56 million viewers, a historic record, which earned her an honorary Emmy Award.
After JFK got assassinated in 1963, on November 22nd in Dallas, Jacqueline moved to New York City and in 1968 she married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate. She died of lymphatic cancer at her New York City apartment in 1994, just 64 years old.