Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Kennedy OnassisJacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was born on July 28, 1929 in Southampton, New York, and died on May 19, 1994 in New York City. She was the First Lady to John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, from his inauguration in 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

Jacqueline Kennedy grew up in New York, where her father, John Bouvier, III, was a stockbroker for the New York stock exchange and her mother, Janet, had been an acclaimed horsewoman.  Kennedy’s parents divorced in 1940, and her mother remarried two more times during her life.  Jacqueline Kennedy received a bachelor’s degree in French literature in 1950 from George Washington University and later took classes in American history at Georgetown University.  Before serving as First Lady of the United States, Kennedy worked for the Washington Times-Herald as a camera reporter, a job in which she was required to interview and photograph many prominent Washington politicians.

After marrying John F. Kennedy in 1953, she assisted him as Senator, responding to mail, translating articles, and presenting campaign speeches in Italian, French, and Spanish to minority voters.

As First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy was known for her historic preservation of the White House, support for the arts, and advocate for international diplomacy.  During her first weeks and months as First Lady, Kennedy created a committee to accurately restore the White House’s furnishings, artwork, and books; she solicited donations of historic items, and created both the White House Historical Association and the federal position of White House Curator.

As a proponent of the arts, she hosted American performances of operas, ballets, Shakespeare plays, and jazz, and she helped to create a National Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., now known as the Kennedy Center. As an untiring supporter of her husband, she traveled to more countries than any of her First Lady predecessors, forging and supporting good relations with leaders in France, Austria, England, Greece, Venezuela, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, and Turkey.

Finally, Jacqueline Kennedy is well known for her high fashion and numerous media appearances.  Kennedy often designed her own gowns, and women around the world soon began seeking apparel designed by clothing companies that imitated her elegant style. Unlike her predecessors, Kennedy appeared on television multiple times, had her own press secretary, and was featured on the cover of many popular magazines.

After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, helped create the John F. Kennedy library, traveled and spoke around the world, and helped to save and revitalize many public areas in New York City.

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