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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

public figure,

[[File:Silver Pitcher presented to White House (Portrait).jpg|thumb|right|I think my biggest achievement is that, after going through a rather difficult time, I consider myself of everyone. It was always happening in front of everyone, a ghastly carnival replay of the worst thing that can happen.


  • By this time, there could be no doubt that Jackie had survived and thrived. McNamara, by contrast, was a disappointed and defeated man. Jackie, after numerous failed attempts, had finally succeeded in fashioning a new life.
    • Barbara Leaming on Onassis' later years, in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story (2014).
  • As she had done so many times in the decades since Dallas, she again grappled with the randomness of the world and the abruptness of tragedy.
    • Barbara Leaming on Onassis' cancer diagnosis, in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story (2014).
  • Jackie loved in Jack the man he wanted to be, and David was the man helping him, in her eyes, to be the man Jack wanted to be.


  • Jackie Kennedy's letters underline the behind-the-scenes role of Halle, who urged President Kennedy to bestow honorary U.S. citizenship upon Winston Churchill at special 1963 Rose Garden ceremony. But more importantly, the Halle correspondence provides further insight into the first lady's relationship with JFK during their White House years and the painful aftermath of her husband's November 1963 killing.
  • To be sure, a generation of Americans admired Jacqueline Kennedy's extraordinary grace and courage during her husband's funeral and were naturally protective of her privacy when she was alive. But a wealth of letters and other documents -- including an extensive oral history by Mrs. Kennedy kept under wraps at the JFK Library until 2011 -- remained out of sight, well past her death in 1994, leaving the historical record incomplete.
  • Documents like these are essential tools to gaining a clear and complete understanding our past. Surely, both JFK and Jackie Kennedy, with their keen sense of history, would have understood.
  • Beautiful, intelligent, elegant and immaculately coutured, Jackie was an integral part of the “Camelot” of John F Kennedy’s presidency.
  • Although she would survive her husband by 30 years, she would be haunted and perhaps defined for the rest of her life by those catastrophic few seconds in Dallas when her husband was assassinated beside her.
  • "Jackie Onassis will save us," the famed modern architect Philip Johnson commented when she took the lead in the fight to stop a proposed 59-story office tower from being erected over Grand Central Station. Johnson’s praise, made in 1975, captures how dramatically Mrs. Kennedy altered the public’s view of her and how easy it is to forget, living as we do in the age of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, that, prior to the ’60s, presidential wives were seen but rarely heard, especially after their husbands left office.
  • In deciding what to do after she moved away from Washington, Mrs. Kennedy had before her only the modern example of Eleanor Roosevelt, who, following her husband’s death, took an active role in the United Nations and continued writing her newspaper column. But Mrs. Roosevelt was in her sixties when her husband died after 12 years in office. In 1964 Jackie Kennedy was just 35, the widow of a first-term president, when she began setting historical precedents of her own.
  • She looked so much better than the others, and you know why? If you look closely, you can see she had changed the buttons, the shoulders, even move the neckline.
  • If the fashion gods were to curate an exhibition on the world’s most iconic women and their wardrobes, Jackie Kennedy Onassis would undoubtedly feature in the fold. Jackie O - as she affectionately became known in modish circles and beyond - had the ultimate high octane and dramatic life, so her style followed suit.
  • Now Mrs Onassis, Jackie found freedom with threads: naughty thigh-high splits and European style twists blended well with her Mediterranean lifestyle. The perfectly tailored skirt suits and white gloves that epitomised her buttoned-up wardrobe era, were long gone and stayed in the museum of her stylish youth.
  • Never one to leave style behind, Jackie mastered the art of looking stunning without raising too many eyebrows.
  • Until Obama, the iconography of the first lady revolved around Jackie Kennedy. There had been glamorous president’s wives since – Nancy Reagan with her Dynasty gowns, say – but the notion of first lady chic remained almost synonymous with that sunny yet streamlined early-1960s style that is for ever Camelot. Half a century later, wives of heads of state all over the world are still measured against Kennedy, but the comparison is sharpest in the White House. Where her predecessors had tiptoed around the edges of Kennedy style, as if anxious to avoid the comparison, Obama has embraced many elements of the look and made them her own. The sleeveless shift dresses she favours are a direct link, as are the outsize strings of pearls, often framed by wide-set necklines. Even elements of the two women’s hair and makeup are similar, despite their physical difference: note the full, stiffly curled hair and the penchant for false eyelashes.


  • Jackie, as Kenny was about to find out, was an entirely different creature. Like Kenny, she did not give a damn what other people thought of her or her actions. She did what she wanted, a trait that both Jack and Kenny would alternately admire and, especially during the White House years, find maddening.
  • It was clear to the Irish Brotherhood that Jackie was a political asset. Kenny took note of it for the future, though this was not something he needed to write down on an envelope.
  • We had a day trip scheduled, and particularly during a trip like this, you never know what you are going to run into. So I was very concerned about how to handle Jackie. I wanted her to be happy and content. I wanted it to be a good day. My main concern was I did not want her to fall apart, start crying, and cause any trouble for the candidate. I would not have known what to do with a sobbing, hysterical woman.
  • I was astonished when I met her. Larry and I were prepared for a very high-strung, fragile, demanding china doll who couldn’t cope with anything. This is what the buildup had been. We did not know what the hell to expect. Well, I recall the day vividly because she was the most pleasant, sweet, beautiful, elegant child, and very funny. I found her to be that way from that point forward. She was and is simply a delight as a person. She never raised her voice. She never once complained. She was not enthusiastic, but she never complained. In truth, most politicians’ wives are not excited about this aspect of their lives, either, but most are phony and put on a big show. She never did that. She did exactly what you asked of her, but she was never a faker about it. She was not terribly interested in meeting the local politicians, whose big excitement was describing their local shoe factory. It wasn’t that unusual to not want to listen to some of those fellows. Half the time, I didn’t want to listen to them, either. I admired the fact that she wasn’t a phony. I noticed that the locals also seemed to admire the fact that she was not a faker. She was beautiful. Beautiful in a sense that these fellows were not accustomed to seeing. Jackie was very elegant and classy. Unusual, not your regular politician’s wife, but then Jack Kennedy was no average politician. She would travel with Jack, and he would introduce her. She would say a few words and knock everyone dead. All she had to do was say hello, and these average fellows were captivated. It really was a foreshadowing of the future. This was before she had become completely transformed, but you could see that it was coming.
  • She had not yet made the full transformation into this enormously popular national figure, but you could see the potential was there. For the first time, I also saw just how important she was to the senator. Her good humor and wonderful perspective kept him level-headed, and in politics that is critical for a candidate.
  • From the moment Jackie became First Lady, the public was transfixed by her unfussy approach to fashion and beauty. She guided women out of the prim dresses, stiff petticoat skirts and overly styled hairdos of the 1950s and into sleeker, more contemporary designs, such as the simple strapless gown by Christian Dior, worn at the White House in 1962.
  • Jackie guarded her privacy furiously, donning dark glasses – the ultimate celebrity armour – to shield herself from the paparazzi’s unblinking gaze. It’s a marker of her fashion muscle that from the moment she started wearing super-size shades, they instantly became a must-have.
  • Even off duty, Jackie’s dressed-down wardrobe was as masterclass in absolute glamour. Snapped on holiday in the 1970s with the designer Valentino, her carefree barefoot look boasts all the markers of classic Jackie O style: simple, unfussy separates, a monochrome palette, super-sized shades and, of course, her Gucci “Jackie” bag.
  • As a style icon, she will never fade. From the opulent gowns and formal designs for the First Lady during Kennedy’s “Camelot” reign through the post-White House years, when she embraced more informal styles and inspired new trends (white jeans and black turtleneck, the famous bug-eyed shades, the colourful headscarves of the 1970s and 1980s), Jackie’s look was admired and copied worldwide, decade after decade, and remains an iconic example of 20th-century couture.
  • The film depicts one of the darkest periods in American history and during that time she put the grief of the entire country on her shoulders and she helped carry us through it. It was nothing short of heroic the way she conducted herself that week.


  • Jacleen, as she liked to be called, had seemed inseparable from our personal histories: the American princess in the pillbox hat; the cosmopolitan First Lady flirting in fluent French with Charles de Gaulle; the stoic widow showing the country how to grieve with dignity; the celebrity mother insistent upon giving her children a sane upbringing; the surprisingly willing trophy wife of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis; the dedicated book editor; the still-glamorous grandmother.
  • Imagine living a life that full—and dying young. Yet how strange to think that the mysterious mistress of Camelot left us only last week. To those who had never heard the tiny voice that belied her larger-than-life stature, who never saw the nails bitten ragged beneath the ladylike gloves, it was easy to believe that the woman—like the legend—would never die. Perhaps that is why the public greeted the first news of her illness almost with alarm.
  • John faced the press with the same calm that his 34-year-old mother had displayed three decades earlier, when she had stood on Air Force One in her blood-spattered pink Chanel suit as Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President. She had seemed so young then but, as it turned out, her life was already more than half over.
  • Mrs. Kennedy very likely read The Once and Future King and perhaps saw or showed to her children the cartoon version of The Sword and the Stone (the first chapter of the four part novel) that Walt Disney produced in 1963. There were biting ironies in her attraction to a legendary kingship that unravels due to the consequences of betrayal and infidelity and to her association of the central myth of English nationality with the United States’ first Irish president. Nevertheless, she looked past these contradictions to focus on the central message of White’s novel that portrayed war as pointless and absurd. President Kennedy, as his widow wanted him to be remembered, was like King Arthur—a peacemaker who died in a campaign to pacify the warring factions of mankind.
  • One must admire Mrs. Kennedy for the skill with which she deployed these images in the difficult aftermath of her husband’s death. Our retrospective view of President Kennedy is now filtered through the legends and symbols she put forward at that time. The hardheaded politician devoted to step-by- step progress was transformed in death into the consummate liberal idealist.
  • Difficult as it may be to accept, the posthumous image of JFK reflected more the idealistic beliefs of Mrs. Kennedy than the practical political liberalism of the man himself.
  • By turning President Kennedy into a liberal idealist (which he was not) and a near legendary figure, Mrs. Kennedy inadvertently contributed to the unwinding of the tradition of American liberalism that her husband represented in life. The images she advanced had a double effect: first, to establish Kennedy as a transcendent political figure far superior to any contemporary rival; and, second, to highlight what the nation had lost when he was killed. The two elements were mirror images of one another.
  • Mrs. Kennedy’s image fostered nostalgia for the past in the belief that the Kennedy administration represented a peak of achievement that could not be duplicated. The legend of the Kennedy years as unique or magical was, in addition, divorced from real accomplishments as measured by important programs passed or difficult problems solved. The magical aspect of the New Frontier was located, by contrast, in its style and sophisticated attitude rather than in its concrete achievements. Mrs. Kennedy, without intending to do so and without understanding the consequences of her image making, put forward an interpretation of John F. Kennedy’s life and death that magnified the consequences of the assassination while leaving his successors with little upon which to build.


  • The moment when she crawled out onto the back of the open limousine in which her husband had been murdered was the first and last time the American people would see Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis crawl... She was the last great private public figure in this country. In a time of gilt and glitz and perpetual revelation, she was perpetually associated with that thing so difficult to describe yet so simple to recognize, the apotheosis of dignity.


  • I wanna be Jackie Onassis. I wanna wear a pair of dark sunglasses. I wanna be Jackie. Oooh, please don't die!
  • The day John F. Kennedy was shot, Jacqueline Kennedy became the nation's mother, guiding Americans through their shock.
  • Nobody knows what kind of First Lady Melania will be. There's no precedent for his presidency, so no precedent for her First Lady-ship. For now, we can only use past First Ladies as a benchmark, and Jackie might be the only comparison that sticks. Both Jackie and Melania married powerful men with name-brand families; both accustomed themselves to luxury; both chose to be fierce mothers, not fierce professionals.
  • Jackie chose to preserve tradition, making the White House more regal with art and historical knickknacks.
  • Before she was Jackie Kennedy, the most iconic first lady in American history, Jacqueline Bouvier was simply a young girl who loved horses.
  • Looking at the photos, it is easy to see why Mr. Morgan was so taken with Jackie. From a young age, she did not appear to be burdened with the traces of self-doubt, insecurity or immaturity that most children possess, to some degree, during their formative years. Rather, what she exudes in the photos, by turns, is poise and playfulness, an air of dignified yet unflappable confidence, and at times hints of a mischievousness and strong-willed personality.
  • Throughout the documentation as she grows from a small child to a young adult, a constant theme remains—her natural beauty, grace and magnetism.


  • Even during the tragedies Jackie experienced, she was still strong.
  • Looking back at her life, it is no wonder that she continues to inspire so many women today. She was a style icon, famous for her pillbox hats and A-line suits, but also a strong women who dealt with endless personal crises (she later also lost her second husband and her brother-in-law) in the public eye. Many of her words went on to inspire new generations, and her determination to keep on going is something all women can learn from today.
  • I didn't meet her until I came to New York, and I think that so much of who she was is present on these tapes -- funny, irreverent, incredibly intuitive and wildly intelligent. She read everything, and she had been a real student of history.
  • Let the skeptics snort about Camelot, but there was something during the Kennedy years that was magic. Jackie was more of that than anyone admitted for a long while. She smoothed the rough Kennedy edges. As much as anyone in those heady days, she grasped the epic dimensions of the adventure. No small portion of the glamour of the Kennedy stewardship that lives on today came from her standards of public propriety and majesty.
    • Hugh Sidey, as quoted in TIME magazine, Vol. 143 (1994)


  • It was a softly tailored suit of armor; the most feminine exemplar of power dressing, which Jackie Kennedy invented.
  • If she is the style gold standard any First Lady must live in the shadow of, if not actively aspire to emulate, Mrs. Trump, who herself has spoken admiringly of Mrs. Kennedy, completed the look with retro, luxe-looking gloves.
  • She had the kind of poise, tact, grace, and natural confidence that should put you at ease, but do not, because of a tension that ruled out flaws. Now and then her voice would shift from its breathy whisper to a momentary, guttural rasp—an indication, perhaps, of earthy easements that the public never suspected.
  • Today, she’s remembered as a wife, mother and graceful figure who championed the arts and literature. But Jackie is also a bonafide fashion icon who inspired millions with her chic wardrobe and effortless style.
  • Jackie's signature shades were both stylish and functional.
  • Though her hairstyle evolved over the years, Jackie's voluminous coif was an integral part of her signature look.


  • As far as Jackie was concerned, the only thing better than a rich man was an obscenely rich man.
    • Gore Vidal, as quoted in The Good Son: JFK Jr. and the Mother He Loved (2014) by Christopher Andersen


  • The coming of television, and the jet age which allowed an unprecedented range of presidential travels, made hers one of the most famous faces of the century. And her husband's assassination in Dallas made her the very symbol of grief and loss.
  • Until the assassination of her husband, she performed in public precisely as he and American public opinion would have wished in a pre-feminist era. She appeared content to be the ultimate presidential accessory, providing glamour and children and that stylish patina of old money which approximates aristocracy in America.
  • Having married the first president young and dashing enough to be a Prince Charming, rather than symbolic father of the nation, she put up with her own role as consort-accessory.
  • She brought to the task a flair and a style which made it acceptable to be a cosmopolitan in America, to drink wine and enjoy art, and to impose her Francophile tastes on that ultimate American symbol, the White House.
  • All she was fundamentally interested in was money. That was really the guiding motive of her life.
    • John White, Times–Herald writer, as quoted in America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (2001) by Sarah Bradford
  • She’s remembered for her trademark fashion sense and breathy voice, but few people know how large a role Jackie Kennedy played in her husband’s life and establishing his legacy. She was a woman who wasn’t afraid to take control of history — and even 50 years later, we still remember her husband the way she wanted us to. Modern women can learn from her graceful style and the composed front she presented to the world, but we can learn even more from what went on behind the scenes.
  • As JFK campaigned, America began to take note of Jackie’s excellent sense of fashion and graceful way of speaking — transforming her from a poised housewife to a celebrity in a matter of months.
  • She didn’t live to please the public, but instead centered her goals on being a good wife to Jack and mother to their two children, Caroline and John Jr. What made her so glamorous was that she wasn’t trying to be — and there’s something to be said for a woman who shied away from attention in a world that is increasingly attention-obsessed.
  • Her devotion never faltered, even with the knowledge of JFK’s numerous affairs. And though it was the early 60s and the gender roles of the 1950s were still firmly in place, their relationship was called “Victorian” by some.
  • So for 50 years, JFK’s brief term in the White House has been known as Camelot. He continually ranks highly on the list of America’s favorite presidents and is remembered for being a young, fresh face in American politics rather than for his criticisms. While we can attribute much of his popularity to his charm, it’s also important to realize how much Jackie affected how people would see her husband for years to come. She is the woman behind the legacy.
  • Jackie Kennedy has had such a strong impact on the world that countless books and articles have been and continue to be written about her. At one time, she was even the most sought-after photograph subject in the world! If you know anything about Jackie, you won't find that hard to believe. From her dashing sense of style to her personable attitude and demeanor, she was a favorite of the people during John Kennedy's presidency and continued to fascinate the public even after his death in 1963.
  • Ever since she came into the limelight as the first lady, she's been a style icon who women have strived to imitate over the years. With a style heavily influenced by European fashion, Jackie looked fabulous and put-together wherever she went. Full of poise, grace and beauty, she revolutionized women's wear in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Jackie had an extremely simple style and didn't wear much jewelry. However, when she did wear accessories, they were always a reflection of her personality and never too glitzy or gaudy. Along with her large-framed sunglasses, Jackie made the three-strand pearl necklace a signature trend that women still follow today.
  • There's one thing that every ensemble Jackie Kennedy ever wore had in common: She always kept it simple. This was a woman who understood that less is more. Her look was never cluttered or busy, and with every outfit she chose, she portrayed the message that you don't have to wear fancy clothes to be elegant.


  • No one wakes up looking the way she did, especially not when they are on vacation. There had to have been a method to her exquisite madness—if by madness we mean locating, and then donning, the perfect big—but not too big!—sunglasses, the loveliest wind-defying silk head scarf, the just-jaunty-enough basket bag, and always, always the flawless string of pearls.

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