A new insight into the detail-oriented mind of Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Bouvier Kennedy Onassis is now available with the first release of some of her personal papers by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The papers add substance to the former First Lady's elegant legacy of pillbox hats, A-line dresses and three-strand pearls.
Released on Feb. 13, Jackie Kennedy's papers include a record of her efforts to restore parts of the White House and contain personal notes in her handwriting, mixed in with notes from her staff. Notes on the script her televised tour of the White House, which aired on Feb. 14, 1962, are part of the release.
On this tour, she revealed the restored White House state rooms.
Beyond being valuable historical record of the JFK presidency, these papers will provide a new way for upcoming generations to view one of the nation's most famous first ladies. They will be able to discern her managerial style and knowledge of art history, not just reading of her couture Oleg Cassini wardrobe, supplemented with Chanels and the handiwork of other iconic fashion designers.
A glimpse is given into the thought process of how Jacqueline Kennedy believed that the White House should be decorated with objects from past presidencies and how the interior should richly reflect American history. Towards this goal, she created a White House Historical Association and Fine Arts Committee within her first month as First Lady, in 1961.
An official curator was also added to White House staff and Mrs. Kennedy was instrumental in getting legislation passed that designated the White House as a national monument.
The papers reveal more minute details of how she managed the cataloging of art and antiques, down to how these artifacts were to be marked and the correct historical preservation procedures.
Beyond the notes, the release also offers some more tactile evidence of Jackie Kennedy's impact on the White House. Fabric samples and sketches, of what eventual became the Oval Room curtains, are also now available, as are the original galleys of the White House guidebook.
The papers were donated to the JKF Library by Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr.
- Jackie Kennedy
- the White House