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Jackie Kennedy Onassis

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Hagiography

Born into privilege in 1929 and educated at the best private schools, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis would become one of the most written about First Ladies in the history of the US. She is said to have learned to ride horses before she could walk, and divided her time growing up between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. She charmed her first husband, John F. Kennedy, with her matchless beauty, flawless taste, knowledge of visual and performing arts, acumen on horseback, and understated sense of style. Their slow, private courtship ended abruptly upon their marriage in 1953, when the couple was thrust into the nation’s spotlight. “Jackie” seamlessly adapted to her new political life and brought forth Caroline with John Jr. following. The White House had not seen young ones running about in decades, and the attractive, vibrant young couple cultivated a mythic vision of family life, political power, and upper class sensibilities during their stay there. Onassis set about to restoring the White House to its Madison-era grandeur and transforming it into both a museum of American history and a family residence of elegance and charm. She set fashion trends, as well, as some of the best houses of Europe scrambled to dress her for her numerous public appearances. Revered for her support of the arts, the nation’s interest in high culture was piqued as never before. Onassis also taught the nation how to mourn with grace, strength, and dignity. Her final years were spent as a book editor for Doubleday. When not working, she enjoyed the company of her children and grandchildren in her house on Martha’s Vineyard and condominium on Fifth Avenue in New York City. She died quietly in 1994 in her Manhattan home and is buried next to her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.