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Things Most Folks Don't Know About Jackie Kennedy

Updated March 19, 2021 931.8k views13 items

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biography is one of the more impressive ones out there. It’s a story of a woman who was well educated, hard working, and multi-lingual. A preserver of history, an accomplished equestrienne, a style icon, and a champion of the arts, Jackie Kennedy was a fascinating and impressive woman. She was a talented writer and photographer who eventually went on to marry John F. Kennedy, mother four children, and succeed Mamie Eisenhower as First Lady of the United States.

She seamlessly wove her unique style and grace into and throughout the White House and charmed the American people. Even when she and the entire nation were still grieving the loss of JFK, she held her head up high and used her time to ensure her husband’s legacy. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was quite the woman of steel – albeit draped in pearls and wrapped in class. 

  • She Was A Reporter And Photographer With An Elite Education

    Photo: David Berne / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Jackie Bouvier was the child of incredibly wealthy parents, and her education matched the social circles of which she was a part. She attended elite grammar schools in New York City and went to the esteemed Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, for high school. From there, she attended Vassar College for two years; studied abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, for a year; and completed her last year of college at George Washington University, from which she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in French literature.

    During her senior year of college, Jackie won a junior editorship at Vogue magazine. However, the position required spending half a year at the magazine's Paris office, and Jackie's mother made her turn the position down. From there, she went on to get her first job as a reporter for the Washington Times-Herald as the "Inquiring Camera Girl." She interviewed citizens throughout the capital on everything from politics and finance, to personal relationships. 

  • She Was Full of Class And Sass And Got Sent To The Principal's Office Regularly

    Photo: Robert Knudsen, White House / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    While Jackie was always described as a bright student, she was also known to misbehave quite often. A former teacher described her as, “a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil." Surprisingly, the woman who would become the model for American femininity in the 1960s got sent to the principal's office fairly frequently as a girl. She also once got a D on her report card in a class she was forced to miss quite frequently – because her bad behavior got her kicked out of the classroom.

  • She Created The Camelot Image Of The Kennedy Administration

    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    It was in an interview with Life Magazine that Onassis created the most potent element of the Kennedy legacy. She brought up her late husband’s belief that history was made by heroes and his great love for the legend of King Arthur. She went on to compare his administration to “Camelot.”

    She told the reporter that JFK also enjoyed the soundtrack for the Camelot musical on Broadway. The lyrics were actually the work of a former classmate of Kennedy's at Harvard, Alan Jay Lerner. They often listened to it before bed, and, according to the former First Lady, the line that really resonated with JFK was, “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.”

    Her powerful statement, “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot” shaped the public memory of JFK and his administration, forever solidifying that aura of glamor the myth invokes.

  • Jackie Was A Talented Child Equestrienne Who Got Mentioned In The New York Times

    Photo: Presidential Library / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Jackie’s mother Janet Bouvier was an accomplished rider, and she started little Jackie young, setting her on her first horse when she was just a year old. By 11 years old, she was winning national competitions herself. In 1940, The New York Times wrote about Jackie's prowess on horseback:

    "Jacqueline Bouvier, an eleven-year-old equestrienne from East Hampton, Long Island, scored a double victory in the horsemanship competition. Miss Bouvier achieved a rare distinction. The occasions are few when a young rider wins both contests in the same show."