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Who Is Jackie Kennedy?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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Jackie Kennedy was born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Southampton, New York, on 28 July 1929. Her heritage is French, Irish and English, and Jacqueline had a wealthy upbringing that included horseback riding competitions and ballet. Her Catholic family caused a bit of a stir though when her parents divorced when she was 10. After graduating from a Connecticut boarding school, attending Vassar College and George Washington University, Jacqueline worked for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper questioning political figures of the day. This is how she met the man who would become the 35th American president as well as her husband, John F. Kennedy.

Jacqueline Bouvier became known to the public as Jackie Kennedy after her wedding day on 12 September 1953 in Rhode Island. Her official name at the time was Jacqueline B. Kennedy. In 1957, the Kennedys welcomed their first child, Caroline. In 1960, John F. Kennedy campaigned for the United States presidency. Jacqueline wrote a political newspaper column and helped with John's campaign communications while pregnant with their second child.

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John Jr. was born a few weeks after his Democrat father was elected on 8 November 1960 as the 35th president of the United States, beating Republican Richard Nixon. As first lady of the White House, Jacqueline, who had studied history and art at college, undertook a large restoration project. She refurbished many of the rooms in the White House and appointed a curator. Jackie Kennedy also started a kindergarten in the building for her own children as well as some others.

Although somewhat reluctantly on her part, Jacqueline became appreciated by the public for her tasteful fashion sense such as her signature pillbox hats, sleeveless dresses, pantsuits and large sunglasses. Jackie Kennedy's easygoing yet elegant style was much emulated by her female fans. Yet, Jacqueline was also very much appreciated in political circles for her communication skills and appreciation of other cultures when she traveled on presidential trips abroad with her husband. In 1963, Jackie Kennedy gave birth to the couple's third child, but the baby, Patrick, only lived for two days due to a severe lung problem.

Several months later, on 22 November 1963, tragedy struck again when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a gunman as he and Jacqueline drove through Dallas, Texas. In 1968, Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping entrepreneur. Jacqueline was once again a widow when Aristotle died in 1975. She spent time with her family and friends as well as working as an editor at Viking Press and Doubleday in New York. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis died 19 May 1994, at age 64, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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