The Marriage of John and Jacqueline Kennedy.
THESIS: Although the relationship of John and Jacqueline Kennedy evolved from
friendship to love, their marriage was filled with tragedy, shame, and change.
I.The relationship of John and Jacqueline Kennedy evolved from friendship to
A. They met at a dinner party thrown by Charles and Martha Bartlett.
B. Their marriage was called the wedding of the year.
II.Their marriage had many tragedies.
A. Although three children survived birth, Jackie had many unsuccessful
B. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas while riding in a
III. Their marriage was filled with shame.
A. Jack had an irresistible urge to women.
B. Jack had innumerable conversations with a Judith Campbell, a woman with
IV.Their marriage was filled with change.
A. Life was different for the Kennedys in the White House.
B. Jackie did a complete renovation of the White House.
C. Life changed drastically for Jackie after the assassination of her
Although the relationship of John and Jacqueline Kennedy evolved from
friendship to love, their marriage was filled with tragedy, shame and change. The
life of the first family is highly publicized but many of the happenings of the
Kennedy family were not meant to be up for public scrutiny.During the time that
Kennedy was in office there were many political as well as personal events that
went on in his life. Love, tragedy, shame, and change were just some of the
feelings and occurrences that went on inside the White House.
Jacqueline began her journalism career working for the Washington
Times-Herald where she was soon promoted to Inquiring Cameragirl. This was
how she first got to talk to Senator John F. Kennedy. She interviewed him for her
column a few times and attended a dinner party thrown by Charles and Martha
Bartlett where Jack also attended. The Bartletts invited Jack, Jackie and a few
other couples so it would not look too contrived. Martha pushed Jack and Jackie
together on the couch, served them cocktails and hors doeuvres and let them drink
their heads off. Charles Bartlett says that he had nothing to do with it, his wife
was the only matchmaker involved in this scheme. This was not the only time that
they met at the Bartletts home. When they started dating regularly they
sometimes met there for a game of bridge, Checkers, or Monopoly.
Jack telephoned Jackie in London one day and proposed marriage. The
engagement was announced in June 24, 1953 and the wedding was set for
September 12, 1953. (Davis 316) Joe Kennedy made sure that the wedding was
well publicized as the Wedding of the Year. (Mills 108)(Davis 189) Police
estimated that around three thousand onlookers watched as Mr. and Mrs. John F.
Kennedy emerged from St. Marys Catholic Church in Newport for the first time
and posed for the Associated Press, United Press, New York Times, Boston Globe,
Washington Post, and even Life magazine. The reception was held at Hammersmith
Farm and around 1,200 guests sat at tables on the lawn and ate creamed chicken.
Guests danced on the terrace to music played by Meyer Davis and at one point
cleared the floor and watched the newlywed couple dance to I Married an Angel
and No Other Love. Jackie presented her bridesmaids with monogrammed silver
picture frames and Jack gave his ushers Brooks Brothers umbrellas. (Anthony 81)
Along with Jackies two children that survived infancy, she had several other
pregnancies that ended in tragedy. The Kennedys first pregnancy in 1956 ended in
miscarriage. Jacks bad back problems had been flaring up so Jackie played
round-the-clock nurse to him, she changed his dressings several times a day, put on
his socks and slippers, played games with him and helped him in and out of bed.
She exhausted herself doing this and, so caused the miscarriage. On November
27, 1957, Jackie gave birth to her first child. Named Caroline Bouvier Kennedy,
this perfectly healthy baby girl was delivered by Cesarean section and weighed
seven pounds and two ounces. During the end of Jackies third pregnancy, Jack
left her to vacation on a yacht with his brother Teddy and a few close friends. On
August 23, 1960 as he cruised the Mediterranean, Jackie was rushed to Newport
Hospital after she suffered an internal hemorrhage and severe abdominal cramps.
In an effort to save the baby the doctors performed an emergency Cesarean. The
infant, an unnamed girl, died before drawing her first breath. (Heymann 190)
Although no legal name was given to the girl, Jackie named the child for herself.
The daughter was Jackies own Arabella. (Anthony 101) Born 17 days after the
presidential election of 1960 (Encarta) Jackies second child, aptly named John F.
Kennedy Jr. was born in Georgetown University Hospital almost a month early by
Cesarean section. At six pounds and three ounces he was in desperate need of
incubation but yet active and in satisfactory health. Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was
born on August 7, 1963. At four pounds and one ounce he was born five weeks
early by Cesarean section. So frail and tiny was the infant that the Base Chaplain
baptized him immediately. Born with hyaline membrane disease he was to be
transported the following morning to Childrens Medical Center in Boston where
there was more modern and better equipment but, at 5:00 a.m. on his third day of
life, only thirty-nine hours after he had been born, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died.
In November 1963, President Kennedy visited Texas for a speechmaking
tour. (Friedel) On November 22, 1963, a day that will be remembered with
national sorrow, he and his wife were cheered enthusiastically as a motorcade
including their open car passed through the streets of Dallas. (Donald) Within a
period of less than six seconds at least three shots were fired. The first bullet
hit the President in the back of his neck, brushing his right lung, severing his
windpipe and, exiting his throat. The second shot wounded Governor John Connally,
who was sitting on a jump seat directly in front of the President. The third shot
struck the President in the back of his head, blowing away the right rear quadrant
of his skull, creating a viscous cloud of blood and brain tissue. (Heymann 389)
Jackie would recall, And just as I turned and looked at him…I
remembered thinking he had just looked as if he had a slight
headache…then, he …put his hand to his forehead, and fell into my
lap. She lunged toward the back of the car and screamed, My God,
theyve killed Jack! Theyve killed my husband! (Anthony 98)
The limousine that they were in drove at speeds in excess of eighty miles per hour
to Parkland Memorial Hospital only four miles away. When the limousine pulled up
to the hospital entrance, Jackie held her husband protectively. Realizing she could
not bear for others to see her mutilated husband, a secret service agent removed
his jacket and handed it to Jackie to wrap around the presidents head. President
Kennedy was placed on a stretcher and carried into the hospital, his wife running
alongside to keep the jacket in place. At 1:00, the doctor pulled a sheet over
Kennedys face. During the motorcade Father Huber watched the car as JFK
smiled and waved at him through the large crowds, overcome with joy the
seventy-year-old priest jumped in the air and yelled, Hurray! One hour later,
Father Huber drew down the sheet and looked again at the face of President
Kennedy. Then the priest began to recite what for John F. Kennedy would be the
fourth and final last rites of his church. (Mills 284)
John F. Kennedy had an irresistible urge to women and often spent his times
away from the first lady with another woman. Womanizing was not a very
important issue to Jackie. Her father, grandfather and father-in-law were all
ladies men. She did not like it, but it was not enough to cause her to seek a
divorce. She had witnessed the effect of her parents divorce and did not want
this to happen to her. She once told a friend, I dont think there are many men
who are faithful to their wives, men are such a combination of good and evil.
Occasionally, Jackie was left alone at a party while Jack went off with a young lady
that caught his eye. Even Charles Bartlett wished that he had never introduced
the two, he said that Jack was a lousy husband who had inherited not only his
fathers brains but Joes love for women as well.
Judith Campbell was the girlfriend of Sam Giancana, a man under close
surveillance by the FBI because he was on the ten most wanted criminals list.
President Kennedy had been introduced to Ms. Campbell by Frank Sinatra in
February of 1960 and records of phone calls to and from the White House showed
Campbell and Kennedy were in frequent touch. A check of Campbells phone
records revealed that she had placed calls to the private White House number of
the presidents secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. J. Edgar Hoover was well aware that Ms.
Campbells relationship was not with Mrs. Lincoln. Even after President Kennedy
had been warned against the phone conversations, Hoover was surprised to see
that the calls between the two continued.
Once Kennedy had been elected to office things changed drastically for the
first family. Jackie had always tried to shy away from the publics eye but as time
went on the first lady discovered it was harder and harder to get away from the
reporters and photographers. Everywhere she went she was recognized by
someone. After she had given birth to John Jr. she was on the roof of the hospital
alone enjoying the breeze when another patient walked up to her and asked her if
she was Mrs. Kennedy. She silently nodded and retreated to her room. She hated
it when Jack made her stand on the front steps of the church after their wedding
for the hundreds of photographers from their various organizations to take
pictures. When unauthorized pictures of her children were taken and published
everywhere she was furious. It seemed to her that no matter where she went she
got no privacy. In reality she and Jack were a very private couple, hardly ever seen
holding hands or kissing in public. She enjoyed life before Jack was elected into
office and hated what came after.
Of all her work as first lady, Jackie would refer to the White House
restoration as my project, recalling, I have worked harder on this project than I
ever have on anything. She called it dreary-the strongest condemnation in her
vocabulary. (Watney 95) When she first moved in she compared the White house
to Lubyanka, the infamous Soviet prison. She asked Henry Francis DuPont to be
her advisor on this project. Jackie spent several hours on the phone every day,
tracking down items from museums and private collectors and cajoling potential
donors and contributors. During the early days, Jackie roamed the corridors of
the mansion, discovering treasures and banquishing horrors, making sure that
the family quarters received primary attention. Every room in the White House
was renovated except for the Lincoln room, that was President Kennedys private
bedroom and the Kennedys favorite room in the house. Jackie ran out of funds
within the first month of restoration and had to go to private funders. She soon
came up with the plan that after the White House was finished she would make a
guide book for tourists and the money that was made off of them would go to
future restoration projects and keeping the White House up to date.
After the death of Jack, Jackie went through many stages of grief. She
stuck close to Robert Kennedy and her children throughout the whole ordeal.
Robert spent intense private time with Jackie, talking through the assassination,
providing strength, advice, and protection. He became a surrogate father to her
children. In late July, he organized a surprise party for her thirty-fifth birthday.
Her appreciation was boundless. (Anthony 219) Many people said that she was very
composed but Nelson Pierce said that he saw her when she was not composed, and
she was as any other woman would be who had lost their husband-probably even
more so because of the terrific shock and the way in which she lost him. Even
though help was offered by many of the family members, Jackie insisted on
arranging the funeral by herself. She picked the burial plot in Arlington and
decided that there should be an eternal flame. Soon after his death, Jackie was
busy arranging the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and many other projects.
The Kennedy family has a legacy that the world can not forget. The life of
the Kennedys will always be remembered when one thinks of the famous first
families. Even though the life of John F. Kennedy came to a tragic end, he was a
great man in his time and will not soon be forgotten.
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Davis, John H. The Bouviers From Waterloo to the Kennedys and Beyond.
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