For Auction: 30 Letters by Jackie Kennedy on Life With JFK

Image: For Auction: 30 Letters by Jackie Kennedy on Life With JFK

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 09:20 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Nearly 30 previously unpublished letters from a 14-year correspondence with a Dublin priest open a remarkable window onto Jacqueline Kennedy's marriage to President John F. Kennedy — from girlish infatuation to bitter despair, the Irish Times reported Tuesday.

Jackie confides to the Rev. Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest in Dublin, that the dashing Kennedy was consumed by ambition "like Macbeth," saying in a July 1952 letter that being with him gave her "an amazing insight on politicians: they really are a breed apart."

She also excitedly declares her love for "the son of the ambassador to England," even as she worries he'll break her heart.

"He's like my father [John Vernou Bouvier] in a way — loves the chase and is bored with the conquest — and once married needs proof he's still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you," she writes. "I saw how that nearly killed Mummy."

In a 1953 letter, written when she was 23 years old, Jackie confides:

"Maybe I'm just dazzled and picture myself in a glittering world of crowned heads and Men of Destiny — and not just a sad little housewife . . . That world can be very glamorous from the outside but if you're in it   and you're lonely it could be a Hell."

After a year of marriage, Jackie marvels to the priest that "I love being married much more than I did even in the beginning."

But JFK's 1963 assassination, she writes, turned her "bitter against God."

"I have to think there is a God or I have no hope of finding Jack again," she wrote, adding: "God will have a bit of explaining to do to me if I ever see Him."

The Washington Post reports that the more than 130 pages of letters are written on personal stationery, on her father-in-law Joseph P. Kennedy's stationery, and on the stationery of the White House. She printed one telegram.

The letters are all the more remarkable because her public life was so private. She died in 1994 at age 64.

An obituary in The New York Times noted that "she almost never granted interviews on her past the last was nearly 30 years ago and for decades she had not spoken publicly about Mr. Kennedy, his presidency, or their marriage. "

Sheppard's Irish Auction House spokesman Philip Sheppard told the Irish Times that the letters were "the dream find of a lifetime for an auctioneer" and included "simply astounding fresh insights that transform our understanding of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy."

"They are, in effect, her autobiography for the years 1950-1964."

The archive will be sold at auction on June 10.


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