Tags: Presidential History | first lady | Jackie Kennedy | John Kennedy

'Jackie' Kennedy: The Causes That Defined President John Kennedy's First Lady

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Jul 2015 06:50 PM

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, known as “Jackie,” added a touch of elegance to the White House soon after her husband, John F. Kennedy, became president in 1961. Her style and appreciation of the arts continued as first lady until JFK’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 stunned the nation.

One of Mrs. Kennedy’s first projects focused on the restoration and refurbishing of the White House, which included redecorating rooms with art and furniture that represented American culture, according to Biography.com. Her goal was to develop a sense of history for visitors who came to the presidential mansion.

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The redecorating of the White House should inspire patriotism and the importance of public service, she said. Along with art, she procured artifacts and furniture from such past presidents as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. She wasn’t interested in merely redecorating the mansion.

“It must be restored-and that has nothing to do with decoration,” Mrs. Kennedy said, according to Biography.

After completion of the project, she gave a nationally televised tour of the White House in February 1962. The Emmy Award-winning program was viewed by an estimated 56 million people.

Mrs. Kennedy had great respect for the arts, inviting some of the top artists, musicians and writers in the country to the White House. Renowned violinist Isaac Stern wrote to her that her attention to the arts was “one of the most exciting developments on the present American cultural scene,” Biography reported.

She played an important role in influencing President Kennedy in recognizing the value of the performing arts and fine arts, and to provide federal aid for the arts through museums and educational programs, according to the National First Ladies’ Library. Her knowledge of other cultures helped to foster goodwill toward America as she traveled abroad with her husband and also alone. She spoke fluent French, Spanish and Italian.

Even in tragedy, Mrs. Kennedy’s creativity helped ease the grief of a shocked nation when she orchestrated the public funeral for her husband following his assassination. Along with choosing the music for his funeral, she chose to lead the funeral procession by walking with national and world leaders through the streets to the church. Her strength and dignity was witnessed by millions of people throughout the world with the new technology of television.

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Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, known as "Jackie," added a touch of elegance to the White House soon after her husband, John F. Kennedy, became president in 1961.
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Tuesday, 07 Jul 2015 06:50 PM
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