The Story of Jackie Before JFK: When we think of Jacqueline Kennedy, we often conjure up images of a poised and flawless first lady, gracefully representing the United States alongside her husband, President John F. Kennedy. However, those who truly knew her understood that there was much more to Jackie than met the eye. Behind the carefully curated public image was a complex and fascinating woman with her own ambitions, dreams, and a captivating love story that unfolded before she became the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy.
A Dim View of Marriage
Contrary to the common assumption that Jacqueline Bouvier’s life only became interesting after she married into the Kennedy family, the truth is quite the opposite. Even as a young woman in the early 1950s, Jackie held a rather dim view of marriage. She believed that it was essential to establish herself and pursue her own ambitions before considering tying the knot.
Aspiring to Be a Writer
Jackie’s true passion lay in the world of writing. She aspired to be more than just a housewife; she longed to make her mark as a writer. Jackie’s ambition and determination were evident as she set her sights on a career in the literary field.
Starting at the Bottom
To pursue her writing aspirations, Jackie was willing to start at the bottom. In the early 1950s, she secured a position as the “Inquiring Photographer” for the Washington Times-Herald. Her task was to roam the streets of Washington, D.C., taking pictures of passers-by and gathering their opinions on various topics. This unique role allowed Jackie to showcase her fearlessness, charm, and ability to connect with people from all walks of life.
Jackie’s Charm and Fearlessness
Jackie’s charm and fearlessness were undeniable traits that endeared her to those around her. She possessed a magnetic personality that drew people in, making her a captivating presence wherever she went. Her intelligence and wit were matched by her ability to put others at ease, making her the kind of person people naturally gravitated towards.
Friends’ Matchmaking Efforts
Among those who recognized Jackie’s extraordinary qualities were newsman Charles Bartlett and his wife, Martha. They believed she would be a perfect match for a certain charismatic congressman from MassachusettsJohn F. Kennedy. As close friends of both Jackie and JFK, the Bartletts saw the potential for a remarkable connection between the two.
The Dinner Party That Started It All
To bring Jackie and Jack together, the Bartletts hosted a dinner party in May 1951 at their Georgetown home. The evening was filled with anticipation and the hope of a special connection. Martha Bartlett, now 97 years old, vividly remembers that fateful night. She recalls her initial uncertainties about whether the two would hit it off and her clever decision to invite an additional woman to ensure Jack wouldn’t be bored.
Martha Bartlett’s Vivid Recollections
Martha Bartlett, one of the key witnesses to Jackie and Jack’s first encounter, is one of the few who can still vividly recall the events of that evening. At the age of 97, her memories remain remarkably intact, offering a unique perspective on the beginning of their love story.
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The Initial Doubts and Surprises
As Martha reflects on that night, she remembers her doubts about whether Jack and Jackie would truly enjoy each other’s company. She had even invited a third person, Loretta Summers, to add an extra element of interest to the evening. Martha’s careful planning aimed to ensure that if one connection didn’t spark, there would be other options to keep the conversation lively.
JFK’s Disturbing Effect on Jackie’s Life
Jackie’s first encounter with John F. Kennedy left a lasting impression on her. She documented her thoughts and feelings about that night, revealing her realization that JFK would have a profound and disturbing effect on her life. Despite her apprehension, she understood that any heartbreak he might bring would be worth the journey they would embark on together.
Jackie’s Determination and Pursuit
Jackie’s pursuit of JFK didn’t stop at chance encounters or matchmaking efforts. She actively took part in bringing the two closer together, shamelessly leveraging opportunities to connect with Jack. Whether it was orchestrating dance invitations or adjusting her plans to spend more time with him, Jackie’s determination to nurture their connection was evident.
Shameless Matchmaking and Joint Efforts
Martha Bartlett, when asked about her role in Jackie and Jack’s courtship, playfully notes that Jackie was the one who goaded her on. She recalls how Jackie would seize every opportunity to find ways to include JFK in their social events. It was a joint effort fueled by their close friendship and a shared belief that these two extraordinary individuals were destined for something remarkable.
Jackie’s Visit to the Family Patriarch
As Jackie’s pursuit of JFK continued, she paid a visit to Joseph Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy family. Whether it was mere coincidence or not, shortly after her visit, the gossip columns began linking the names Jackie Bouvier and John F. Kennedy together. Predictions of an impending wedding surfaced, marking the beginning of a new chapter in their story.
Gossip Columns and the Linking of Names
The timing of the gossip columns linking Jackie and JFK’s names was not lost on observers. It seemed that the world was beginning to take notice of their blossoming relationship. Jackie’s visit to Joseph Kennedy appeared to have sparked a new level of interest and speculation.
Conclusion of The Story of Jackie Before JFK
The fascination with the Kennedys and their story is often accompanied by a sense of melancholy. The tragic events that unfolded throughout their lives added layers of sorrow and tragedy to their legacy. The immense public interest in their lives stems not only from their achievements but also from the poignant narrative that unfolded behind the scenes.
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Our Reader’s Queries
What did Jackie Kennedy do before JFK?
In 1951, Jacqueline embarked on her first job as the “Inquiring Camera Girl” for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper. She wandered the city, snapping pictures of locals and engaging them in conversations about current events. Their responses were then incorporated into her newspaper column, creating a unique and personal perspective on the world around her.
How much older was JFK than Jackie?
Senator Kennedy married Jacqueline, who was 24 years old at the time, when he was 36. In 1961, they became the youngest president and first lady in American history.
Who was Jackie engaged to before JFK?
In a brief period, Bouvier became engaged to a young stockbroker named John Husted. The announcement of their engagement was swiftly made in The New York Times in January 1952, after only a month of dating.
Why did Jackie Kennedy climb out of the car after JFK was shot?
Jacqueline Kennedy jumped onto the car to collect pieces from the president’s head, but she didn’t remember doing it later.