The making of Jackie Kennedy

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The making of Jackie Kennedy

From 1950 to 1951 she was serious about her studies, but not absorbed enough in school life to be photographed for the yearbook; no trace of her was found in 1951 Cherry tree. Two years after Jackie’s graduation, Joseph P. Kennedy’s publicist included the Sorbonne but not GW in a press release announcing Miss Bouvier’s engagement to his son. The desired effect was a balanced marriage ticket: an old continental family, the Bouviers, marrying their laid-back air of glamor with the arriving Kennedy look.

During her year at GW, Jackie set her heart on winning on Vogue Prix ​​de Paris competition, which promised six months of training in the magazine’s New York offices and a return to Paris, this time as a junior editor. Anthony gives a detailed account of the rigorous application process – round after round of writing essays and critiquing layouts – and he establishes the keen sense of Jackie’s approach. “I can be something of a complete art director of the twentieth century,” she wrote to the judges, “viewing everything from a chair suspended in space.” The biographer forgives his subject a bit of summary fraud and a few small lies used to secure extension of the deadline.

Jackie won the contest, went to Manhattan and was photographed for the magazine by Richard Rutledge. (His photo is the basis of this GW bas-relief.) But she ultimately declined the award. Janet, wanting to prevent the closeness with Black Jack that would come with these six months in New York, insisted. Jackie sent her mother a dead snake in a hat box, but she still crouched under it.

In October 1951, Jackie got a job in Washington Times-Herald, after Auchincloss asked columnist Arthur Croke to put in a good word for his stepdaughter. Years ago, Kroc was instrumental in the newspaper hiring Jack Kennedy’s wartime girlfriend Inga Arvad, as well as his beloved sister, Kathleen (Kick) Kennedy. Anthony goes so far as to say, not implausibly, that Jackie works at Times-Herald “will inevitably evoke memories of the two women who meant more to Kennedy than anyone else—an important factor in Jack Kennedy’s early perception of her.” Again, Jackie’s journey begins at Marywood, which—Anthony fails to mention—was built in 1919 .for Newbold Noyce, Sr., co-owner of the Honorable Washington Evening starone of the Times-Herald’s competitors.

Frank Waldrop, the editor who hired Jackie, later recalled, “I’ve seen her type. Little social girls with dreams of writing the great American novel who abandon it the moment they find the great American husband. Yes and no. Although Anthony doesn’t portray it, in the mid-1950s Washington was a bustling place for aspiring newswomen eager to defy prejudice and the odds. Selva (Lucky) Roosevelt, who had been a classmate of Jackie’s at Vassar, was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson, Archie, a CIA agent, when he began writing a well-connected column for star called “Diplomatically speaking”. In her memoirs, she wrote: “Until then, society reporters simply described the food, flowers, decor, clothing and entertainment and gave a complete guest list. They weren’t looking for political or international implications about who was there and who wasn’t, who talked to whom and who didn’t. Nancy Dickerson, a young CBS radio and television producer before becoming a famous on-air correspondent, had both a remarkable career and—from the perspective of someone like Janet Auchincloss—a financially enviable marriage. In 1964, she and her businessman husband bought Merrywood. In terms of literary talent and professional longevity, the best-known female journalist of the era was the resolutely unmarried Mary McGrory, who—except for the composition of a few political profiles—spent years in of a star book review desk before being allowed to write a sharp, stylish commentary for the Senate during the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings.

Looking for the same kind of vacation in his early days in the Times-Herald, Jackie stalks Princess Elizabeth, hoping to produce a film when the future monarch comes to Washington. She was unsuccessful, but the princess’s visit brought an unexpected opportunity. Waldrop assigned Jackie to a rotating, uncredited “Interesting Photographer” slot, and she decided to ask six of the paper’s photographers, “Is Princess Elizabeth as beautiful as her picture?” The column soon became her own, with a byline and renamed Inquiring Camera Girl “. Her twenty-month experience with her is the fascinating and surprisingly informative core of Anthony’s book.

Jackie took miniature photos of her subjects with a large, heavy Speed ​​Graflex that she learned to use at the Capitol School of Photography. “Published six days a week,” Anthony explains, “the column averaged 144 individual interviews a month—a total of nearly 2,600 people by the time she left the job.” Jackie occasionally persuaded celebrities and personal acquaintances—even John Husted and “ Mummy’ – to try to answer the questions she came up with for the rubric. They ranged from the silly (“Why do you think so many people make corny jokes in elevators?”) to the semi-profound (“What do people live for most?”) and the oddly prescient (“Are sororities right when demand that Marilyn Monroe be less imposing?”). She sought out respondents across class and racial lines, and when she wasn’t asking about things in the news (Christine Jorgensen’s gender reassignment surgery), she sometimes asked questions that were on her mind.

As “The Girl with the Questioning Camera,” Jackie interviewed almost twenty-six hundred people from November 1951 to June 1953.Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Anthony does a good job of not going too far when connecting the topic of the column to Jackie’s biographical timeline. At the time Husted proposed, she asked interviewees, “Should a girl give up reasonable marriage prospects to wait for her ideal man?” Later, when things got more serious with Kennedy, her questions followed: “Can you give me any reason why a contented bachelor should marry?” and “The Irish author, Sean O’Faolain, claims that the Irish are deficient in the art of love. Do you agree?” While reliving a bit of Kennedy’s 1952 Senate campaign, she asked, “Should a candidate’s wife campaign with her husband?” Her low mood and frustration with Waldrop were incidental subtexts; Anthony notes , that the editor “threatened to fire her when she asked pedestrians which local paper they liked best and printed the answers that chose the competition.”

There was wit in what she did, and this earned her the chance to write larger works, illustrated with her own ink sketches, not only of Eisenhower’s inauguration, but also of Princess Elizabeth’s coronation. In June 1953, Kennedy sent a telegram to his fiancee in London…GREAT ARTICLES – BUT YOU’RE MISSING’— his “second and final courtship ‘love letter,'” according to Anthony.

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