5 Things You Didn't Know About Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

On July 28, 1929, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who served as the First Lady from 1961 to 1963, was born in Southampton, New York. Find out these 5 surprising facts about this New York socialite who was known for her grace, elegance and style...


Jackie Was Engaged to a Banker Before She Met Kennedy The engagement of Jacqueline Bouvier to John Husted, a banker on Wall Street and veterans of World War II, was announced in the Washington Times-Herald in January 1952. Bouvier was 22 at the time and reportedly was unsure about being a housewife. She called off the wedding two months later. It was after this she met and started dating John F. Kennedy, who was serving as a U.S. Representative. They married in the fall of 1953.

She Oversaw a Major White House Renovation When President Kennedy and his wife moved into the White House, she discovered that the decor was shabby and outdated. She ran through the $50,000 decorating budget in a matter of days and then asked for private donations and acquired historically important pieces of furniture from collectors and museums. By the time she was finished, important artifacts and antiques that had belonged to Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and others contributed to the historic elegance of the building.


She Opened a Nursery School in The White House When press scrutiny and security concerns made it difficult for her young daughter Caroline to travel into the city, Onassis turned the White House’s third floor solarium into a nursery school and invited other kids—some of them children of Kennedy administration staff—to attend. The school later grew into a fully operational kindergarten complete with around ten students, professional teachers and a small collection of rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals.

She Was The First to Refer to The Kennedy Administration as “Camelot.” In an interview with Life Magazine a week after her husband’s death, Jackie described his love for “Camelot,” a musical based on the popular Arthurian novel “The Once and Future King.” She noted that the president enjoyed playing a recording of the musical’s title song, which featured the line, “Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” After quoting the lyrics, Onassis went on to say, “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.” “Camelot” soon became shorthand for the myth and glamour of the Kennedy administration.

She Became a Book Editor Following the Death of Aristotle Onassis In 1975, after the death of her second husband, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, she became a consulting editor in New York for Viking Press and was then a senior editor at Doubleday. Among the books, she was the editor for were autobiographies of Michael Jackson, and Carly Simon. She continued working for Doubleday until shortly before her death from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1994.