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Jackie Kennedy and JFK in Dallas November 1963

Jackie Kennedy

by Legacy Staff

First lady, fashion icon, photographer, editor, world traveler, arts patron, historic preservationist — Jackie Kennedy had many roles. Born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on July 28, 1929, the woman known affectionately as “Jackie O” is arguably the most-beloved first lady in American history. Her style and grace, even in the midst of unspeakable events such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, inspired our nation. Join us as we walk through her life in photographs.

Young equestrian

Young Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis on horseback
Getty Images / AFP

Young Jackie rides a pony led by her father, John Vernou Bouvier III, in 1934. Horse riding was one of Jackie’s lifelong loves.

Young Jacqueline Bouvier with horse
AP Photo

Jackie, pictured at age 9, was only 1 when she first rode a horse. By age 11, she was winning national championships.

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“A darling child”

Jacqueline Bouvier in 1935 with dog
JFK Library / David Berne

Jackie was an avid reader from an early age, and had read every book on her bookshelves before she started school. According to her first grade teacher at Miss Chapin’s School, Jackie was “a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil.”


A child of divorce

Jacqueline Bouvier with her sister Lee and mother Janet in 1941
AP Photo

Jackie, right, with her mother, Janet Lee Bouvier, and sister, Lee, look very fashionable as they walk through New York City in 1941. After Jackie’s parents divorced in 1940, she split her time between their homes. Always a quiet person, Jackie became quieter and more reserved following the divorce.


Photogenic photojournalist

Jacqueline Bouvier with her camera
AP Photo

Jackie graduated from Miss Porter’s boarding school in Connecticut and entered Vassar College in 1947. After spending her junior year in Paris, Jackie transferred to George Washington University. In 1951 she began a career in journalism as an inquiring photographer for the Washington Times Herald in Washington, D.C. For her newspaper column she interviewed Richard M. Nixon and covered the inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Engaged couple John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier in June 1953
Getty Images / Hy Peskin

During her time working in Washington, Jackie met U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy. Here the young engaged couple is seen sailing while on vacation at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts in June 1953.

The photographer had become the photographed.

Read more about John F. Kennedy


Beautiful bride

JFK and Jackie Kennedy at their wedding
Getty Images / Bachrach

Jackie and Jack married in Newport, Rhode Island on September 12, 1953.

Jackie Kennedy in her wedding dress
Library of Congress

Jackie’s stunning wedding dress was designed by Ann Lowe (1898-1981), one of the first black women to receive acclaim as a fashion designer.


Senator’s wife

Jackie Kennedy with JFK, Rose Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Patricia Kennedy Lawford
Getty Images / Time Life Pictures / Paul Schutzer

Jackie spent seven years as the wife of a U.S. Senator. When her husband beat Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, her political responsibilities and her family were about to expand. Here Jackie and the Kennedy clan (from left Rose Kennedy, Jackie, John, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Patricia Kennedy Lawford) celebrate JFK’s election in November 1960. Jackie would give birth to her second child, John Jr., two-and-a-half weeks later.

Learn more about the Kennedys


First lady

Jackie Kennedy and JFK inauguration
AP Photo

Jackie lifts the skirt of her inaugural ballgown as she and her husband, president-elect John F. Kennedy, leave their Georgetown home in the snowfall en route to the inaugural concert in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 1961.

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961
AP Photo

Jackie Kennedy in 1961. The first lady quickly became a style icon thanks to designer Oleg Cassini.

Read more about Oleg Cassini and the Jackie Look

Jackie Kennedy with JFK Jr., Caroline, and JFK
JFK Library / Cecil Stoughton

As first lady, Jackie had to balance the obligations of the office with the responsibilities of taking care of her young family. Here Jackie, JFK, and their children, John Jr., left, and Caroline, vacation at their summer house in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, in 1962.

Jackie Kennedy and JFK Jr.
Wikimedia Commons

Jackie felt a great obligation to her country, but her first priority was her family. “If you bungle raising your children,” she told a reporter, “I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” Here Jackie and JFK Jr. share a moment in the White House nursery.

Jackie Kennedy won an Emmy for her tour of the White House
AP Photo

Jackie is shown here with CBS reporter Charles Collingwood during her Emmy-winning television tour of the White House in February 1962.

See more Emmy Award winners

Jackie Kennedy with JFK Jr. and Caroline
JFK Library

Jackie rides horses with her children, John Jr., on his mother’s lap, and Caroline, in 1962.

Jackie Kennedy with sister Lee Radziwill in Pakistan
AP Photo

Here Jackie, right, rides a camel with her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, in Karachi, Pakistan during a goodwill visit in 1962.

Jackie Kennedy in India 1962
JFK Library

Jackie’s 1962 goodwill tour also took her to India.

Jackie Kennedy and JFK arrive in Dallas on November 22, 1963
Getty Images / Time & Life Pictures / Art Rickerby

Jackie and the president greet the crowd at Love Field in Dallas upon arriving for a campaign tour, Nov. 22, 1963.

Read more about the assassination of John F. Kennedy


Grieving widow

Jackie Kennedy and children at funeral for JFK
AP Photo

In an instant, everything changed. John Jr., age 3, salutes his father’s casket in Washington, D.C., Nov. 25, 1963. Widow Jackie, center, and daughter Caroline are accompanied by the late president’s brothers, U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, left, and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.


Life goes on

Jackie Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis
AP Photo

Jackie marries Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968 and becomes Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis aka Jackie O.

Jackie Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy at the ballet in 1970
Getty Images / WireImage / Ron Galella

Jackie and Caroline attend the Royal Ballet’s performance of “Sleeping Beauty” in 1970.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Aristotle Onassis
Getty Images / WireImage / Tom Wargacki

Jackie’s second marriage was short-lived (Ari Onassis died of respiratory failure in 1975) but the Jackie O nickname endured.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1977
Getty Images / Time Life Pictures / Alfred Eisenstaedt

Following Onassis’ death, Jackie began a new career as a book editor in 1975. She worked for Viking Press for several years before moving to Doubleday in 1978.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Bess Myerson campaigned to save NYC's Grand Central Station
AP Photo / Harry Harris

In the 1970s, Jackie (pictured with Bess Myerson) led a successful campaign to save New York City’s Grand Central Terminal from demolition.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis with JFK Jr. and Caroline in 1989 at John Jr.'s graduation from NYU Law School
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

Jackie and Caroline attended JFK Jr.’s graduation from the New York University School of Law in 1989.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis with Nelson Mandela in 1990
AP Photo / Peter Southwick

Jackie with deputy president of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela during his 1990 visit to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis with her companion Maurice Tempelsman
Getty Images / Time & Life Pictures / Brian Quigley

Jackie with Maurice Tempelsman, her companion from the mid-1970s until her death in 1994.


A lasting legacy

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Getty Images

A timeless icon of style and grace, Jackie lives on.

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