Personal papers depict Jacqueline Kennedy's first lady tenure

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 13, 2012 12:08 PM
Personal papers depict Jacqueline Kennedy's first lady tenure

By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - An initial set of personal papers from Jacqueline Kennedy's time as first lady were released on Monday, offering a glimpse into the inner workings of her office and major projects she undertook during the presidency of her husband John F. Kennedy.

The historic records, released by the Kennedy presidential library, range from her efforts to restore the state rooms of the White House to notes detailing changes to the CBS script for her televised tour of the first family's home.

" show just her incredible attention to detail and her understanding of art, history, aesthetics and public diplomacy," said Tom Putnam, the library's director.

Many of the documents are staff files, some with the first lady's handwritten notes on them. They will offer the public a deeper view of her and the work she did, often single-handedly, he said.

"She was a very savvy person and that's what these papers show," Putnam said.

Kennedy, though just 31 when she moved into the White House, made it a priority to celebrate America's cultural and artistic achievements at the same time the nation's military and commercial interests were being promoted, Putnam said.

The collection of papers show her hands-on efforts that led the restoration of the White House and later her preparations leading up to the 1962 televised tour of the home, which first aired fifty years ago.

"This really was a hallmark for her. It's like she was introducing herself to the American people," Putnam said of the tour.

"This was the very substantive Jacqueline Kennedy they met during the White House tour," he added.

Also included in the personal documents, which were donated to the library by Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr, are items related to her travel abroad, state dinners she ran and press coverage, the library said.

Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968. She died in 1994.

The remainder of the papers in the collection titled Personal Papers of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, which span her life, will be released as they are processed by archivists.

(Editing by Greg McCune)