Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy

Onassis, Jacqueline (Lee) Kennedy (b. Bouvier) “Jackie”

(1929–94) First Lady; born in Southampton, N.Y. Educated at Vassar, the Sorbonne, and Washington University, she worked as a reporter before marrying John Kennedy (1953). She was not always comfortable with the demands of being the wife of a Kennedy and a politician, but as first lady she promoted her personal agenda of the arts, history, and high style. Her first child was stillborn and she lost an infant in 1963, but the Kennedys publicly enjoyed their two fine children, Caroline (b. 1957) and John (b. 1960). Her stoic behavior at Kennedy's death and funeral enhanced her standing with the public, but she stunned the world when in 1968 she married the Greek millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. For some years she was the world's premier celebrity, but after Onassis's death (1975), she worked in New York publishing and went about her private rounds of family, the arts, and social engagements. Her last illness and death were marked by the same quiet dignity with which she had conducted her public life as the president's wife and widow.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.