Jacqueline Kennedy Lesson for Kids: Biography & Information

Instructor: Ashley Davis

Ashley has taught first, fourth, and fifth grades and holds a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is remembered as the stylish, elegant, and intelligent wife of President Kennedy. This lesson focuses on her life before, during, and after the Kennedys' time in the White House.

Who Was She?

Do you realize that every minute of every day is a part of your story? That it is both the little things and the big ones that shape you into the person you will one day become?

Just like every other person, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' story began long before her time as First Lady of the United States.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Childhood

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929, in Southampton, New York. Her father, John, a wealthy stockbroker, and mother, Janet, were devout Catholics and raised Jacqueline and her younger sister, Caroline, as such.

As a child, Jacqueline loved to read and ride horses. She also took classical ballet lessons at the Metropolitan Opera House and studied French. Although her early childhood was idyllic, meaning peaceful and very happy, it did not last. Her parents divorced when she was 10, and she had a difficult time dealing with the divorce.

In school, Jacqueline was described by one teacher as ''a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil.'' Despite this, she was a very private person. She attended high school at Miss Porter's School, a private girls school in Farmington, Connecticut. She was an excellent student and was a frequent contributor of poems and essays to the school newspaper. In her senior year, she was selected as the top literature student.

College and First Job

Determined to become more than just a housewife, Bouvier attended Vassar College, studying history, literature, art, and French. During her junior year, Bouvier studied in Paris. She described the year as one in which she ''learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge.'' When she came home, she transferred to George Washington University, graduating in 1951.

Jacqueline was hired by the Washington Times-Herald and became an 'Inquiring Camera Girl.' For her column, she photographed and interviewed individuals, asking their opinions on different subjects. It was during this time that she met senator-elect John F. Kennedy.

Mrs. Kennedy

Marrying John F. Kennedy (JFK) in 1953, Jacqueline supported her husband during his time as a senator and encouraged him to write his book Profiles in Courage. Together, they had three children, Caroline (1957), John Jr. (1960), and Patrick (1963), who died shortly after birth.

Although pregnant during his campaign for the presidency, she supported her husband by responding to letters, recording commercials, and writing a newspaper column, Campaign Wife.

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