Letters From Jackie Kennedy Provide Telling Insight Into Mind Of JFK’s Wife
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Revealing letters written by Jackie Kennedy are providing a deeper look into her marriage with the former president.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the letters were written to an Irish Catholic priest and began when Jackie was just 21 years old.
The correspondence is being called an unpublished autobiography, and went on for more than a decade.
The first letters were written on Jacqueline Bouvier stationary dating back to 1950. They were addressed to Father Joseph Leonard, an Irish priest she met prior to her marriage to John F. Kennedy.
In them, she wrote about falling in love with a young, ambitious politician.
Of the relationship, she said it provided her with an “amazing insight on politicians — they really are a breed apart.”
“This is a great window into her soul as a human being and the struggles she had and the triumphs she had with her husband,” said historian Douglas Brinkley.
Historians suggest the letters showcase the doubts Jackie had from the beginning of the marriage.
She wrote “Maybe I’m just dazzled and picture myself in a glittering world of crowned heads and men of destiny — and not just a sad little housewife.”
She also talked about JFK’s roving eye, something she knew about before the marriage and something she saw in her own father.
“I think the most important quote that has thus far surfaced from this batch of letters is Jackie Kennedy connecting her husband to her father, saying both of them had a sense of enjoying the chase in life, particularly with women, but didn’t have the stability and she saw that that was destroying in many ways her mother and she feared the same fate in life,” Brinkley said.
After the president’s assassination, Jackie wrote of more doubt. This time concerning her faith.
God, she wrote, will have “a bit of explaining to do to me if I ever see Him.”
“The excerpts of the letters really point to a loneliness which is one of the great diseases of America. It’s particularly a disease of a Washington, D.C. power wife,” Brinkley said.
The letters were written over a period of 14 years and stopped when Father Leonard died in 1964.
They will be put up for auction next month in Ireland. The auction house said in total there are 31 signed letters, some printed on White House stationary.
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