History has acknowledged Jackie Kennedy was one of the most glamorous and elegant first ladies ever to live. Though she was married to one of the most ambitious men in our nation’s history, Kennedy had goals of her own.
Though Kennedy’s marriage to JFK appeared to be a romantic whirlwind, she was very resistant at first. In fact, with her own career aspirations and hopes, she absolutely hated the idea of becoming a housewife.
Jackie Kennedy attended Vassar College and George Washington University
The eldest daughter of a stockbroker and a Manhattan socialite, Kennedy’s parents groomed her to marry well. She was educated at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, where she graduated at the top of her class. She wanted to attend Sarah Lawrence College. However, her parents vetoed the idea, so she spent her first two years of college at Vassar.
She hated the isolation of Poughkeepsie, New York, and spent the majority of her weekends in Manhattan. She would eventually earn her degree in French literature from George Washington University.
Jackie Kennedy was extremely ambitious and reluctant to marry John F. Kennedy
Marrying a United States senator who was plotting his path toward the White House, meant that the George Washington University alum’s dreams and ambitions were going to be put on the back burner. In addition to being hesitant about marrying JFK because of his womanizing ways, Kennedy also wanted her own career.
During her third year at Vassar, Kennedy convinced her parents to let her study in France for a year. She spent her time studying at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble and at the Sorbonne in Paris.
After graduating from George Washington University in 1951, Kennedy worked as a junior editor at Vogue magazine, landed a role as Inquiring Camera Girl at the Washington Times-Herald. She covered Queen Elizabeth II’s inauguration in 1953.
Jackie Kennedy hated the idea of being a housewife
When the late first lady met JFK in 1952, he was already a member of the House of Representative, the next year, they were married, and he became a United States senator.
The Kennedys dealt with infertility in the early years of their marriage, and JFK often traveled for work. Since Mrs. Kennedy had no interest in being a housewife, she continued her studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to occupy her time.
“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,” Kennedy wrote in a letter to an Irish priest, Joseph Leonard via The Washington Post. “That can be very glamorous from the outside — but if you’re in it — and you’re lonely — it could be a Hell.”
She also told the priest that it took her over a year to adjust to becoming Mrs. Kennedy. “I love being married much more than I did even in the beginning,” she wrote in 1954.
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