Skip to main content

tv   First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy  CSPAN  October 11, 2015 8:00pm-10:05pm EDT

8:00 pm
power unless we do something in the , name of the common good and the name of democracy that we need to rein the power in, not eliminate it, not seize control of corporations, but set up boundaries and parameters to their behavior. all right, thank you very much. [applause] announcer: american history to be is featuring first lady sunday nights for the rest of your. c-span produced the series in cooperation with the white house historical association. and tors,nversations
8:01 pm
questions from the audience, we tell the stories of america's 45 first ladies. now, jacqueline kennedy. this is about two hours. (begin video clip) jacqueline kennedy: and i think every first lady should do something in this position to help the things she cares about. i just think that everything in the white house should be the best -- the entertainment that's given here. the art of children is the same the world over. and so, of course, is our feeling for children. i think it is good in a world where there's quite enough to divide people, that we should cherish the language and emotion that unite us all. (end video clip) susan swain: jacqueline kennedy's 1,000 days as first lady were defined by images -- political spouse, young mother, fashion icon, advocate for the arts. as television came of age, it
8:02 pm
was ultimately the tragic images of president kennedy's assassination and funeral that cemented jacqueline kennedy in the public consciousness. good evening and welcome to c-span's series "first ladies: influence and image." tonight, we'll tell you the story of the wife of the 35th president of the united states, named jacqueline bouvier kennedy. and we have two guests at the table for the next two hours to tell you more about her life story. michael beschloss, presidential historian, author of many books on the presidency, and has a special focus over the years on the cold war era and the kennedy administration. thanks for being here. michael beschloss: pleasure. swain: barbara perry is a uva political scientist and as part of the "modern first ladies" series at the university of kansas has written a jacqueline kennedy biography. nice to see you. perry: great to be here. swain: i want to start on our program before we get into more details about her white house years, with the assassination and the imagery of the assassination since anyone alive at that age certainly has those images seared in their mind. and subsequently because of the power of the internet -- in the
8:03 pm
video we were talking before about, it's a collective consciousness. people have experienced this since it happened. she was just 34 years old, is that correct? beschloss: just 34 years old. and, you know, from the moment at dallas, you know, i think we know so much about this story, you sometimes forget he was shot, in fact into her arms for five minutes they were going to the hospital. he was there with sightless eyes. and she felt almost from the moment that they left the hospital to go back to washington that her great mission had to be to do something to make sure that he had the historical reputation that he deserved, but would not be there to fight for. swain: but where did a 34-year-old woman have the sense to -- and the experience -- what did she draw from to put this funeral with so many iconic images together in such a short time? beschloss: she once said when she was a young women and she said this somewhat jokingly, "my ambition in life is to be the art director of the 20th century." and oddly enough, she almost turned out to be that, at
8:04 pm
least for the kennedy administration. and she felt that one thing that would be very important for his legacy would be, as horrible as dallas was, to sort of wipe out the view of that and restore the american people's dignity by having three or four days of ceremony that she hoped would be what they remembered, rather than the tawdriness of what had happened in texas. swain: barbara perry, unfortunately, as we've gone through the first ladies, this is not our first presidential assassination and presidential widow. but it's the first one really in the television age. as a political scientist, you talk about the power of television to affect the public view. how did it play out in this case? perry: well, certainly for the funeral, she knew that she wanted to go back to the lincoln rites -- the funeral rites for abraham lincoln, our first assassinated president. and that is indeed what she did. she asked her brother-in-law and she asked the president's various friends and aides to come -- come to her aid and to find books on the lincoln funeral. and they did. and then all of this played out on television. so, i always like to point out that when eisenhower was first
8:05 pm
elected in 1952, about 20 percent of american households had television sets. and by this time in 1963, probably 90 to 95 percent had televisions. and i'm sure like michael and perhaps you as well, i can remember sitting in our family's living room on that night of november 22, 1963 and seeing mrs. kennedy walk out of air force one behind her husband's casket. and i think i can remember my parents and my two older brothers gasping to see mrs. kennedy in her bloodstained suit. beschloss: right. and she -- we now know that what she was saying to people, lady bird johnson on that plane said, "please, jackie, let me get someone to help you change your clothes." she said, "no, i want people to see what they have done to jack." swain: understood the power of that imagery. beschloss: yes. swain: we will have two hours for your questions and comments. and to tell you with video clips, audio clips, and your conversation, the story of jacqueline kennedy. what's made this series so interesting, really, is the questions that you ask, and we'd like to encourage you to take part once again tonight.
8:06 pm
there are three ways you can do it. you can tweet us at first ladies; you can post a comment on our facebook page and there's a conversation already underway with a number of questions; and you can also call us. our numbers are 202-585-3880 if you live in the eastern or central time zones; mountain, pacific and farther west, 202-585-3881. and we'll get to your calls in just a bit. i'd like to start with a phone conversation with president johnson. i'm going to ask you to explain about johnson's phone conversations and why we have them before we listen. what did he do in the white house... (crosstalk) beschloss: he taped his telephone conversations, as eisenhower and roosevelt had a little bit and as kennedy had a little bit more, but johnson about 650 hours over five years. and taped people in most cases without their knowledge, which would include jacqueline kennedy, whom at that point she had a very good relationship more or less with lbj. but i think she would not have been too thrilled to know that he was having this call taped.
8:07 pm
swain: this is a phone conversation from just 10 days after the death of her husband, jacqueline kennedy and the new president, lyndon johnson. let's listen. (begin audio clip) president lyndon b. johnson: listen, lady, now the first thing you've got to learn, you've got some things to learn. and one of them is that you don't bother me. you give me strength. jacqueline kennedy: but i wasn't going to send you one more letter. i was just scared you'd answer it. president johnson: don't send me anything. don't send me anything. you just come over and put your arm around me. that's all you do. when you haven't got anything else to do, let's take a walk. let's walk around the backyard and just let me -- let me tell you how much you mean to all of us and how we can carry on if you give us a little strength. jacqueline kennedy: but you know what i want to say to you about that letter? i know how rare a letter is in a president's handwriting. do you know that i've got more in your handwriting than i do in jack's now? president johnson: (inaudible). jacqueline kennedy: and for you to write it at this time and then send me that thing today of, you know, your tape announcement and everything. president johnson: i want you to just know this, that i told my mama a long time ago, when everybody else gave up about my
8:08 pm
election in '48... jacqueline kennedy: yes? president johnson: ... my mother and my wife and my sisters, and you females got a lot of courage that we men don't have. and so we have to rely on you and depend on you, and you've got something to do. you've got the president relying on you. and this is not the first one you've had. so there are not many women, you know, with a good many presidents. so you just -- you just bear that in mind that you've got the biggest job in your life. (laughter) jacqueline kennedy: she ran around with two presidents. that's what they'll say about me. (laughter) ok. any time. president johnson: good-bye, darling. jacqueline kennedy: thank you for calling, mr. president. good-bye. president johnson: do come back. jacqueline kennedy: i will. (end audio clip) swain: barbara perry, this relationship between lbj and president kennedy was not always the easiest of relationships. but after his assassination, how did he treat the departing first family and jackie kennedy in particular? perry: oh, very well. and mrs. kennedy often talked about how grateful she was to president -- the new president johnson, though i think it sometimes caught in her throat to have to say "president
8:09 pm
johnson" to him. beschloss: true, understandably. perry: understandably. and unlike the president's mother, who, when she was called just a couple of hours after the assassination from air force one by president johnson, just very easily slips into calling him "mr. president." but i think that kind of stuck in the throat of mrs. kennedy. but she was very, very grateful to both mrs. johnson and president johnson that they were so gracious to her, and let her stay in the white house until december 6th. and so, she was both able to stay there with her children until she got a sense of where she was going to go. she had no home to go to. and, as one writer has said, in those seconds of carnage in dallas, mrs. kennedy lost her husband, her home and her job. so, she literally had no place to go until averell harriman opened his home to her in georgetown. so, she needed a place to live. caroline was going to nursery school and kindergarten there, so she was very grateful to the president for that. swain: now, you have listened to a lot of jacqueline kennedy on the tapes project, which we'll tell people more detail about. beschloss: many times. swain: but she sounds so in control of herself in what we heard, 10 days after the assassination and going through
8:10 pm
that whole funeral. help us understand her and her psyche, as you've come to understand it. beschloss: well, there was strength there, but i think you would find this often with someone who's lost a spouse, or someone very close to them. she said just, you know, during the days of the funeral and the ceremony, she said to one of her associates, you know, "just -- just keep on moving right now. we can all collapse later." and really, until she left the white house, there were enough decisions that she had to make -- where to live, you know, even early decisions about the presidential library, trying to make sure that her children were as -- in as normal an environment as possible in this unbelievably -- you can't think of anything that's more abnormal than the children lose their husband -- or their father this way. and once they got to georgetown, i think that's when she really did, you know, sort of almost collapse. and that was late december through the beginning of the spring. she went through a terrible depression, you know, quite understandably. but before then, you couldn't
8:11 pm
ask for more than she did in terms of keeping this whole situation together. swain: so, in the days before the trip to dallas, what was the popularity level of the kennedy administration and mrs. kennedy in particular? perry: right. well, the president had suffered in the gallup polls because of civil rights, because of... beschloss: about 20 points. perry: yeah, indeed. he had fallen particularly in the southern states. so, he -- he was concerned. and, of course, he was going to texas to try to cement the party there and raise money for the '64 campaign. it was really the kickoff for the '64 presidential reelection campaign. mrs. kennedy, though -- gallup did not take regular polls about the first lady at that time. beschloss: isn't that amazing that it was not... perry: it is. but early on, in '61, she was polling at about 59 percent. and then starting in 1962, gallup did take -- it started actually in 1948 -- they had started their "most admired woman" poll. and so, in '62, she's finally supplanted eleanor roosevelt, who had been the most admired number one for about 12 years.
8:12 pm
and then mrs. kennedy was for about five or six more years after that. so, i would say she was -- she was riding high. and remember, they had lost their baby, patrick, in august of '63. and so, i think people felt particularly kindly toward her. swain: and the -- you have a point? beschloss: there's also an irony, because during -- when john kennedy was planning his campaign in 1960, once made an offhand remark: "during this campaign, we'll have to run jackie through subliminally." and what he meant by that was that jackie was someone who he thought of had been raised in a rather elite way, and rode horses, and would have a life experience that -- that might not be too politically helpful. and there was no one who was more astounded and absolutely delighted that she had turned into this vast political asset so that when jfk was planning this trip to texas, john connally and the others down in texas, the governor of texas said, "you have to bring mrs. kennedy because she is so popular, you'll have much bigger crowds," as indeed he did. swain: i just have to say,
8:13 pm
though, john kennedy, much wealthier than she. so why was it -- why would the public not react to his wealth in ways that he was concerned about with her? beschloss: i think he felt that, as many political leaders who come from affluence do, that he managed to give at least the impression of a regular guy in the navy, and did not -- for instance, she once bought him in 1957 as a birthday gift a jaguar. how politically innocent she was. and he had it returned. i think he traded it in for a buick. (laughter) but he felt that she was not someone who would have much political experience and, you know, compared to, for instance, pat nixon in 1960, might be a difficult comparison. it turned out to be just the opposite. perry: and she talked in the oral history about how she felt that she was a drag on him in the early days. beschloss: right. she said, "i said to jack i'm sorry i'm such a dud for you." perry: that's right. beschloss: very quickly, that proved not to be the case. swain: before we get into more detail on the 1960 campaign, i would like to understand the creation of the imagery of camelot. how did that come about?
8:14 pm
beschloss: that was a week after the assassination, jackie kennedy asked teddy white, who was a family friend and a journalist, by then was writing often for life magazine, to come up to hyannis port and interview her with the idea that what she wanted to say would get into life magazine. the presses were held for this. and she said, you know, "late at night, you know, before jack and i went to sleep in the white house, we had this little victrola and we used to play the record of "camelot," you know, the play." and needless to say, editors at life and also teddy white saw this was going to be the big theme. and actually, she urged him to make camelot the major theme of his article. but when it came out, the kennedy presidency and camelot made its debut. i think in the end, she may not have been doing the presidency of -- it may not have been something that helped because to say that those years which, you know, had their lights and darks, were all, you know, knights and, you know, great
8:15 pm
noble deeds, were almost setting him up for the revisionist movement of the 1970s, as indeed did happen. perry: i think she also must have known that these would come along and that she could get out in front of them perhaps with this -- this wonderful shining moment, as the lyric said, "one brief shining moment." and we know, as you say, there was a dark side of camelot, but it certainly was brief. and all you have to do is look at the imagery to see that they were a shining couple with two beguiling shining children. beschloss: true. swain: well, we're going to spend a little bit of time on the 1960 campaign that brought the kennedys to the white house. and to do that, we'll be visiting the jfk library. we'll do that throughout our program tonight, to learn more about her role in helping her husband during that campaign. (begin video clip) james wagner: in her oral history, mrs. kennedy speaks at great length about president kennedy's love of reading, love of history; his belief in the power of words. and that's something i think that's a belief they both shared.
8:16 pm
and what i like about this story here is it shows -- it's an example of that belief in the power of words. and it's a great example of the collaboration between husband and wife. and this is very early in his presidential campaign, late 1959. in those early days, mrs. kennedy did travel with him on the campaign trail as much as possible. this is a reading copy of a speech he presented in washington state in june of 1959. mrs. kennedy was with him at that dinner. and president kennedy obviously had speechwriters, but he would often rewrite and edit his speeches up until the moment he was about to deliver it. and at this particular dinner, as he was waiting to speak, he wanted to close his speech with some verses from ulysses, the great poem ulysses. so he actually asked mrs. kennedy -- he's written a note here to mrs. kennedy, "give me the last lines from ulysses,
8:17 pm
come my friend." and then following in mrs. kennedy's hand is actually the rest of the poem, which she knew from memory and gave it to him so that he could close his speech with those words. (end video clip) swain: we have a facebook viewer that writes: "in clips from the 1960 campaign, you rarely see mrs. kennedy." this is kurt herner who writes this. "she was not present at the democratic national convention in los angeles. because of the difficulty during her 1956 pregnancy, which she was actively campaigning for her husband to be on the national ticket for v.p., did mrs. kennedy feel, since she was pregnant again, she couldn't bear losing another baby?" perry: this is so true. she had just a terrible record in her pregnancy. she had lost a baby to miscarriage in 1955, and then as this person points out, she had lost a baby, stillborn, a little girl in 1956, right after that very hot, non-air conditioned... beschloss: and she remembered the jostling in the crowds and... perry: right. so she was really just afraid to go.
8:18 pm
and so i think what this person is referring to is from about april onward in 1960, she did tend to stay home, though she did go with the future president, president to be, to a jostling parade in october 1960 through manhattan, through the canyons of manhattan with lots of tickertape. but she was definitely great with child -- the child would be, of course, john, jr. beschloss: and of course, jfk, who always had this great sense of humor, his friend ben bradlee also had a wife who was great with child. and so right after the election was won in hyannis port, jfk said to the two women, "all right, girls, you can take the pillow out. we've won." (laughter) swain: so, what role really did she play? and at one point you talked about the vetting, the concern that she would seem too effete. but at what point did john kennedy realize he actually had a political asset on his hands? beschloss: probably the moment that that began to happen was when they went to paris in the spring of 1961 and there were a lot of people who turned out both to see john kennedy, and also to see jackie, who had been
8:19 pm
-- who had been a student in paris, was known to be; had french ancestry, spoke french, and certainly knew french art and history. that was the first time she began to get enormous crowds. and then domestically, what really did it, and i know we'll talk about this a little bit later on, is the program in february of 1962 when she did the tour of the white house that she had worked so hard to restore. swain: so it wasn't for the campaigning for the white house, but after he was in he began to realize that she could help with sustaining popularity. beschloss: right. exactly. indeed. swain: we're going to take a few calls. first is ida in west palm beach, florida. ida, you're on the air. welcome. ida (ph): thank you so much, susan. i'm really enjoying the series very, very much. my question is, i was only five years old when the president was assassinated, so i don't really remember it. but i've read so many books about the president and mrs. kennedy and i'm a very great admirer of hers. and obviously one of the biggest images was the day of the
8:20 pm
assassination, her pink-stained suit. and i would like to know after she removed it, because i know she did not want to remove it before they returned to washington, as she said she wanted the world to see what had happened to him. what did become of that suit? was it destroyed? or has it been preserved somewhere? and if so, where? and will it ever be shown to the public? and i thank you again very much. perry: as i understand it, once she removed it, it was stored i believe in her mother's attic in georgetown. and if people are familiar with the book by william manchester, "death of a president," they'll see the last paragraph of that book talks about when he saw, after some years went by, the packaged dress. and he could see the stains and he said, "if one didn't know the story of that pink chanel suit, one would say the person who wore this had met a terrible end." i think as i understand...
8:21 pm
beschloss: it goes on to say the last line of the book, "you might even wonder who had been to blame." perry: right. (crosstalk) beschloss: the mystery of the assassination. perry: the mystery of the assassination. but as we understand, it's with the archives now. the pillbox hat, i understand is still missing, but it's with the archives and caroline has made sure that it will not appear to the public before i think it's 2103. beschloss: i don't think any of us will be seeing that dress. perry: we will not see it, unless there are changes in medical science. swain: mary is in logan, utah. mary, you're on. good evening. mary (ph): yes, this program has been amazing and wonderful and one of the best things on television, and thank you for that. my question is, jacqueline kennedy was such a great style icon and known for that. but in reading her books by her private secretary, mary barelli gallagher, this was an issue with the president of the cost of the wardrobe.
8:22 pm
as much as was spent on her clothing, was she known as a frugal individual otherwise during the white house years? and thank you so much. beschloss: not by her husband, i think if he were here to say about that truthfully. but as far as, you know, the way that she dressed, she spent an awful lot on clothing. and that was i think by the best information we have, that was actually supported by joseph kennedy who said, "you know, dress as you need to and send me the bills," because they felt that this was something that would be very important to that presidency. and in those days, it turned out to be a great asset. perry: it did become a bit of an issue in the '60 campaign. there were some statements in the press about -- that she must have spent perhaps $30,000 a year on her wardrobe. beschloss: it turns out she spent a lot more and she put out a statement saying, "i couldn't spend $30,000 even if i wore sable underwear," which she did not wear. (laughter) swain: well, plus she had the nixons -- and pat nixon and... beschloss: republican cloth coat.
8:23 pm
swain: exactly. so the contrast was drawn for the public, and it was a close election. beschloss: indeed. perry: and then she wore a cloth coat to the inauguration instead of a fur. beschloss: right, right. swain: so next i'm going to have a clip of jacqueline kennedy in her own words, a project that you know so very well. i want to show the audience the book that came out of this, "jacqueline kennedy: historic conversations on life with john f. kennedy," which you annotated and introduced and worked with caroline kennedy on. what is this project, before we listen to the tape? beschloss: well, when jackie kennedy, right in the wake of the assassination, she was reading all sorts of stories about her husband wouldn't amount to very much because it had only been two years and 10 months. so she was so determined to try to help him win this reputation that she felt he deserved. one of the things that was urged on her by arthur schlesinger, the white house aide and historian, was there was a new movement called "oral history" which barbara is working very deeply in right now at the university of virginia.
8:24 pm
and that is that, you know, when there are historical events that may not be recorded in letters, we go and interview a great figure in history and somehow try to fill in the gap. so schlesinger interviewed her at her house in georgetown i think about eight times -- it was about eight, 10 hours in the end -- only a few months after the assassination when her memories were very fresh. and the idea would be that she would speak freely. he told her, "speak to the historian of the 21st century." and these were closed until about 2011, when caroline felt that they should be published and were. swain: has any other first lady done a similar oral history? perry: well, she was certainly the first, jacqueline kennedy was. i'm trying to think of another... beschloss: lady bird johnson did, which you may deal with next week. perry: lady bird, oh yes. yes, and there's a wonderful book now, a transcript book by oxford university press. so it contains all of her oral history interviews as well. swain: well, here's a sampling from one. this is a critique actually, her view of lyndon johnson and the role he played as vice president. (begin audio clip) jacqueline kennedy: but i know jack had to do it because -- have lyndon as his running mate,
8:25 pm
to (inaudible) majority leader, because had this man with this enormous ego, would've been just enraged and blocking jack in every way. jack would say you could never get an opinion out of lyndon, and then he -- cabinet or national security meeting, and he asked to go to luxembourg, i mean, i think it's so pathetic when all you can find to do with the president who's dying to give you a lot to do is take a state trip to luxembourg, and so, lyndon as vice president didn't just do anything. (end audio clip) swain: i want to read something from barbara's book before we get to michael. you write in this that arthur schlesinger said, "i realize that underneath a veil of lovely inconsequence, she concealed tremendous awareness." and john kenneth galbraith, equally struck by this trait, "jackie had a very shrewd view of people and who the real people were and who the phonies were and a clear
8:26 pm
distinction between those who were bright and those who were stupid." so, we're hearing her -- the tapes are actually filled with her assessments of people. beschloss: she was pretty definite. swain: did john f. kennedy use this to his advantage as a political partnership? perry: i think so. i think that was her political contribution in addition to what we just said about the imagery and mastery of television and that sort of thing, because i think we'll talk about the fact that she didn't have a major impact on policy and that by her own admission... beschloss: nor did she want one. perry: nor did she want one, and he didn't talk to her about it very much. i mean, he might on occasion mention something, but he didn't seek her out for advice, so i think it's the case that if he was going to have any connection with her at all in terms of politics, it would be as they went off on these trips or more likely, when they were coming back from political trips, and she did go to 46 of the then 48 states with him, in 1959 and '60, when they were really out with the rank and file. and so i'm sure that she was on
8:27 pm
the plane with him coming back, saying, "that person's a phony, that one's real. that one's stupid, that one's really smart. make sure you keep up with that one." beschloss: sure. and if -- if you go through these tapes as i have, you know, you hear the people that she criticizes, like adlai stevenson, or dean rusk, the secretary of state. these were people who tended not to do too well in the kennedy administration, though she praises like robert mcnamara did very well, so i think he really did listen to her. one thing to remember though, and that is how different these times were in those days, the moment that the kennedys went to texas, on the 21st of november, 50 years ago, 1963, since the inauguration, jackie kennedy had never been west of virginia. she did not travel domestically in this country. she had small children. she didn't campaign. she thought that that would be something to do in an election year, and that's why going to texas meant so much, because she said, "jack, i will do anything to help you, especially because it may be a close election in 1964."
8:28 pm
swain: so, what else do you learn about her savvy in listening to all these hours of tapes? beschloss: that this is someone, you remember what you were mentioning what schlesinger and galbraith had said, that this is someone who gave the impression of someone who was not involved in politics, for instance, before the election in 1960 or actually the conventions of 1960, she was asked by a reporter, "where do you think the democratic convention should be held? "acapulco," she said. perry: she at one point -- she asked what the date -- you know, when -- when... (crosstalk) beschloss: what is the date of the inauguration? and she said these things, and she probably was not completely on top of it, but it shows you how different the role of a potential first lady was in those days, because if she had given the image that she is sitting here giving jack all this advice on who in the entourage is not going to serve him well, and who is, that would've been something that would not have helped her in very much. plus, in terms of society in those days, a woman like this, sadly, you know, who seemed to
8:29 pm
be too professional and too hard edged -- which is the way it would have been seen in 1960 -- would also not have been a political asset. perry: and katherine graham, the publisher -- like, publisher of the washington post -- said, to be honest, the kennedy men -- and probably many men -- and she said including her husband, phil graham -- were chauvinists. and she said they just weren't interest in what women had to say about anything of substance. beschloss: very much of their time. perry: right. swain: and when did the tapes come out, versus when you worked on the biography? perry: the tapes came out, thanks to michael and caroline kennedy, in fall of 2012. and my book was published... beschloss: 2011, actually. perry: 2011 -- excuse me. and my book was published in 2004. much to my chagrin, the tapes weren't available to write the book. swain: so, when you heard her in her own words, did it square with the view you had developed in your biography, or did you learn new things? perry: i -- i did. i thought they did. and so, i -- at first, i thought, "oh, dear. i wish i had had these to write the book." but then i realized it would have added color. it would have added some substance, to be sure. and, most of all, it would have added michael's superb annotation and editing of the
8:30 pm
oral history. but i -- i found that it actually followed the examples that we just gave of galbraith and schlesinger talking about mrs. kennedy. i thought as soon as i listen to the -- the oral history... beschloss: once you get behind the scenes, you'll actually see that she does learn all this since perry: right. it supported it. and -- but what it also made me think about in terms of the camelot image was how she wanted to shape that image of her husband after his death. and that i think part of it may have been that to denigrate others around him sometimes raised him up. i think there may have been a part of that, as well. beschloss: it's that, and also, just humanly. you know, we heard when she was dissing lbj on various things. it's one of the ways that you always have to be skeptical of oral history because that was the spring of 1964. during the presidency, her relationship with lbj was quite good. johnson later said that she was the only person in the whole entourage, aside from the president, who treated him nicely. and she made a great effort to do that. but by the spring of 1964, she was very close to robert kennedy.
8:31 pm
they were talking all the time. by then, he had already -- was on the outs with lbj, and was essentially talking to her about lbj's shortcomings. so, i think you have to really listen to that with that in mind. swain: while we're talking about first person historical documents, sheldon cooper on twitter asks, "some of the previous first ladies burn letters from their husbands. did jackie do that, or did john write to her very much?" perry: well, i think she says in the december 2nd... beschloss: she does. perry: ... 1963 phone call with lbj -- and you even hear a little emotion in her voice, where she says, "you know, i -- i now have more handwritten letters from you, mr. president lyndon johnson, than i did from jack" -- i don't think she... beschloss: and jfk, in general, did not write long, emotive letters to anyone. perry: right. he certainly wrote a lot as a youngster to his parents and to siblings, but was not a romantic... beschloss: mm-hmm. perry: ... i think it would be safe to say, towards his wife. but we don't know that she burned any letters, but her letters currently are not available yet at the kennedy library. swain: rachel is in portland, oregon. hi, rachel. rachel (ph): hi.
8:32 pm
thank you so much for this program. and i was wondering, how did jacqueline kennedy influence art and fashion in the united states? swain: and, rachel, may i ask how old you are, watching our program tonight? rachel (ph): i'm 12. swain: 12 years old? and... beschloss: what a great question. swain: ... how -- how much did you know about jacqueline kennedy before you started watching tonight? rachel (ph): i've been studying a lot about her recently. swain: why is that? rachel (ph): i like -- i like that studying history very much. and i really enjoyed studying about her, and so i decided to study about her after finding a book at the library. swain: well, thank you very much. it's great to have you participating in the program tonight. thanks for making the effort to call in. so, we're going to actually talk about her influence next. so, let me answer her question by showing a video, and then we can talk... beschloss: terrific. swain: ... more about it. beschloss: and i might say, hooray for rachel. that was a great question. perry: right. and i would say, at her age, 12,
8:33 pm
i was writing, "jfk: the person i most admire." beschloss: uh-huh. great. perry: so, go -- go, rachel. you'll end up with a ph.d in history or political science. it's a great life. swain: we're going to return to the kennedy presidential library and look a bit at how they helped interpret jacqueline kennedy as a style icon. (begin video clip) wagner: of course, mrs. kennedy is very well known as a style icon. admiration of her fashion sense. and the first ensemble she wore as first lady, of course, was on inauguration day, this greige colored wool coat and dress, designed by oleg cassini. i think it's sort of a wonderful example of her simple elegance that became very, very popular. and the only thing she wore to adorn the ensemble was a really beautiful ruby brooch by tiffany that jfk actually gave her to celebrate the birth of john junior. and she wore that during the
8:34 pm
inaugural luncheon, right after the swearing in. and, of course, most famously, finishing the ensemble was this pill box hat by halston, which she wore that day. not -- and she wore it on the back of her head so that her face could be seen. and that actually set a -- a fashion trend. or as the hat would normally be worn on the very top of the head, she had it pushed back to sort of frame her face. displayed here in its storage box is perhaps one of mrs. kennedy's best known dresses, the chez ninon dress she wore during her televised tour of the white house in february of 1962. visitors to our museum, when we have this dress on exhibit, are quite surprised to realize that it's red, 'cause, of course, the program was -- was filmed in black and white and broadcast in black and white. but i like to surmise that she chose red for that program knowing that it would be televised on valentine's day, 1962. let's go into the museum and
8:35 pm
look at some other examples of jacqueline kennedy's clothing that we have on display. mrs. kennedy put an awful lot of thought into her wardrobe when she was representing the country both at the white house and while traveling abroad. she would think about "what colors would mean something to the country i'm about to visit." so, for her visit to canada in may of 1961 -- actually, the first state visit the kennedys made as president and first lady -- she chose this red suit by pierre cardin as a gesture of respect for the -- the red of the canadian maple leaf, and knowing that she would be greeted by the royal canadian mounted police, who very famously wear red. in this case here, we display a pistachio green coat and hat worn by the first lady for her arrival in bogota, columbia in december of 1961. the president and first lady travelled throughout south america on that visit.
8:36 pm
were greeted by hundreds of thousands of people, an overwhelming response, particularly when mrs. kennedy would address the crowds in spanish. i really admire the thought that mrs. kennedy put into her wardrobe. she would think about the event she was attending or the country she would -- was visiting. was there a style or a particular color that she could wear that would mean something to her hosts? and she also knew the advantage of choosing a color or a style that would make her stand out in a crowd. (end video clip) swain: so, what should we know about this, other than the fact that the woman loved clothes and looked great in them? i mean, how did she approach -- this question for both of you -- her use of fashion to influence women in the country, or advance the position of the united states abroad? beschloss: she felt that this was -- that for the first lady to dress in the -- sort of in the best of american fashion, try to bring the best of american art and culture to the white house would show the rest of the world -- and she said this a little bit during the
8:37 pm
televised tour in february of 1962 -- essentially suggest that the united states was no longer this young, adolescent, unformed, (stripling) country but a country -- this (would) not have been her language but worthy of being considered as a superpower. perry: and that's where i say she goes from being a clotheshorse to a cold warrior... beschloss: indeed. perry: ... because she... beschloss: she understood this was a part of diplomacy. perry: exactly and helped to draw in what we then called third-world countries. we were the new world and she -- what better representation of the new world than this 31, 32, 33-year-old young, fresh woman with these youthful fashions and... beschloss: and to go to paris looking the equal of people in paris the way... perry: right. beschloss: ... that they were dressed. perry: and when in paris, she did wear givenchy. swain: however last week with mamie eisenhower, she and herself set trends across the country, people were imitating her and it was just a couple of years before that people were putting mamie bangs in their hair. so... beschloss: you know, it's fascinating to hear what they said about the -- you could buy an artificial bang in the drug store. perry: right.
8:38 pm
swain: you could buy them on ebay probably. perry: but we were -- we were talking beforehand about the ike dress, the ike sun dress and we said we didn't that mrs. kennedy... beschloss: that was not something that jackie would wear. perry: ... would wear. there was just an -- an upping of the style, upping of the level of the style and i think that goes to all oleg cassini who wrote to mrs. kennedy. first of all, she picked him because he was american though he had european ties and hollywood ties. but he said, "i will create a wardrobe for you on the world stage," and indeed he did. beschloss: and she wrote to him saying, "i want jack and myself to dress as if jack were president of france." and in a way, that happened. it's not something she ever would have said in public. swain: and how did the american public respond? perry: by and large, they loved it. now every now and again, she was a little too youthful like when she'd show up in a bathing suit or be water skiing. so you'd have some conservatives... beschloss: it looked very contemporary. perry: yeah, right, we'd say, "oh no, that's -- a first lady shouldn't do that. and if you do think of the previous three first ladies, eleanor roosevelt and bess
8:39 pm
truman and the eisenhower... beschloss: don't think that they were water skiing in bikinis. perry: they were not and they were in their 60s when they left office and they were somewhat matronly and they had grandchildren in some instances. and so she seemed like everyone's older sister or cousin rather than their -- their maiden aunt or their grandmother. swain: let's take a call next from judy in newport news, virginia. hi judy. you're on. judy (ph): hello. love the series and we're really enjoying it. thank you so much. it seems to me that i've heard mrs. kennedy's name pronounced sometimes as "jacqueline." am i recollecting that correctly or is that not true? thank you very much. beschloss: she preferred to be called "jacqueline." she knew that that was a losing battle. she was usually called jackie, which she hated but that was a really losing battle. and she says in her oral history, "both jack and i had thought that the combination jack and jackie was quite unfortunate. swain: anthony is watching in chicago. hi anthony. anthony (ph): hi.
8:40 pm
how you guys doing today? swain: great. thank you. what's your question, please? anthony (ph): my question was that we (are really going through this) this in my high school right now as we speak. as you all know, there was a film, zapruder, if i'm pronouncing his name right. we were looking at it in class, which is graphic, and i was horrified, of course. but i was wondering when he got shot, that fatal last shot, when jacqueline -- was jacqueline kennedy trying to jump out of the car in that video or was it just to -- you know, trying to protect herself? swain: thanks. and -- and you're in high school. what year in high school? anthony (ph): i'm a junior. swain: all right. thank you for your call, anthony. beschloss: the answer is we don't know why. she was asked about it at the warren commission and she said that, "i've seen the pictures of myself climbing on the car but i just don't remember that." she was too deeply in shock. swain: if you taught a high school class, would you show the
8:41 pm
zapruder film? perry: i would not. and i have to say just like the explosion of the challenger, i, to this day, have not watched the fatal shot on the zapruder film. it's too painful. i can't do it. and i wouldn't show it to students. swain: but it's widely available on the internet... (crosstalk) perry: i'm sure they can see it. swain: and is it helpful, maybe, to talk about it in a classroom where they have a guided discussion of the scene? perry: perhaps. but i just -- that would be a line that i would have to draw. and then i would have to say to them, as i mentioned earlier, that i remember that day so well as a seven-year-old being taken off to -- to church from catholic school to pray the rosary for the president who'd been wounded and then to be told at the end of the day he had died and we would say our prayer of the day for him. so it's just simply too painful. i have to step back from my objective professor scholarly side and be a human. swain: jennifer sherman asks on twitter, michael beschloss, "what would jackie think about the jfk 50 documentaries that are all over television this month? would she be happy this story is still being told"? and she refers to that quote, "i want them to see what they did""
8:42 pm
beschloss: i think what she would say -- and there's always a hazard in talking about an historical figure and what they might or might not have thought -- but she was so worried at the end of 1963 that jack would be forgotten. she would say over and over again to her friends and others, "please don't let them forget jack." and i think at the very least, she certainly wouldn't approve of everything that's being shown. but at least it is a sign that he has not been forgotten. far from it. perry: and the camelot label has remained. she would have to be pleased with that. beschloss: in some quarters. swain: our young caller also talked about her influence on the arts. our next video from, again, the -- the kennedy library is a trip that she took to india and pakistan in early 1962 along with her sister, lee radziwill. let's watch that and we'll talk more about her international travel and her influence on the arts. (begin video clip) jacqueline kennedy: i must say, i'm profoundly impressed by the reverence, which you in pakistan have for your art and for you culture and for the use which
8:43 pm
you make of it now. my own countrymen too have a pride in their traditions. so i think as i stand in these gardens, which were built long before my country was born, that's one more thing that binds us together and which always will. (end video clip) swain: the interesting thing on this, we were just talking about so much of the images of the kennedy administration are black and white and here we are in color. how did that happen? beschloss: this was a presidency and a president who actually was very conscious of the value of color photography. one of the last tapes that we have of him from november of 1963, he's talking about plans for the 1964 democratic convention. he says, "i want to have a motion picture about the administration in color because that has so much impact." and so one lucky thing for us is that there would have been a united states information agency, cinematographers accompanying her on a trip like this. so we have a color film, which
8:44 pm
was very rare for the time. swain: how many international trips did she take during the administration, approximately? perry: well, let's see. this, of course, was by herself, with her sister but not with the president. so it was -- would be viewed as an unofficial trip. and then official, we could start with the canadian trip. that was their first trip out of the country in march of '61 then paris and vienna in june of 1961. they made several trips south of the border so they went to puerto rico, to columbia, to venezuela, i believe to costa rica. and then let's see. where else had they gone? any idea... beschloss: well, it's like she felt that it was not her duty outside of campaigns to travel domestically in the country... perry: right. so she tended to travel by herself, again... beschloss: right. perry: ... with family for vacations. beschloss: true. perry: and then this was an unofficial trip beschloss: but -- but she felt she knew how important it was for her... perry: right, right... beschloss: ... to go, for instance, with him to... perry: (inaudible) beschloss: ... vienna when khrushchev was meeting with him, bringing his wife. swain: and how important was -- were these trips to advancing the foreign policy of the administration? beschloss: well, i think that for jfk and jackie to get
8:45 pm
receptions like the kind that they do in paris, for instance, in 1961, or when they went to vienna to meet with khrushchev and got a reception on the streets that was 10 times that that greeted the leader of the soviet union, nikita khrushchev, that was a time when the united states was trying to make the point, "we're the rising power that you, third-world countries, should align with us, not the soviet union." it helped. swain: next up is dennis, who's in brooklyn. hi dennis. you're on the air. welcome. dennis (ph): yes, hi. thank you susan, thank you for this program. i just wanted to ask, we've already mentioned that mrs. kennedy had a huge influence on the art, style, and culture. i'm curious: ever since i saw how she finished that ulysses quote earlier in the evening during her '60 campaign, her -- she was incredibly well-read. was it her education, or was it her upbringing that fueled her intelligence? perry: it was both. as she talked about, in an
8:46 pm
autobiographical essay that she had done for the prix de paris competition in 1951, she talked about her upbringing, and she said that she was a tomboy, and she liked to go horseback riding, but she also liked to be by herself and sit in a room and read rudyard kipling and little lord fauntleroy, and she just loved to read books, especially with a european cast to them. so, she was a reader, an avid reader, much like her husband, but she tended to read literature, he tended to read history. and then she continued this throughout, and then she also had a superb background and education, both for her prep school years as well as going two years to vassar, then to the sorbonne for junior year abroad in paris, and then finally, to finish up at george washington university. so one of really a relatively handful of first ladies up to that time with a bachelor's degree, an undergraduate degree. beschloss: and you know, as we talk about art, i think sometimes it's forgotten, her influence on historic preservation. you know, nowadays we take it as
8:47 pm
a given when there's a beautiful and historic building. there had better be a very good reason to take it down or else you do not do it. just 50 years ago, that was not the case. you know, that's when the term urban renewal was used. that something new was usually better than something old. if john kennedy and particularly jackie kennedy as first lady had not been the president and first lady in the early 1960s, the executive office building next to the white house would've been torn down, which dwight eisenhower was very eager to do, thought it was an eyesore. probably half of lafayette square, the president's park, north of the white house would've been torn down. perry: including dolly madison's home. beschloss: yep, historic. perry: i came by there on the way here tonight, and there was the white house, all lit up, bathed in light, and the beautiful lafayette square around it. beschloss: and it would've been replaced by federal office buildings of the time that would look roughly like a federal penitentiary and a prison yard. that shows what a difference that it made that she was there, and it really helped the historic preservation movement to accelerate.
8:48 pm
swain: you quote in your book tish baldridge. who was she? perry: tish baldridge was her social secretary and schoolmate from miss porter's school in connecticut. they had been in prep school together. swain: you write, many years later, baldridge wrote that mrs. kennedy designed her mission as first lady along the following lines. do you remember the mission, or shall i read it? perry: i'll let you read it. swain: all right. preservation of her family, entertaining with style and grace in the number one house in the world, the makeover of the white house itself as a focus of american history and accomplishment, and the raising of the cultural stature of this country. perry: and isn't that amazing, that she wrote that before going into the white house? beschloss: sure. perry: that she already had that sense, that firm sense. first of all, family and children first, as anyone would hope that would be the case, but that she already had what we would call today a mission statement before she began her first ladyship. swain: well, on her family, our next clip is from nbc's (sandra vernoker) and an interview that he did for his network about
8:49 pm
raising children in the white house. let's watch. (begin video clip) jacqueline kennedy: it is rather hard with children. there's so little privacy. i don't mind for myself, but i think it's very hard with them. for instance, i wanted to take my daughter to the circus last week, and i decided i just shouldn't, because i would ruin it for her. i work so hard to make her little ballet school a private thing that we could do together, and there were all the photographers waiting when we got there. so, it's a little hard. sandra vernoker (ph): do you think that caroline, for example, who's older than john jr., has she been changed much by the attention she's gotten? jacqueline kennedy: no, because she's still too little. but some day, she's going to have to go to school and if she's in the papers all the time, that will affect her little classmates, and they'll treat her differently.
8:50 pm
that's what i'm so anxious -- we always treat her the same, but it's how other people treat her, because they read about her. (end video clip) swain: both of you have written about the school that they created in the white house. will you tell us the story of how it was created, what the goal was, and how the public received it? beschloss: well, you heard a little bit about exactly her motive right there, which was she was worried about caroline, for instance, who, when her father became president, would've been three years old, going into an existing school and having people fawn over her, especially given the way things were even then, in washington. and she thought that it might be normal if -- more normal for her if she created a school in the white house solarium, that room on the top of the white house. so, they hired teachers and they had other kids around the same age who were mostly the children of other members of the administration, and that school went through the length of the kennedy presidency, and at the time of the assassination, november of 1963, one of the things that lbj did do, which was gracious, which was to say,
8:51 pm
"the school can go on, at least till the end of this semester." swain: but you write that there was a controversy because all the children were white. perry: mm-hmm. there was, although, there is a photograph of them, in fact, in michael's "oral history of mrs. kennedy" that shows the class portrait of caroline and her little schoolmates, and there is a -- one african american boy. i think he was the son of andrew hatcher, who was the assistant press secretary, but they -- they were receiving... beschloss: in fact, he said to his father, you know, "the president came over and he addressed me by name," and his father said, "how do you think he knew it was you? and he said, "he must've been told i was the one with the blue pants." (laughter) swain: as opposed to the african american child. female: but of course this is at the height of concern over integration and it's only a few years after brown v. board, so people were writing in to the white house and saying, "are there any," in those days, they would probably say, "negro children or black children in the class? " and at first they had to say no, and they had to say for sure, this was a private school, this is not a public school, which would've been subject to
8:52 pm
the supreme court's brown v. board edict. beschloss: sure. swain: we have on still some of the major events, accomplishments of the kennedy administration . we've done this for each program, not to ignore the presidential history happening along, as we learned about the first lady -- first ladies. first on this list, the creation of the peace corps, the advancement of the space program, the creation of the space program. the bay of pigs, and the cuban missile crisis. the introduction of civil rights legislation, which john kennedy sent to congress. and sending military advisers, actually, increasing the number of military advisers in vietnam. want to comment on any of those in particular and how it framed our view of the historical relevance of the administration? beschloss: well, i think one way of evaluating a president is to say, you know, how much did he really engage with the basic controversial issues of his time? domestically, the biggest issue was civil rights. it took john kennedy two and a half years, but after the two and a half years, he sent the first big civil rights bill to
8:53 pm
congress, saying public accommodations should be integrated. he did that. it took a lot of courage. domestically, the cold war, the cuban missile crisis, you can argue round or flat, i think probably some elements of what he did led to the cuban missile crisis, but the moment that it happened, i want john kennedy as my president, because he managed it in a way that did not result in the deaths of up to 40 million americans, which could've happened. those are things i think as relevant today as they would've been at the time. swain: comments? perry: well, and then the bay of pigs, which usually the term "fiasco" is associated with the bay of pigs, the utter failure to remove castro and yet, because president kennedy went out, gave a press conference, said i'm the responsible officer of this government, i am the responsible one, his opinion ratings, his approval ratings went up to 83 percent. beschloss: right, and also when the cuban missiles, when the soviet missiles went into cuba, the joint chiefs were saying, "invade and bomb, you know, you won't be taking much of a risk."
8:54 pm
he knew by then to be skeptical of the joint chiefs in a way that he was not at the time. perry: right, and refashioned his entire administrative procedure for making these kinds of decisions. beschloss: fired two chiefs. swain: andrew. charleston, south carolina. hi andrew, you're on. andrew (ph): hi, thanks for having me. thanks, michael beschloss, thanks, janet reno. (laughter) i was wondering how -- what was jackie kennedy's astrological sign? and how did it shape her worldview? swain: some first ladies were interested in astrology, was jackie kennedy as far as you know? beschloss: yeah, i've watched the series. i was, in some cases, surprised by the number of first ladies, and in some cases presidents who were. she was born on july 28th, 1929, so perhaps our caller could tell us. i think that's leo, is it not? swain: he's off the line. beschloss: well, i think it is leo. my wife was born on the same day, so i've got a little bit of a leg up. perry: where is the woman who came to see me in richmond who had plotted out the astrological signs of the entire kennedy family? swain: listening to jackie
8:55 pm
kennedy in these videos and the audio clips that we've had, regina crumkey wants to know, did jackie speak with the same care and pauses in normal conversations as what we've been showing on tv? beschloss: no, she didn't. and i think i -- actually never expressed herself on this. some people who knew her commented on the fact that in public, she spoke in a way that was very careful. sometimes, they felt it was a little bit stilted, and their explanation, i think this is probably right, is that she had in her mind the way a first lady should look, the way a first lady should act, and also the way a first lady should sound, which was different from the way that she sounded, you know, off-duty in the evenings. swain: but her mother and sister also had the same? perry: yes, the auchinclosses and the bouvier women, and in fact, this is -- has a label called "locust valley lockjaw" for the oyster bay area of long island. beschloss: it wasn't quite that
8:56 pm
bad. perry: but this is actually what tish baldridge to me, she said, "oh," she said, "they all spoke that way." she called it "locust valley lockjaw," and so part of it i think is just exactly what michael said, and the other is, the whispery part of it, supposedly her dad had said "that's a way to attract men," and i always point out that the photographs of mrs. kennedy, locked in conversation with important men, with powerful men, with foreign dignitaries, and oftentimes she's really close to them with this -- a strapless gown and a bare shoulder kind of tucked up under their arms, and i just have the sense that she's using that whispery, breathy voice, and george plimpton said, "she just enveloped." even as a teenager, she would speak to a man, a young man, and he said, "oh, she would just envelop you, and you just felt that you were really brought into her orbit." so clearly, it worked. beschloss: and also, when she wrote letters, for instance, she wrote some of the best letters, and, you know, just romantic, and sometimes, almost overdoing it, you know, saying how wonderful someone was, or, "the evening i spent at dinner with
8:57 pm
you was one of the best evenings of my life," when actually, it may not have been -- to the point that many people were so charmed by these that they felt that they were actually much closer to her than they actually were. swain: next is craig in omaha. hi, craig. craig (ph): hi, how are you doing tonight? swain: great. thank you for your call. what's on your mind? craig (ph): well, on my mind is, barbara, i love your book, for starters. perry: thank you. craig (ph): my question is -- i own a 1962 kennedy board game. and my question is, how did mrs. kennedy feel about her image being put out like that? swain: kennedy board game? perry: kennedy board game? beschloss: well, i've got a view, but you were asked the question. perry: i was given a deck of cards by a student of mine in sweet briar college that had all of the kennedy family on the faces of the cards. i doubt that she would have been very pleased with that, but she had to know that these things were happening. and -- and she also had approved
8:58 pm
for caroline a little paper doll collection that would have shown caroline as a paper doll dressed up like first ladies. that didn't go to the bookstores, but... beschloss: i think she did that under huge duress from the political advisers in the west wing... perry: perhaps so. beschloss: ... who knew that that would sell politically. she barely tolerated things like this. she thought it was undignified. she hated it when it involved their children. she listened to that famous record, the first family," the best-selling record at that time, bar none... perry: vaughn meader. beschloss: ... lp in history. vaughn meader imitating jfk in skits. and she was outraged that there would be an actress playing caroline. swain: but we are in the height of the "mad men" era, the advertising of a creation of political campaigns that came from madison avenue. beschloss: right. swain: she had to recognize the political value in all of this. beschloss: she did, but she did it sort of kicking and screaming. for instance, many of the pictures that we most treasure of jfk and those children, you may notice that there's no jackie, and the reason for that is that they were taken when jackie was oftentimes out of the country, and not in a position
8:59 pm
to object when jack said to his press secretary, pierre salinger, "all right, cost is clear. get the photographers in. swain: you've given me a nice segue, because next (inaudible), we want to talk to both of you about the relationship between the press and the kennedy administration, in general. and then specifically, how jacqueline kennedy interfaced with the press at all. so, let's start with -- i mean, when you look back at those times, there's so much written about the friendliness of the press corps. the -- the relationship between the washington post owners and editors and the kennedy administration. looking through a historical lens, how does that look to you now? beschloss: well, much more gentile in almost every respect about private lives. i mean, kennedy, you know, like most presidents, had a thin skin, and though that the press was literally just at his throat all the time, and much too critical. compared to nowadays, you know, it looks extremely different. her attitude toward this was, at the beginning of the administration, pam turnure, who was her press aide -- she said to her, "your policy should be
9:00 pm
with the press to give out minimum information with maximum politeness," which pretty much summarized it. swain: we're showing a picture right now of jacqueline with ben bradlee and his arm around her. so, you look at how close that relationship seems, and you wonder where that -- or the state has... beschloss: and she -- actually, i might say, this picture -- you may notice, the original picture showed a little bit more of her leg. and before giving this to the bradlees, she actually took -- it's hard to see, but a black ink pen and inked it in a little bit so that her dress was a little bit longer and first lady-like. but -- and the other thing this picture is that this is upstairs in the white house, and looks very different from the way it might have during the eisenhowers. perry: and the bradlees were neighbors, we should point out. of course, he went on to be, of course, the editor of the washington post. and people know him from -- from watergate and "all the president's men," but... beschloss: and he's getting a presidential medal of freedom next week. perry: right, but he was also the editor of newsweek at that time. but he had been... beschloss: bureau chief.
9:01 pm
bureau. perry: ... and -- yeah, and he had been the -- the neighbor of the kennedys, along with his wife. so, they were good friends, and they continued that friendship, as you can see. and some of those beautiful videos that were taken in those last weeks out at the -- the northern virginia home right before the assassination are with the bradleys. and they were brought in the afternoon of the assassination to be with the children. >> mrs. onassis did fight to get
9:02 pm
more money for the family. she was successful in doing that one. there was no love loss. >> one hour left in the two-hour look in her life and her accomplishments and role of the first lady. when we talked about how the press interfaced and how they could have been gentler, there are two issues we could talk
9:03 pm
about. first, his health. there are severities for his back disease and addison's disease. there were rumors he suffered from addison's disease, which he did. >> rumors spread by lyndon johnson and others. >> there was an effort from his entourage saying he did not suffer from the classic kind of addison's disease. that what was done. in recent years, we've gotten access to the medical records showing he suffers from all sorts of things, bad stomach, bad back, all sorts of things. medications. you can look at it one way or the other. you can say this is a terrible cover-up. we should have known. probably we should have. at the same time, if you're
9:04 pm
trying to evaluate what the man was made of, to go through all of that, the brother was that jack kennedy went through half of his days on earth in intense physical pain. probably true. >> frankly had the last rites said over him before dallas in 1963. >> talk about when he has and experimental surgery on his young back. she's a young wife attending to him. >> so difficult in the first few years. planned against the bulkhead of 1509 and the midst and he believes in consulting with doctors that caused the deterioration of the lumbar. so in the early part of their marriage in '54, he has this
9:05 pm
experimental fusion attempt to be made of the lumbar region. they place a metal plate in his spine and it just -- he suffers a terrible infection that almost kills him. it's addison's disease. the wound won't heal. jaclyn kennedy, a new wife in her early 20s. she's with him in the palm beach and she had to dress the gaping wound. he goes back under the knife a few months later. they have a slightly more successful surgery. but he suffers periodic bouts of severe back pain for the rest of his life. >> also led her to be skeptical of doctors, one of the most poignant things is that in parkland hospital in dallas when the doctors were working on him after the shooting, the doctors and the nurses said you can't come in here. and she said, and she said, i'm
9:06 pm
going to be there when he dies. the reason was when she went through this in 1954, she remembered how the doctors said you can't be near him, even though she heard him calling for her. >> ted in ft. lauderdale, florida. hi, ted, you're on. >> thank you. cute story. she would watch and she would see greta garbo, i don't want to use the word stalk, never speaking to her, just looking at her and saying oh, there's greta garbo. one might know and admire.
9:07 pm
>> she knew greta garbo. >> she did? >> greta garbo came to the white house for dinner and they had known greta garbo in europe. he spent some time with her. so j.f.k. played a practical joke which is it's going to fall all over greta. ms. garbo, please pretend you haven't met them in your life. garbo comes into the room. and billings begins to talk to greta and greta says, i've never met this man before in my life. >> prep school pranksters. a quote in his book, unfinished life that i want to introduce the other topic. that's kennedy's womanizing. kennedy had affairs with several women including jackie's press secretary, mary pinchot myer.
9:08 pm
two playfully dubbed fiddle and fadle, and a tall slender beautiful 19-year-old white house intern. how much did the press know about this and not report? >> you know, ben bradley who i had talked to with great length insists he did not know about his own sister-in-law being involved with jfk. so i think in retrospect, the feeling that this was better known or better documented than it may have been at the time. >> the womanizer known as a senator in washington. she was well aware of this reputation as they were dating. what do you know about mrs. kennedy's knowledge after it continues after the marriage, if so, how she felt about it. >> bless her heart, she kept her counsel on this most of the time.
9:09 pm
she didn't write a memoir or go on oprah, she kept her counsel. we think that she may have a couple of times let out in anger, perhaps in french both instances when she made a reference to someone who might be having an affair with her husband in private. one could only speculate about what that was like in the marriage and what tension it must have brought to the marriage, especially the early marriage when they were having the medical problems and she was having trouble with her pregnancies as well. >> a question for both of you, when you look back knowing now what we know about the tensions in their marriages and the challenges they face, what was the relationship like? how strong a marriage does this seem with your documentary evidence? >> i think it was a real relationship. and probably perhaps happiest at
9:10 pm
the very end. she certainly says that our happiest years were in the white house. i think that was true. a lot of that, suggest that they lost a son patrick and others in 1963, it became a lot closer. for instance, you see them holding hands. on the last day of his life in a way you have not seen before. kiss babies or kiss me or hold my hand. and yet the lovely photograph that you showed of her touching very gently his cheek and she said, i wanted to say, oh, jack, what a day. and i think that speaks volumes. as they came out of the hospital after patrick passed away after two days, he is holding her hand as they come out in front of photographers. the when they take the helicopter back to hyannis and they come
9:11 pm
down the steps, he's helping her. she's gone through the caesarean section and a week later, he's helping her come down the steps. bradley says on the tenth anniversary of september of '63, he thought he thought he saw them closer than ever. when they came together at newport for the anniversary, he said he had never seen him greet her so warmly. >> for all of the reasons she was distraught and devastated by what happened on the 22nd of november was that much worse. because if you assume there was new hope or warmth in that marriage and suddenly this happens, you can imagine what's going through her head. >> how much of the 1,000 days did she spend away from the white house travelling? >> i don't have a number. she did, for instance, go to italy in the summer of 1962 with her sister and her daughter. >> did she intentionally get out of washington? >> oh, yeah, for instance -- an estate called glenora and
9:12 pm
middleburg, virginia where she rode horses. she felt particularly with the children, the more she could get way from the white house and press attention, the better it would be for them and her. >> the camelot imagery. the presidency to be remembered to be discussed. was this an effort on their part to hide their issues? >> i think not specifically in some sense. but it was her effort to get people to look at that period through that frame and for years it was successful. >> her time in the white house, the things we should talk about which have contributions, entertaining and the arts, what did she do on this level to introduce to public to aspects of american culture that perhaps they have not seen before. >> you mentioned entertainment. first of all, i counted up 16
9:13 pm
state dinners and only the 1,032 days they were in the white house and compared, for example, to george bush 43. i think they had a half dozen or so in eight years. 9/11 security issues. and george bush didn't happen to entertain that way. but the kennedys loved it. they would have the third world leaders come and draw them in. the arts are part of that entertainment. >> we could have -- >> big band music. >> right. >> roy rogers or -- >> military or marshall music or -- >> the kennedys had ballet. >> and opera. and the fine arts, she had her fine arts committee bringing paintings, attracting paintings to the white house. i was going to say that's my favorite story. the mona lisa coming to washington to new york and the picture of standing in front of it, the gorgeous strap less pink
9:14 pm
gown with the arm tucked under the cultural minister of france is priceless. >> she saw things and knew those things could be important, which she saw in the four days of november of 1963. but if you see the way a president nowadays receives a state visitor, that's all she's doing. duringizen hour and the predecessors, if you had a state dinner in the state dining room, there would be a big table in the shape of an e. and the president and first lady and the visitors would be at the long side. it was formal and military looking. through her idea you should have round tables that encouraged conversation and a pageant on the south grounds with performers that harken back to the revolutionary period. even air force one, repainted with the design now adays.
9:15 pm
that plane landing at the airport, looking the way it does with american diplomacy. >> you can greet the foreign visitors and make it a ceremony. it would be union station or national airport. >> jessica is in pennsylvania. hi, jessica. >> hi. thank you for the series. it's so much fun. i'm curious now since she's so lovely, did she have a regular exercise regimen. what was her diet like? >> she certainly walked a lot. she liked to walk around the white house grounds. but her favorite sport was equestrian. she was a very good equestrian. her mother spent a year in the college in virginia where they taught for 21 years. >> suddenly put it in. >> thank you very much. i thought it did too. so she would actually go to sweet briar after the white house years and she would train with the equestrian coach there,
9:16 pm
paul cronan. practically by the time she was walking, she was in the saddle. that was her way to get out, get fresh air. you can tell by her physique, she watched her diet, ate carefully, exercised well. >> she was also a smoker. >> she was a smoker. that was something that was very well hidden. she would put the cigarette in a holder which would not be the most healthful thing. she also water skied. there's one skit where john kennedy caught john glenn, the astronaut is called to hyannis port for the grave mission. they said get down to the dock, put on your skis, jackie is waiting. >> and there's a butler holding water skis. she took caroline out and pulled her up on the skis with her.
9:17 pm
how dare you put your child in danger that way. >> we talked about the white house frustration. the truman administration gutted the white house, the trumans, and completely restored the framework and architectural integrity. what did they do? >> what happened under harry truman was for structural reasons we saw two weeks ago in your excellent series, the white house had to be gutted and a steel super structure put inside eight inches away from the outer walls, that's what's there now adays. it turned out to be so expensive there was not much money left to buy furniture. truman made a great deal and in bulk for a good price. jackie got there after the election of 1916, shown to it by eisenhower. she was aghast. she said it looked like a
9:18 pm
statler hotel which she did not mean was a compliment, meaning not very convincing reproductions. so the mother of two, with other things to think about, took on this enormous project of raising a huge amount of money and also getting donations of furniture, art, artifacts. she wanted the white house to be equivalent to great house in europe. they wanted foreign leaders to come to the white house and have a place that looked like a hotel. it was threadbare and full of reproductions, it cast a bad light on the united states. if you like the way the white house looks now adays, we should thank jackie kennedy. >> are the folks in the white house -- >> i am a trustee. >> we should say that. but it was created during this time. by her. >> what is the story of the creation? >> it helps her to restore the white house in a quiet furniture and artifactings.
9:19 pm
the thing she was most concerned about was she was worried that when she was no longer first lady, the next first lady may not be so interested in history and might have a line of curio shops somewhere and decide to redecorate, perhaps, in the style of the late 1940s or something that was more contemporary. she thought if there was a white house historical association, that would be one work that would prevent future first ladies from turning it backwards which is a great museum. >> two branchs of government, so very quickly, congress establishes its own historical society and the supreme court did about ten years later. >> looking at -- about to look at the photograph with the press conference with the announcement of the white house that came out at that time, folks at the white house historical association tell us it's still in print. and since the debut in 1962, 4.5
9:20 pm
million books of the books have been sold. >> they did -- >> you'd like to have a number like that? >> i think maybe not -- >> the book is in a class of its own, should be. 1940, she went to the white house as a 10 or 11-year-old girl and she was disappointed there was not a guide book. >> nothing to take away, she said. >> she said that was important. she said that could generate income to help with the restoration. that guide book is reviseded, reviseded, reviseded. as you suggested until today. >> that's a great story too that she had a curator at the time was writing the text for it. jackie didn't like the way it was coming out. >> it was going slowly. >> it was. >> she went to arthur sleszinger. she wrote to him and and said
9:21 pm
will you help with the text. she had the harvard historian in the end write the text. >> the televised tour of the white house when the project was completed and was a p.r. bonanza. >> televised. by then on abc or coming on-line then. she goes throughout the white house. remember, we're talking about 90% of house holds having televisions. even though it's black and white and you can't see the bright red dress on valentine's day. and today's standards, it's a bit stilted, people fell in love with it. there were 56 million viewers. three out of four viewers watched it. one little boy wrote to her and said i really like this. my dad was going to watch maverick, a western at the time. i talked him in to watching this. she received a fan letter from barbara bush.
9:22 pm
it went behind the iron curtain, 126 countries around the world. she won a special emmy for it. it was a real high point for the first lady. >> and deserved it. >> he couldn't believe what he was seeing. he said here we have my wife raising money, buying art and artifacts and furniture. interesting to us. but for most americans, this is going to seem very different from the way of living. it had exactly the opposite impact. it made people love this project that you take on. >> at the end. so he comes in and does a little cold war vignette where he talks about the important of the united states and -- >> one of the worst performances. >> stilted -- >> one of her friends thought ill thought it was so great, i cried when i watched jackie's performance.
9:23 pm
and she said, yes, i cried when i saw my performance too. >> if you've been watching, you have a robust website. all of the first ladies where all of the videos of the programs are archived. but also, a number of other videos are there. each week, a special item you can see for the first lady being featured. the special emmy for the white house tour. >> in this section, i do want to mention the first lady's book that you can find there. it is a guide to the biographies of every first lady, available at cost. and if you're interested in the souvenir of the series or learning more of the history of the women we've been profiling all year, a link there that you can find it. it's $12.95 or something along that line. take a call. >> this is katie. she's watching us in san francisco. hi, katie. >> thanks for the program.
9:24 pm
i've been enjoying it every week. i -- i wrote my thesis about jaclyn kennedy and her support of the fine arts and i was wondering if you could talk a little bit about jackie's relationship with andrew millwell and how the american public actually -- if they liked that relationship with him being a frenchman. and how he helps with the white house restoration. >> i don't know if he had a direct impact. >> the truth and the -- >> models to follow. certainly bringing the mona lisa, it was. i would say in history, michael might want to speak to this, i thought she was a bit more admiring of him than she seemed to indicate in the oral history. but she talks about the sadness that he had experienced when she met with him in 1961 in paris that he and his wife had lost two sons in a tragic car accident. here he feels meeting with her
9:25 pm
under the tragic circumstances. she admired him for that. she admired his literature to be sure she definitely admired him. >> as we close out the discussion of the white house, gary robertson wants to know what would jackie say she's most proud of in her role as first lady? >> she said in her oral history, i think, or perhaps in a letter later on, she said she was proud of the restoration and she probably wouldn't have used the word proud because she probably would have said one of the things i did that i felt was most important. the other she said is something that gets no attention she said at the time. that is it's very important egyptian historic fight that was temples that were in danger of being eroded by the nile that she worked with jfk to get money to congress to save and did.
9:26 pm
the egyptian government would have been nazr at the time said all right, thank you, mrs. kennedy. we will send something of ours to the united states states and it was a temple that she hoped would be built in washington finally wound up but at the metropolitan museum in fifth avenue in new york, she saw it every morning, it was right outside her bedroom window and the apartment she lived in. >> saving grand central station too. >> not the first lady. >> exactly. the pressure later in life, would those have been some of the things she would be proud of. she would have used that term, no doubt. >> she through a very strict line. she felt that the things that happened when her husband was president, every one of the american people and others were entitled to, she felt things that happened before and after, they weren't. >> jaclyn bouvier, we want to talk a little bit about her
9:27 pm
early biography and the interest she developed as a young woman that she brought to the white house. to start that discussion, we're going to return to the kennedy library to learn more about her early years as a writer. >> from a young age, jaclyn bouvier loved to write. she would create poems as gifts for her parents on christmas and birthdays. we have two early examples here from when she was 10 years old. in connecticut where she went to high school, she wrote a real wonderful essay called "be kind and do your share." be kind and do your share. that's all there is to it. she goes on how helping others in life is so important and how easy it is for us to say a kind word to someone. and all the difference you can make to the person. the scrapbook is called one special summer after graduating from school.
9:28 pm
jackie's parents, her mother and stepfather, jackie and sister leigh through a summer through europe. and as a token of appreciation for that gift, they collaborated on the scrapbook to give to their parents to let them know what the adventures were. it's a combination of a snapshot they took, handwritten descriptions of the different places they visited the people , they met and the whimsical sketches done by jackie. in the fall of 1950, jaclyn bouvier entered vogue's very well known writing contest. and we have her handwritten application as a student from george washington university. she won the contest and her two winning essays, one was a self-portrait. she's wonderfully described herself as tall, 5'7", brown hair, square face and eyes so
9:29 pm
unfortunately far apart that it takes three weeks to have a pair of glasses made with a bridge wide enough to fit over my nose. the love of writing and the power of words, she's asked in question three of the essay, who are three people in history you wished you had known. the first two she mentions are charles, the french poet and oscar wilde, the author. in addition to that, serge dee yeah go. in the early 1950s, she feels the camera girl for "the washington times" herald. on display here at the camera, she used as she went through the streets of washington interviewing different people, asking questions, and creating columns. one column we have on display here is somewhat prophetic because she's interviewed vice president nixon and john f. kennedy who are adversaries in
9:30 pm
the 1960s presidential campaign. all of the examples of the early writings, and she did write throughout her life, but i think if her life had been somewhat different, she would have been a writer of some kind, maybe even professionally. as we know in her later life, the last part of her life, she was a very prolific editor of books in new york city working with several different authors on books of several topics. where was she born to and when? >> she was born in the hamptons. her parents were john and janet bouvier. he had been an investment banker on wall street, but lost his savings in the stock market crash. but she continued to summer with her grandfather, bouvier. she called grafrpy jack. and he was the one that
9:31 pm
introduced her to reading and literature at such a young age. she loved him dearly. she would write poetry and mem rise poetry together. her mother was a strict disciplinarian. but both sisters, leigh and jackie grow up in a broken home. her parents separate when jackie is seven and divorce when she's 12. it's an acrimonious divorce. the father was a womanizer and alcoholic. his nickname was black jack. also the name of the horse. had some insecure childhood. the interesting thing is you look at her, didn't know any of this. you would have thought you would have the good years. her father was so short on money, she worried he would not be able to pay the tuition at the end of the term and she might have to leave. so she feels able to talk about
9:32 pm
the strength of will came from. this is someone who will live in the way that's much more than 99% of human beings. and at the same time, had its difficulties. >> indeed. >> but the extent for the wealth in the back of her family is important to understand what she brought to the role that she played. so where did the family's money come from? >> her father's family money -- her father's family had been in finance. and it was the family money that was lost. money, her father, her mother married an affluent man. but he was not in the business of endowing the new wife to his two children. jackie took on that job we're just hearing about with the inquiring photographer. she needed the salary. >> she liked to work. >> indeed. >> the family to wa, so how did
9:33 pm
that affect the exposure when to this city and how did she develop an affinity for this place? >> michael mentioned she made her first trip to the white house when she feels a preadolescent, 11, 12 years old. and that's because her mother is coming to date. that is to washington, d.c. after they married him in the 1940s, they lived at marywood, the northern united states. >> all republican. >> all republican families. they summered at the farm. that's her introduction to the culture of washington. jackie kennedy says the first trip at that time to the national art gallery is when she fell in love with art and the wonderful feeling it gave her to view art and sculpture. >> he may not have wanted to support her on this. i want to establish from everything i read this is a life of privilege. >> she lived on a huge estate in mclean, virginia and also in newport.
9:34 pm
she was always sort of the poor relation. not making the argument that she lived a life of hardship given the way most of human kind did live and does live now. but this is someone who felt there were challenges. >> she didn't know what her future would be in terms of money except to marry well. >> true. >> to that point -- how much of the attraction with john kennedy was the fact that his family was very, very wealthy. >> it has to be some of the attraction certainly. and it appears that wasn't love at first sight. and there wasn't chemistry immediately. because when they were first introduced at the famous did a party by the charlie bartels in 1951, there were no sparks, really. he seemed to want to ask her out. but supposedly when he went out with her, there was another beau waiting for her. another male friend waiting for
9:35 pm
her. stopped short and it took another year for them to get together in the bartlet. he later said i thought of marrying you from the first time i met you. he said how big of you. a typical jackie comment. >> what was the age difference between the two? >> he was born in 1917, she in 1929. >> 12 years. >> 12 years. >> and the -- they met several times for it. >> she first met him on a train and she wrote about it. she said this congressman with reddish brown hair i met on the train. i don't think she ever heard of him. although it was by then in congress and written a bestselling book and had a father joseph kennedy who had been rather famous ambassador to england. that was not his world. >> didn't remember apparently. >> caller: hello. i have a question about mrs. kennedy.
9:36 pm
what were her favorite hobbies? what did she like to do in her spare time? >> thank you. we have another student watching tonight. can you tell us about yourself? >> caller: i'm 12 years old. >> doing wonderful with 12-year-olds tonight. thank you for calling. >> caller: i love history and i love watching channels like this and learning new things every time i turn on the tv. so i saw this -- i saw this channel and i decided to ask a question because i love history. >> terrific. >> the city had a table full of people who loved history tonight too. glad to have you in the fold. >> i love chicago too. particularly glad to talk to you from chicago. >> how perfect to be 12 years old, the same age as jaclyn bouvier when she went to the white house. >> the question was her hobbies. >> we mentioned horseback
9:37 pm
writing from the time she was able to walk. they put her in a saddle and loved being in an equestrian competition. her mother was also a rider. she loved all things canine as well. movies in kennedy and pictures, you see her with dogs, she loved to show dogs, lots of competition, lots of dogs around this ema all the time in the white house. the president was allergic to cats, doggings, and horses. she loved, as we say, the quiet, solitude of reading, writing poetry, drawing. and art. so i would say those are all her hobbies. she started even younger than you doing those hobbies. >> introduction to john kennedy, one of our japanese viewers. what was the relationship between the kennedy siblingings and siblings in law. how did she get along with the rest of the kennedy family? >> at first, i think she found it hard. particularly glad to have a japanese questioner given the fact that caroline kennedy is
9:38 pm
about to go to tokyo as president obama's ambassador to japan. jackie kennedy was to a great degree, an introvert. and she was not a huge extrovert. and the kennedys were extroverted family, she felt it took a while to get used to that. >> future sister-in-laws didn't like the depp tant way of speaking. >> she calls them the raw-raw girls. >> they were out playing touch football. she would have preferred to sit on the veranda and read a book. >> one more bit of video. this is from a tv interview given to arlene francis of nbc talking about her life as the young wife of a senator. >> i think being married to a senate with being a doctor's wife. a senator must be on call at all times. you don't know what time he's
9:39 pm
coming home to dinner some of the time. can you tell us about some of the things that you have do? >> i suppose it is nice to be married to a doctor. they have such late hours and go away at a moment's notice. >> you are alone a good deal of a time. >> are you active in any political way? or is your job big enough taking care of jack. >> i don't blame you. >> do you fix breakfast for him? >> yes. >> what does he do? does he tell you what goes on? >> he leaves and runs out the door.
9:40 pm
>> lovely child. >> goes after it sometimes. >> i do, all the time. >> and enjoy it, i'm sure. >> oh -- what should we take away from this and how she's describing the early days of their marriage. >> i think it's so fascinating. it's april of '57. in november of 1957, they had their first child, caroline. i guarantee you if they did that scene a year later, they would not be posing with a dog. >> was that relationship easy from the beginning? or was it tough getting adjusted to his many travels being on the road campaigning? >> it was very tough. we mentioned the medical problems she had with the child bearing, we had with the back and other ailments. he was gone so often. they tried hickory hills, the robert kennedy homestead.
9:41 pm
a lot of the children living there. but jackie and jack bought that. she began to have the miscarriages and stillborn children, it was too painful. so they -- they moved back into town. but they didn't -- not really have their own home they bought and owned and stayed in for any time until 1957 until caroline's birth on m street and georgetown. >> one of the facts she thought built hickory hill, which is across the river in the -- >> yeah, it was already there. in fact, it had been owned by general mcclellan, i believe, in the civil war. the mansion had been here in hickory hill. >> associate with -- >> jack and jackie sold it to bobby after they realized they were not going to be able to fill it with children. she had spent all of her time in '55-'56 decorating it only to lose the children and with the nursery and with special shelves for jack so they wouldn't have to bend over or reach too high.
9:42 pm
it became a sad symbol. plus, she was so isolated there. at least if they were in georgetown when they first rented a home, when they were first married, she could go back and forth to capitol hill, take him lunch. she was so completely isolated there that they left. >> a facebook viewer wants to know is there any known medical condition for all of her problem pregnancies. >> smoking, we think it could have been. there were several packs a day. that, of course, if it didn't lead to the problems with the actual pregnancies herself, the lung conditions with some of her children were born with, john jr. and patrick who succumbed to it. they think also the president's -- his medical conditions, perhaps even stds could have led to problems with pregnancy. >> dave murdock on twitter. did jackie share john's drive to become president or was she comfortable as a senator's wife? >> i think she was comfortable
9:43 pm
as a senator's wife. she felt threatened with the notion she would become first lady. decades ago, i spoke to f.d.r. jr., a friend of both of them, he said that jackie essentially panicked after jack won the presidency in 1960. she was terrified of it. she was worried about the adverse effects on their family life for him to be president and for her to be first lady. jfk said to fdr jr. -- please talk to jackie and tell her it's not going be that bad. she did. >> less than 20 minutes left. a long post white house life to cover. we'll start off with a 1964 video clip, a film clip in those and this is a message to the nation of all of the condolence messages that came into the white house.
9:44 pm
>> i want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the hundreds of thousands of messages, nearly 800,000 in all which my chirp and -- my children and i have receive in the past few weeks. the affection that my husband had of all of you has sustained me. and it's something i shall never forget. all of the bright lights gone from the world. all of you who have written to me, you all know how much you loved him. he returned that love in full measure. it is my greatest wish that all of these letters be acknowledged. it will take a long time to do so. but i know you will understand. future generations will know how much my country and future
9:45 pm
generations said of him. and in boston, massachusetts. >> she talks about the establishment of the library. so can you both talk about what jaclyn kennedy did to preserve and enhance the legacy of john kennedy's presidency? >> did start with the library. jfk really about a month before the assassination went to harvard, saw a football game against columbia. also looked at what was going to be decided, his presidential library on the boston side of the charles across the river from most of harvard. so she very quickly began talking to his friends and heir to what kind of exhibits should be in the library. she started raising money for it. she also began thinking about who should be the architect. and most people would have found an established architect like
9:46 pm
edward dural stone here in washington known for doing government buildings in many cases and my views of surpassing ugliness and massiveness. she chose one that was famous now. but at that point, was very little known. she thought he was very much more in the spirit of jfk who was young and not that well known himself. >> speaking of architects. she had been friends with charles wernike and dated for a while. she had helped her with the saving of lafayette square and put up brick buildings for lafayette square. then he designed the grave site. she worked hard with him as well. after much discussion chose him. >> also, given jaclyn kennedy's
9:47 pm
interest in history and scholarship, i find it intriguing that it's still under wraps. i understand her possible interest in protecting her children but i find the date far to the future a bit extreme. >> she had a great interest in history and a great interest in privacy. when caroline kennedy was thinking about whether this oral history that i worked on and i've been talking about should be opened, she did not have a piece of paper that says it should be closed for 100 years which some people thought she did tend to err on the side of these things should be closed for longer time rather than a shorter time. and from my experience, we're talk about this a little bit before the program, of political leaders and their families tend to overdo it and keeping things closed. i think things can be sensitive and damaging sometimes should be open earlier.
9:48 pm
lbj will be horrified that his tapes were opened given some of his language and the shock of many of the conversations that he thinks sort of showed him as an uncouth back woodsman and helped americans to think they're so cool. >> they have released the 1962 to 2012 anniversary of the white house tour. they have begun to release mrs. kennedy's papers as they relate to the respiration. if people are interested, arthur sleszinger's papers are a wonderful cache of mrs. kennedy's papers. he was an historian. we save everything from alphabetical order. >> first lady in the east wing. >> dan is watching in san diego.
9:49 pm
hi, dan, what's your question. >> one comment and a quick question. the comment in this period didn't understand how important the zapruder film or it showing it in the high school as a 40-year high school history teacher, i can tell you that students in high school, this is probably i think they associate this young president to being in their lives also as a young man. i know students did in that time and since then, it's been that image that he feels such a young dynamic man. the question is -- and the videotapes showed it at the library, what is the relationship with the nixons? either president nixon or pat nixon and mrs. kennedy after she left the white house? thank you, again, for a great series. >> the relationship is better than one might think. jackie kennedy found appalling the idea that she would have to return to the white house after 1963. she thought it would be much too
9:50 pm
painful. told the secret service agents in washington prior to the way i will never have to see the white house because it will make me too upset, i'll start crying again. one exception, 1970-'71, her and j.f.k.'s portraits were painted by an artist. they were about to be displayed in the nixon white house. the nixons said why don't you come down and see them quietly. she felt she owed it to jfk to do that. so she brought her children. it was totally off of the record visit. they had dinner and she wrote to president nixon afterwards. she said, a moment that i had always dreaded white house turned out to be one of the most important days. in later years, not too happy with nixon. in watergate, came out the number of things that president nixon's people tried to do to damage the reputation.
9:51 pm
>> 1968, brother-in-law robert kennedy assassinated -- the two were close, as i understand it. >> thank goodness she feelsn't in los angeles or -- >> i didn't say it literally. >> but they had to go through that yet again. they had been close. >> how concerned was she about for herself and her children. >> terribly concerned after that. and she supposedly says they're killing kennedy, my children could be next. and so once again financial security and physical security became so important to her. and surely that's part of the attraction to mr. onassis. >> four months after rfk's death, that's when she married aristotle onassis. >> what happened to jaclyn kennedy's image? >> many people were outraged. many were outraged she would marry anyone at all, whether it be an eternal widow but married to someone who was this much holder, not an american.
9:52 pm
some of his financial activities. one person says she had gone from prince charming to calaban. do we know if it's a happy relationship? >> something her sister said not too many years ago, someone saying how could she have been attracted to such a man after being married to jack kennedy. and her sister said -- by the way, who had a romance with him prior to her sister. >> meaning onassis. >> yes, not her brother-in-law. >> and she said, he was really quite charismatic. she said the way he look moved and looked, and he may not have been a typical gq representation of a beautiful, attractive man, she said he was. and jackie liked all things greek. she liked greek mythology. she found great comfort in the
9:53 pm
tragic poets of greece. she introduced brother-in-law robert to. so we can't say she wasn't attracted to her at all. the money and the fizz kpal security, she pointed out, she had her own island. >> how long did the marriage la sns. >> '68 to '75. they were somewhat estranged. >> until january of '73 when aristotle onassis eason son died in an accident. >> she came back to new york city? >> she did. many people did not expect her to do, she went to work and got a job. an editor, later on, a double dais. and this was not someone who was there for show business and acquiring books, she actually edited with great intensity. her authors were hugely loyal to her. and so for the last years of her life, by all accounts, she was
9:54 pm
actually in certain ways is happier than perhaps often she had been in life. and plus she had a relationship with a fine man, maurice templesman who i think this was the relationship was equal. very different from certainly her second marriage and perhaps her first. >> how close did she remain with her two children during this time? >> very close, always close with them. always so proud of them. and i think her brother-in-law senator edward kennedy talks about how when ever she would speak of them, her face would light up. >> she looked through so much of her mind that her husband had been very close to the british prime minister. and when she was in her deepest grief in 1964-65, she wrote mcmillan and said if i married my children well, that would be my vengeance against the world. she felt she had achieved that vengeance. >> the mother-in-law kennedy
9:55 pm
lived a very, very long life. hamlin wants to know how did jackie get along with rose kennedy? >> thank you. i am going to take that. >> i just published a biography of rose kennedy. >> fine one too. >> thank you, michael. this past summer. they seemed to get along to begin with. as she did with ambassador kennedy. but she seemed much closer to her father-in-law than mother-in-law. she wrote diplomatically and said, dear mrs. kennedy, thank you so much for all of your good advice. rose kennedy liked to meat out advice. one of herpeses of advice is stand at an angle when one was having a photograph taken because it makes one look slimmer. thank you, mrs. kennedy, for teaching me that lesson. so she wrote very kindly to her. after the assassination, there were some issues about whether jackie would come back for the opening and the dedication of
9:56 pm
the kennedy center and she finally decided that she just couldn't. she couldn't face that. she couldn't face that as she said the widow kennedy for the rest of her life. she wanted to be with her children. it was too painful. rose, of course, happy filled in for her. you can see in the letters there was tension. rose appreciated she would be invited often to be with mrs. kennedy and john and caroline. she got along seemingly very well. >> 36 going along with jackie for having mary onassis. rose kennedy said jack would have wanted her to be happy. >> that's right. you described her as being homeless after the death of kennedy. the family didn't give her a place to live? >> she had money.
9:57 pm
she had $150,000 from the kennedy trust that were coming her way here it she had 10,000 in a pension as it were. >> in the mid 60s. >> up ten or so for today's dollars. by her standards, that wasn't enough. but in terms of a physical place to live, she said in a famous interview with theodore white, the camelot interview, she said, i want to live with my children in the places i lived with jack, georgetown, and with the kennedys on the case. now no doubt she could have gone to the cape to live in hyannis. but she went to georgetown. she bought a home across the street. it was inundated with tourists and photographers peeping in her windows and coming up on the porch. she couldn't bear it. after a relative few months, she
9:58 pm
took off for new york and spent the rest of the time there. >> holly hawn on facebook. did she have to testify for the warren commission? >> she did. she did. one or two others came to her parlor in georgetown and asked her about the motorcade. it was brief, less than a half an hour, she did have to testify. some of the president's wounding was kept from the public at the time because it was too graphic -- >> theories continue to this day about the lone assassin, lee harvey oswald? did she express an opinion? >> not in anything that i would trust. she kept her counsel in all things. >> a few minutes left, don is in colorado springs.
9:59 pm
>> thank you for the show. my question is how important is the kennedy's catholic faith to her. what >> thank you very much. both kennedys were catholics. how important was it to them? >> i think she would, and i think barbara would -- i'll just begin on this, she certainly considered herself catholic throughout her life. she had some trouble when she remarried a divorced man, aristotle onassis, outside the faith, although was supported in doing that at least to some extent by the family cardinal, richard, cardinal cushing. i think one of the toughest things, at least i find, i don't know how you feel, barbara, but in understanding public figures, two things. number one, do you ever really get to the real truth of someone's marriage, if they're married? and number two, do you really
10:00 pm
get to the well -- to the bottom of what their religious feeling was? sometimes, presidents and first ladies exaggerate that. sometimes, there's more than appeared on the surface. >> well, and as michael pointed out so well, through the oral history, that she was really having her doubts about her faith in those months after the assassination. >> she says, "i believe at this moment that god is an unjust god," she said. what exactly. and she talks about her husband jack praying perfunctorily at night like a little boy. >> and she says he did it essentially just in case there is a god. >> the pascal's wager, they'd say. but she also apparently spoke to a father confessor at georgetown university, and even mentioned that she was having suicidal feelings after the assassination, but decided that that would not be the way for her to go. >> and with children. >> and with children. >> so, we're going to close here with jacqueline kennedy's voice one last time, from the oral
10:01 pm
histories, and this talks about her white house years, as we finish up here. let's listen. [video clip] >> once we were in the white house, i thought that i could get out. and i just can't tell you how depressive the strain of the white house can be. i could go out and whenever jack saw it getting me down a little bit, he'd really send me away. not exactly but he'd say, "why don't you go up to new york or go see your sister in italy," and then he sent me to greece, which wasn't -- you know, which was for a sad reason this year but he thought i was getting depressed after losing patrick. but always, he'd -- i thought i can go out. i can go to a restaurant in new york or walk down the street and look in an antique shop or go to a night club. i used to think -- i used to worry about going into the white house. then you found that -- you know, it was really the happiest time of my life. >> you used to worry about going to the white house and then i found out they were the happiest years of my life.
10:02 pm
and closing comments and reflecting on her time there as first lady? >> i think that was genuine and i think here's a case where she had a much bigger impact as first lady in all sorts of areas that we've talked about tonight but they may not have been the ones that people thought about at the time she served. >> and you suggest that she was a transformational first lady? she set the stage for those to follow. how so? >> i think so. just very much the way her generation was a bridge between traditional wives and mothers and the post women's liberation of the modern era. i would say that's exactly the way she was as first lady, that there were traditional first ladies immediately preceding her and afterwards they much more modern, much more full partners with their husbands and picking a particular policy to work on. >> michael beschloss's book of "the jacqueline kennedy tapes" is widely available and you can also get the set with the tapes and listen to her in her own voice. >> it's wonderful. everyone should have it.
10:03 pm
>> barbara perry's "jacqueline kennedy: first lady of the new frontier" also widely available. thanks to both of you for being at the table tonight. >> thank you for doing everything for the series. >> have a good evening and thank you for being with us. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
10:04 pm
>> american history tv is featuring c-span's original sundayst 8:00 eastern throughout the rest of the year. next week, we look at lady bird johnson. this is american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on cspan3 . >> each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts reveal about american history. located in stanton, virginia, the frontier culture museum tells the story of early american migrants from europe. we visit original houses from england, ireland, and germany relocated to the museum and hear


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on