In an excerpt from her new book, Grace and Power, Sally Bedell Smith reveals how America’s most glamorous First Lady made 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue an unexpectedly happy home.
On November 29, 1963, a week after the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, his widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, summoned presidential chronicler Theodore H.
Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.
C., in 20, the Lerner and Loewe tune played over and over, a soothing loop of background music.“Jackie wanted to do Versailles in America,” said Oleg Cassini, her official dress designer. She had realized some very smart women encouraged a court throughout history.” In particular Jackie admired Madame de Maintenon, who presided over a legendary salon before marrying Louis XIV, and Madame de Récamier, the early-19th-century hostess famous for the wit and intelligence of her gatherings.
Instead, she told White, her “obsession” was a song from the popular Broadway show by Alan Jay Lerner (a J. Jackie recounted to White that at night, before going to sleep, Jack Kennedy listened to on his “old Victrola.” “I’d get out of bed at night and play it for him when it was so cold getting out of bed,” she said.
White to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
She wanted White to write an essay about her husband for Life magazine.