In photographs and a television interview from the fall of 1953 and the spring of 1954, the 24-year old newlywed Mrs. John F. Kennedy seemed to be the quintessentially submissive and serene Fifties Housewife.
In 1981, by the time she was a single, working 51 year old editor, Mrs. Onassis felt confident enough to laughingly record on audio tape her uncertainty about hosting her first dinner party as a new wife – a markedly different tone than the formal oral history tape recordings she made two decades before, which were publicly released in 2011.
Her actions changed history and she lived more than half her life as the world’s most famous woman, but even the highly individualistic Jackie Onassis was shaped by the societal expectations that defined the different eras that she lived through.
Despite coming from a family that once held considerable wealth, for example, Jackie’s father took a precipitous income loss during the Great Depression and her rich but tightfisted maternal grandfather frequently reminded his daughter, after her separation, that his support of her and her two daughters could was not conditional on her not returning to Bouvier.
Categories: The Kennedys