Something About Mary


February 3, 2016 Notes: Rendering by Jake Gariepy of Mary Gallagher.

Mary Barelli Gallagher was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of twelve children. She first worked for a local paper company and through one of its former salesmen, Kenny O’Donnell, she was hired by newly-elected Senator John F. Kennedy in 1952 as a secretary in his Senate office. In January 1953, she moved to Washington D.C. and in 1955 married Raymond A. Gallagher. She continued to work for Senator Kennedy until the birth of her first child, Christopher, in 1956.

Shortly thereafter, Gallagher began as a part-time a secretary for Mrs. Hugh D. Auchincloss, Jackie's mother, at her estate in Mclean, Virginia. In the fall of that year, Mary also started to work as a personal secretary for Jackie. After the birth of her second son, Greg, in 1957, Mary eventually concluded her services with Mrs. Auchincloss to devote full time to Jackie with the onset of the 1960 Presidential campaign.

Gallagher accompanied Jackie to the White House and continued as her personal secretary through the White House years, 1961-1963. During her employment Gallagher accompanied the Kennedys to Palm Beach, Hyannisport, and was with Jackie on the fateful trip to Dallas in 1963. Following the President’s assassination, she remained with Jackie until Jackie and her children moved from Washington D.C. to New York City in 1964.

In 1969, following Jackie's marriage to Aristotle Onassis the previous fall, Gallagher wrote her book, “My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy”, a biographical account of her twelve years with Jackie. In 2003, she sold several personal items of Jackie's through Hantman's Auctions. Over the years, readers of PPB have speculated on whether or not Gallagher knows the whereabouts of Jackie's pink pillbox hat.

Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy)

Copyright Steven L. Brawley, 2002-2015. All Rights Reserved.