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111 Irving Avenue: The President's House

March 15, 2016 Notes:  In 1956 John and Jackie Kennedy bought a smaller Hyannis Port home of their own at 111 Irving Avenue, not far from that of his father and mother. Many press pictures from the 1960 campaign were taken here. Jackie spent time here in later years, and JFK Jr. used the house extensively before his death.  Caroline sold the house to her Uncle Teddy in 2005 after holding an auction selling many of its furnishings. Ted sold the house to his son Ted Jr. sometime around 2008.

A significant portion of the furniture and decorations in the Kennedy's "President's House" Hyannis Port home was part of a collection of furniture and folk art purchased by the Kennedy family from Gerald Shea, a highly-regarded dealer in American decorative arts in the 1950s and 1960s.

Among the works from the Shea Collection sold in the 1995 Sotheby's auction was a Portrait of Captain Platt out of Portsmouth, with a Clipper Ship in the Distance, attributed to Frederick Mayhew, circa 1830, which hung behind President Kennedy in an official portrait taken during the summer of 1960. Captured in that iconic photograph, which would eventually grace the cover of the November 16, 1960 issue of Life Magazine.

Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy)

Nancy Reagan's Funeral Invitation

March 9, 2016 Notes: Nancy Reagan's funeral invitation courtesy of PPB contributor Rusty Thomas. He will be in attendance per the wishes of Mrs. Reagan. Rusty, thanks for being a good friend to the former First Lady.

Jackie's BFF Tucky

February 22, 2016 Notes: Nancy Tuckerman was social secretary to Jackie in 1963, after the resignation of Letitia Baldrige. “Tucky,” as she was called by Jackie, had been a close friend since their prep-school days at the Chapin School, where they first met, and at Miss Porter’s School, in Farmington, Connecticut.

During her stint at Miss Porter’s, her and Tucky got into a great deal of trouble (Mostly due to Jackie’s mind). Once, Jackie got the brilliant idea of teaching Nancy how to ride her horse Danseuse (Danny). Mind you, in those days, it was forbidden for a young girl to ride a horse without parental permission (which Tucky did not have). This didn’t hamper Jackie’s plans, so she forced a reluctant Tucky to get on Danny, only to have the stable’s dinner bell to be rung, causing Danny to take off for the barn to satisfy his hunger.

Tucky got thrown off, hurting her arm, and she didn’t want to go to the infirmary because she would get into big trouble. But, Jackie told her to tell the nurse, “you fell out of a tree” so she did and Nancy later said, “And of course, it worked.” Everyone walked away blameless!

In the dark days after the assassination, Tuckerman helped organized Jackie's responses to more than 800,000 condolence letters that flooded the White House. She was Jackie's only official spokesperson in her later years, and provided polite and guarded media updates, even during Jackie's final days.

She wrote the introduction to Sotheby's auction catalog featuring Jackie's personal belongings. Jackie left $250,000 to Nancy her longtime friend, spokeswoman and "confidante," as Onassis described her in the will.

Tuckerman has authored several books including In the Tiffany Style and The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette.

Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy)

The Dish on Tish

February 10, 2016 Notes: Letitia "Tish" Baldrige (February 9, 1926 – October 29, 2012) was an American etiquette expert and public relations executive who was most famous for serving as Jacqueline Kennedy's Social Secretary.

Known as the "Doyenne of Decorum", she wrote a newspaper column, ran her own PR firm, and, along with updating Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette, she published 20 books.

Baldrige was born February 9, 1926 in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, the youngest child of Republican Congressman Howard Malcolm Baldrige and his wife, Regina (née Connell). Her brother was Howard Malcolm Baldrige, Jr., the initial Secretary of Commerce during the Ronald Reagan administration . She attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT, where she met Jacqueline Bouvier, the future First Lady. The two also attended Vassar College together, from which Baldrige graduated in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

After first being denied a position and told to improve her secretarial skills, she reapplied and was hired by the State Department as social secretary to David K.E. Bruce, U.S. ambassador to France. After three years she would be appointed secretary in Rome to the American ambassador to Italy, Clare Boothe Luce, followed by a position as director of public relations for Tiffany & Co.

Although then a registered Republican, in 1960 she was invited to work for the Kennedy campaign in Massachusetts once he secured the Democratic presidential nomination, going on to work officially for the First Lady after his victory.

Baldrige acknowledged that she and her team of aides made mistakes. One letter responding to a celibate priest congratulated him on the birth of his son. On the Kennedys' 1962 visit to India, Baldrige nearly sent as a gift leather-framed photos, not recognizing that cows are sacred in India. And then there was the first large party she organized, two days into the administration, where she provided ashtrays for the guests and served liquor. Both were unheard of, at least in the presence of reporters, and press called the party "debauched."

Read more: The Dish on Tish

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