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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

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)

Jackie's Yellow Oval Room

January 30, 2016 Notes: Rendering by Jake Gariepy of Jackie's Yellow Oval Room in the White House circa 1962. View west toward President Kennedy's bedroom. The room serves as the formal living room in the private quarters. It is customary for the President and First Lady to host visiting dignitaries here prior to state dinners.

Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy)

Merry Christmas 2015

December 25, 2015 Notes: Rendering by Jake Gariepy of Jackie's White House Red Room (circa 1962) decorated for the holiday season. Jackie chose a striking cerise red silk for the walls.  Scalamandré fabric has been a mainstay in the White House's Red Room since the Kennedy era.

Image copyright Jake Gariepy (Dapper and Dreamy)

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