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)

Jackie's Christmas Paper Whites

By Rusty Thomas

December 20, 2015: Before starting my own business, I ran the flower shop of The Carlyle Hotel from 1988 to 1991, where I was in charge of the florals for the public spaces, restaurants, private banquet rooms, and 35 floors of guest suites. Working at the hotel was one of the most cherished times in my career because it was nearing the end of an era when ladies were ladies, and gentlemen were gentlemen. It set a high bar as to what was expected of my work, while teaching me the importance of discretion and respect for the privacy of my clientele.

At that time, The Carlyle was the only five-star hotel in New York for over a quarter century, and early in the morning on my first day, the hotel’s concierge stopped by with greetings and to offer a bit of good advice: “No matter how rushed or overwhelmed you may get during the day, when the phone rings always be calm when answering because you’ll never know who is on the other end.” Boy, was he right. 

Literally everyone who was anyone at one time or another rang the shop for orders, from movie stars to politicians to the titans of industry and the ‘ladies who lunched’. Many times they would stop into the shop, especially if they were staying at the hotel: Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy (he owned an apartment in the hotel), Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, Kitty and John Kenneth Galbraith, Dixie Carter, Bobby Short, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Brooke Astor, Olivia de Havilland, Jayne Wrightsman, Julie Andrews, Happy Rockefeller, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Imelda Marcos, and various Kennedys and Vanderbilts.

You get the picture. Eventually I just got immune to all of them but the one person who could always get my heart racing was Jacqueline Onassis. She was always kind and complimentary of my work, and on some days she could make me laugh out loud--on purpose.

One such day was 25 years ago today. Mrs. Onassis would walk down Fifth Avenue in the mornings on her way to work, and take Madison Avenue for the walk back to her apartment at 1040. Aside from window shopping, it was very clever because that way her back was to traffic, minimizing gawkers and those who might become annoying.

Read more: Jackie's Christmas Paper Whites

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