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CAROLINE: The Airplane

By Mark Henderson

January 4, 2015: The CAROLINE is a part of political and airline history. It was the first private plane to be used in a presidential campaign.

The CAROLINE was built in August 1948 for American Airlines (AA) and was part of the AA fleet untill 1958. The plane was sold to the plane sales firm Fred B. Ayer and Associates of New York City. On September 22, 1959 the plane was purchased by Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (JPK Sr.) for $385,000.

Reportedly, when Janet Des Rosiers (former secretary/mistress of JPK Sr.) returned from Europe to New York City in March 1958,  JPK Sr. called her and said "You pick any job in NYC and I'll get it for you". Des Rosiers thanked him but she said that she would get her own job. She got a job selling Corvair planes as a plane demonstrator. The job paid a commission. She rung JFK to see if he wanted a demonstration and a test flight was arranged.

JFK and his entourage flew from DC to NYC. JFK was impressed and told Janet that he would lease one for his presidential campaign. A few days latter JPK Sr. rung Des Rosiers telling her, "Hell Janet, Jack isn't going to lease a plane from you, we're going to buy him one." As her commission Janet received six months pay plus additional cash. At JFK's request Janet became stewardess and secretary on the CAROLINE.

Read more: CAROLINE: The Airplane

1962 Christmas Mantel

December 23, 2014 Notes: Kennedy family Christmas stockings hung on the mantel of the Paul House in Palm Beach, Florida on December 24, 1962. The "loaned" Paul House gave the First Family some privacy away from the busy Palm Beach residence of nearby Joe and Rose.

Source: JFK Library. Image edited by Steven L. Brawley.

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