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Kennedy Christmas Chronology

Research by Steven L. Brawley

The White House 1961-1963

1961:

  • White House Card: For the Kennedy's first official White House Christmas card, Hallmark creates a design that features a wide green silk screen band on a white stock accompanied by the official Presidential Seal and the sentiment “Season’s Greetings 1961” engraved in gold. The imprint reads: “The President and Mrs. Kennedy wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
  • White House Staff Gift: For the Kennedys’ first Christmas in the White House in 1961, they give their staff a a color photograph by Cecil Stoughton of Caroline's ducks in the fountain on the South Lawn.
  • November 8: Charles O. Finley, Chairman for the National Tuberculosis Association Campaign, and Dr. Henry Stuart Willis, President of the National Tuberculosis Association, present the 1961 Christmas Seals for the National Tuberculosis Association to Jackie in the Diplomatic Reception Room, White House, Washington, D.C
  • December 12: Jackie visits with children at the D. C. Children's Hospital.
  • December 13: Jackie unveils her "Nutcracker Suite" themed Christmas tree featuring trimmings derived from the ballet by Tchaikovsky in the Blue Room of the White House, Washington, D.C. Jackie wears a deep pink silk dress by Bergdorf Goodman (circa 1958). President Kennedy delivers annual holiday season message to the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • December 20: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson lights the National Christmas tree - a 75-foot Washington state Douglas fir, initiating the first Pageant of Peace during the Kennedy administration. The President could not be present at the ceremony because his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, had recently suffered a stroke.

Read more: Kennedy Christmas Chronology

The Missing Pink Pillbox Part 2

by Brandon Wolf

Exclusive to Pinkpillbox.com

December 3, 2014

Part 2

In Search of the Pink Pillbox

As outlined in Part 1, Jackie’s pink pillbox hat is missing. Torn off by her own doing in the nightmarish dash to Parkland Hospital. The famous pink suit topper passed through several hands that day before last being seen in the White House Map around 8 pm. So what happened?

Possibilities, and Their Probabilities

First, let's review the hat's history and timeline.

Now, here are some examples of developing possibilities about what happened to the hat that day:

Caroline and John Jr.'s Secret Service Agent Robert Foster may have taken the bag and given it to Providencia Parades, Mrs. Kennedy’s personal/wardrobe assistant:

  • Probability: Low
  • Foster and Paredes were known to be good friends. But if he had given her the hat, why wouldn’t Provi have included in it the box that went to Janet Auchincloss’? She would have been in possession of the hat nearly 12 hours before she had access to the suit.

Agent Foster may have just put the envelope down in the Map Room, and left it there:

  • Probability: Low
  • Secret Service agents are taught to do things by the book. Since the bag was supposed to go to Hill, it seems likely Foster would have made sure it got to Hill – most likely by giving it back to the guard.

Agent Foster may have given the envelope back to the White House guard, who took it back to the guard office:

  • Probability: High
  • This has more logic to it. Even in the midst of a crisis such as this, Secret Service agents (and the White House police are part of the Secret Service) are taught to be in control and to do things by the book.

Jackie's Secret Service Agent Clint Hill picked up the envelope from the guard office:

  • Probability: Low.
  • In a 2011 article, Hill is quoted as saying he gave it to Mary Gallagher. That would seem to imply he never saw it again.

Read more: The Missing Pink Pillbox Part 2

The Missing Pink Pillbox Part 1

by Brandon Wolf

Exclusive to Pinkpillbox.com

November 24, 2014

Part 1

The Creation of An Iconic Image

It is approximately 9:00 am on the morning of November 22, 1963, and Jacqueline Kennedy is just about dressed for today’s political appearances in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin.

She has finished putting on a raspberry colored suit with navy blue trim and a navy blue blouse. It is the famous Chanel designed suit assembled and purchased through a New York salon named Chez Ninon - her secret way of getting a European suit with an American label.

All that remains to be done before she faces the public is to affix the matching pillbox hat to her head, and then have her secretary Mary Gallagher help her button the cuffs of short white gloves.

Her auburn hair (recently coiffed by her stylist Kenneth Battelle) is not quite shoulder length, and is styled in a soft flip at the ends. In the front, it is combed over from the right side and falls in a loose bang. She positions the hat about half way back on her head. Chic and classy, emphasizing her natural beauty, it is she who makes the outfit, not the other way around.

She has no idea that she has just created an image that will become indelible and iconic. Neither does she realize this will be the last time she will wear that pillbox hat. In fact, it will be the last time she wears any pillbox hat.

The hat was probably made by the designer Halston, who worked for Bergdorf’s, where Jackie got many of her hats from. Halston made her Inaugural hat, and she liked his work, so it’s a safe assumption.

Exactly how the hat attaches to her hair isn’t known, but since it doesn’t sit directly on top of her head, we can assume that it was held in place with at least a small comb sewn into  the lining. It’s also possible that the comb is like a barrette with a small clamp that fits over the hair drawn into the comb, and then locked at the end. Open car motorcades were a part of her life now, and she may have learned that her hats sometimes needed special reinforcement to stay firmly in place.

Happy Thoughts Flood Her Mind

For Jackie, today is just another campaign appearance. Life is good. She has re-surfaced on the national horizon, after a three month hiatus recovering from the loss of her son Patrick in August.

Her campaign appearances the day before in San Antonio and Houston show that she is helping the re-election efforts. The media is focusing on the ideological splits in the Texas Democratic leadership, but she is balancing it out with rave reviews for her campaign enthusiasm.

Back in Washington, her husband’s office is scheduled to receive new draperies and a new rug while they are in Texas. Holiday decorations are ready to be hung after Thanksgiving. She has chosen a historic crèche as the focal point, and a picture of it is on the front of the 1963 cards, which she and the President have already signed.

Read more: The Missing Pink Pillbox Part 1

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