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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

Collecting the Kennedys

By Lynn Wooten

November 17, 2014: When I was in the fifth grade, I wrote a book report on President Kennedy’s assassination. I found the subject absolutely riveting, and I must hold the dubious record for the number of times the book Four Days was checked out of an elementary school library by the same person.

My fascination with the events in Dallas quickly spread to the family and their epic soap opera. Oddly, I vividly remember the first time I laid eyes on a photo of Jackie Kennedy (it was a close-up shot of her beaming, at Love Field, in the book The Torch is Passed), and my mother helped me pronounce her name. It was love at first sight.

I spent countless Saturdays poring through the periodical stacks at our library, copying pages of interest and jotting down the dates of back-issue magazines I would order for my budding Kennedy collection.

Starting off, there were the requisite Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post issues. Then, in the 1980s, I would anxiously await the twice-a-year auction catalogues from Kennedy Political Items Collectors (KPIC) and would stay on the phone late at night bidding away.

I tirelessly scoured flea markets and used-book and magazine stores. Friends of friends of friends would happily unload their old historic newspapers from their attics, and I would carefully file and care for them. Then eBay came along – and many items that had seemed rare and out of reach became far more accessible. To this day, I only halfway joke that had it not been for eBay, I would have owned my first house much sooner!

In 1996, with the help of an auction insider, I attended the famous Jackie Kennedy Onassis estate auction at Sotheby’s, including an exclusive VIP preview cocktail party. Surrounded by the very wealthy and eating caviar for the first time, I most certainly was out of my element!

But I got to see all of Jackie’s remarkable furniture, jewelry, books, china, rugs and basic bric-a-brac up-close. Confidently – yet, as it turned out, quite naively – predicting that items would sell for perhaps 10 times their pre-sale estimates, I put away about $1,000 with which to purchase one of the lesser items – say, for example, a beat up upholstered stool that had been in Mrs. Kennedy’s White House bedroom, estimated at just $100.

Well, during the opening auction session a couple of nights later, I was seated across the aisle from former Chrysler Corp. chairman Lee Iacocca. An hour into the auction, with its jaw-dropping, skyrocketing hammer prices, I glanced over at Iacocca as he rubbed his temples. If these prices give Lee Iacocca a headache, I thought, I’m waaaaay out of my league.

Read more: Collecting the Kennedys

1040 Piano Display

November 14, 2014 Notes: Objects displayed on Jackie's Henry F. Miller Ebonized Baby Grand Piano in a corner of her 1040 Fifth Avenue Dining Room. Piano sold at auction for $167,500.

Source: Sotheby's 1996 Onassis Auction Catalog, page 466.  Image edited by Steven L. Brawley.

Forever Jackie

By Mary Christopher

November 12, 2014: By the time I could identify all of the Huxtables on “The Cosby Show,” I was already fascinated with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

My baby boomer mother, think Sally Draper obsessed with Mary Poppins, grew up in the thick of the 1960s culture boom as a Jackie lover and Kennedy admirer.

Her love for Jackie certainly rubbed off on me – a girl who came of age in the 90s during the emergence of technology, hip hop and Hillary Clinton.

In May 1994 when everyone was rushing around my suburban town having prom pictures developed, I was running around buying commemorative Jackie magazines because she had just passed away. There may have been photos I hadn’t seen before and I was curious to see which part of her life would be projected on the cover … young Jackie, First Lady Jackie, jet set Jackie O or New York years Jackie.

As I look through those magazines today no feelings have changed, no interest flailed and no part of me wants to de-clutter the box to make space for my daughters’ ever expanding toy collection. Why? Because it’s Jackie, she will always remain a chic and timeless mystery.

She never seemed to go through any “awkward” phases in life and didn’t need formality to look elegant. It was her natural way. Her life was a mixture of fairy tale, fable and tragedy. As one of the most followed and photographed women in the world we are left feeling like we didn’t quite know her.

Someone once said that Jackie was “a phenomenon in phenomenal times” and I believe that to be very true. Living in the sixties had to be an unbelievably sensational and befuddling experience. The country changed socially, politically and culturally and she entered at just the right time. Coming off the stodgy fifties, she infused chic, modern and traditional sensibilities in her own way. Classic with a twist.

Read more: Forever Jackie

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