Research by Steven L. Brawley

Myths About Jackie:

  • She was French: No, she was Irish, English, French, and Scottish (1/2 Irish and only 1/8 French).
  • She graduated from Vassar: No she received a BA in French Literature from George Washington University in 1951.
  • Her pink suit was a knock off: No. Jackie used a complicated buying scheme that allowed her to have a New York salon - Chez Ninon "assemble" a fall 1961 Chanel suit (fabric, materials, buttons, and all) so it would appear that she was buying American.
  • Oleg Cassini designed all of her White House era clothing. Mostly. He designed the bulk of what Jackie called her "state" clothes. But, she had clothing scouts around the world searching collections for new finds from multiple designers.
  • She spent most of her time as First Lady in the White House working on its restoration and entertaining heads of state: Not really. She spent a great deal of time away from the White House at a leased Virginia estate called Glen Ora, and travelling overseas (Italy, India, Greece, etc.). President Kennedy's family members, even her mother, often filled in for her at official White House functions. The comedian Jimmy Durante even adapted his old joke to say "Goodnight Mrs. Kennedy, wherever you are."
  • She made all of the decisions regarding the White House restoration. Well, she led the effort and created the White House Historical Association and the Fine Arts Committee. JFK also weighed in from time to time (including directing the Blue Room floor to be darkened, selecting the blue toile fabric in his bedroom, and the redo of his Oval Office in Nov. 1963).
  • She wasn't very political: We continue to learn more and more about Jackie's influence and political savvy based upon her 1964 oral history and other documents.

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