Monday Motivation: Five Quotes by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jacqueline Kennedy in Venezuela
Jacqueline Kennedy, Photo: Cecil Stoughton, White House/JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

To this day, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis remains one of the Hamptons’ biggest fashion icons, but she is remembered for more than her style.

Born at Southampton Hospital on July 28, 1929, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier spent a great deal of her childhood at her parents’ (John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Lee Bouvier) expansive East Hampton estate, Lasata. Growing up, she excelled at most things she set her mind to—equestrianism, ballet, schoolwork and language (she spoke English, Spanish, French and Italian).

Jacqueline graduated from George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature in 1951, meeting U.S. Representative John F. Kennedy at a high society party the following year. Upon making his marriage proposal, Kennedy had to wait for her answer until she finished an important assignment for The Washington Times-Herald—covering the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. She returned to the U.S. a month later, accepted his proposal and resigned from the newspaper. Their wedding on September 12, 1953 was the social event of the season, with around 1,200 guests at their reception.

After suffering a miscarriage and a stillbirth, Jacqueline gave birth to their first child, Caroline, in 1957. Early in Kennedy’s bid for the presidency in 1960, she accompanied him to many campaign events, but decided to stay home in Georgetown when she became pregnant. There, she provided interviews to the media and wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column titled Campaign Wife. At the time, her elegant wardrobe attracted both adoration and criticism for its French origin and (assumed) exorbitant price tags.

November 1960 was a month of celebration, as Kennedy beat Richard Nixon for the presidency, and Jacqueline gave birth to John F. Kennedy Jr. As First Lady (though she preferred to be called Mrs. Kennedy), she prioritized her husband and children over all else, though she also dedicated much of her time to preserving American history, promoting the Arts and restoring the White House. She even had a hand in creating the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities. On the fashion front, she hired American designer Oleg Cassini to style her for the public, now televised, eye and became an international trendsetter.

In the years that followed, Jacqueline was revered for her poise and dignity in the face of unthinkable tragedy and loss—laying to rest her newborn son Patrick, husband, brother-in-law Robert Kennedy and second husband Aristotle Onassis.

For this week’s Motivation Monday, we look to five quotes of wisdom from one of the most admired women in the world.

“Every moment one lives is different from the other. The good, the bad, hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness are all interwoven into one single, indescribable whole that is called life. You cannot separate the good from the bad, and, perhaps, there is no need to do so, either.”

“One must not let oneself be overwhelmed by sadness.”

“Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it. All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words.”

“You have to be doing something you enjoy. That is a definition of happiness!”

“We should all do something to right the wrongs that we see and not just complain about them.”

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