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Library opens first section of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis papers

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The first lines of a handwritten note from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onass to the White House curator detailing the numbering system to be used on the White House collection.

The first section of the personal papers of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the young wife of the charismatic president, has been unsealed, opening another window into history, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum announced today.

The papers touch on both the public and private life of the first lady, showing her interest in such topics as the restoration of the White House, travel, state visits, arts and culture, press coverage, and her involvement in a variety of cultural projects, organizations, and assocations, the library said in a statement.

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“Students, scholars, and the general public continue to be fascinated by Jacqueline Kennedy and the pivotal role she played in our nation’s history,” said Tom Putnam, the library director. “These new documents demonstrate her work as first lady, her legendary attention to detail, and the incredible range of her understanding of art, histoy, and public diplomacy.”

Onassis was only 31 when her husband (who was 43 at the time) was inaugurated, on Jan. 20, 1961. She and her husband and their two young children charmed America. But their fairy-tale story took a cruel turn when the president was assassinated in 1963. She later married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. She died in 1994.

The library said the new papers included material relating to her efforts to restore the state rooms of the White House and a televised tour she gave of the White House that aired on Feb. 14, 1962, 50 years ago on Tuesday.

The papers, along with other historical materials, were donated to the library by her children, Caroline Kennedy and the late John F. Kennedy Jr.

More portions of the collection will open once they are processed by archivists, the library said.

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