BOSTON – A remarkable Jackie Kennedy letter to her husband, then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, concerning their relationship and family will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction on Nov. 7. The fully illustrated auction catalog can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers. The three-page handwritten letter (above) is signed “All my love, Jackie,” undated, but circa 1957-58. Away from Jack, Jackie writes that she is finding it hard to communicate and feels like being separate knocks a married couple off of the same wavelength. Still, she writes, “I think it is usually good when we go away from each other as we both realize so much. We are so different—but I was thinking this trip—that every other time I’ve been away, you would write ‘don’t ponder our relationship too much’ etc.” She inquires about how their new daughter Caroline is doing and expresses joy that they at last have “a baby we both love.”
Closing the letter, Jacqueline writes, “You are an atypical husband—increasingly so in one way or another every year since we’ve been married—so you mustn’t be surprised to have an atypical wife—Each of us would have been so lonely with the normal kind. I can’t write down what I feel for you, but I will show you when I am with you—and I think you must know—.”
After a pair of unsuccessful pregnancies, John and Jackie welcomed Caroline Bouvier Kennedy into their family on Nov. 27, 1957, whose arrival proved opportune for the incumbent Bay State senator as he used the optics of his new family to boost his reelection campaign. Away from the public eye, however, the Kennedy family was in disrepair, with John’s infidelities threatening to dissolve the couple’s five-year marriage. In defying JFK’s solution—encouraging her not to think too hard about it—Jackie writes this pensive letter evaluating their status together.
Contextually, the letter paints Jackie as a torn matriarch, fatigued by her husband’s indiscretions, yet resolute in her conviction to save her family, perhaps going so far as convincing herself that John is merely “an atypical husband,” and she, “an atypical wife.” RR Auction’s research indicates this is the only Jackie love letter to Jack ever be offered at auction, it previously sold for more than $22,000 in 2016.
“Jackie Kennedy was a prolific writer and we have seen dozens of letters to friends and family—but this is the only letter we have seen where she speaking directly to Jack about their relationship,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction.
Also up for bid is an amazing collection of five never-before-seen original photographs of a 16-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier.
The collection includes five original vintage glossy candid photos of a teenaged Jacqueline, taken during the summer between terms at Miss Porter’s School, believed to have been taken at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. Two of the photographs are well-composed portraits of Jacqueline, aptly capturing her radiant beauty; two show her at a tennis court with her younger sister Lee Bouvier; and one shows Jackie, Lee, and their father, John “Black Jack” Bouvier III, seated at an outdoor table.
The consignor notes that these originate from the personal photo album of J.D. Wooster Lambert, heir to the Listerine mouthwash fortune. Wooster’s brother, Gerard Barnes Lambert, was the father of Jacqueline’s close friend, Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon, who would design the modern White House Rose Garden during the Kennedy administration.
“These marvelous never-before-seen snapshots wonderfully portray Jackie’s entering young womanhood at age 16,” said Livingston. Jacqueline’s beauty, as we would come to know the future First Lady, is captured in these candid photos.
Additional highlights include JFK’s iconic presidential bomber jacket, his rocking chair from the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, and a wealth of important handwritten notes, signed photographs and letters, including one from Jackie reflecting on her tragic flight home from Dallas on Air Force One.
Details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.