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JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS, THE FOURTH CONVERSATION VI

March 10, 2012

JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS, THE FOURTH CONVERSATION VI

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on the fourth conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy”, published by Hyperion.



The fourth conversation was recorded on March 23, 1964.

Jacqueline Kennedy is discussing Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961 with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. at her home in Georgetown.

Mrs. Kennedy says:

“Poor Robert Frost….couldn’t see what was written on the paper.  And he looked like he was going to cry, but then, he knew ‘The Gift Outright’.

Later, I caught up to (Jack) in the Capitol & I was just so proud of him.

There’s this picture where I have my hand on his chin & he’s just looking at me & there really were tears in his eyes.

(I said) ‘Oh, Jack, what a day!'”

The newly inaugurated President & First Lady attended three inaugural balls together that night.  Mrs. Kennedy returned to the White House at midnight, while her husband got in “about 3 or 4”.

Jacqueline Kennedy says that she spent that 1st night in the Queen’s room while her husband slept in the Lincoln bedroom.

Mr. Schlesinger asks (once a routine was established) “how would (the President) begin the day.”

Mrs. Kennedy responds:

“He got up a quarter of 8 & George (Thomas) would knock on our door.*

He’d get up & go…have breakfast (in his bedroom) in a chair with a tray in front of him….reading the 50 morning papers.

Then he’d take a bath.  And later on it used to be John’s (John Jr.) treat to walk to the office with him every day.


Statue of JFK & John John, Rapid City, South Dakota, http://www.whereisjoe.info/

Discussing the remainder of the average day, Schlesinger asks if JFK would ever have lunch in his office.

Mrs. Kennedy says that he would not & that he always took a 45 minute nap in the afternoon.  She comments that he followed the example of Winston Churchill in that regard & that it was something he hadn’t done before becoming president.  She added that he took the nap “for his health.”

She said that JFK would work until after 8 at night.

*George Thomas (1908-1980) was JFK’s longtime valet.  He was an African-American from Berryville, Virginia & while serving the President in the White House lived on the third floor.


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