Did Jackie Kennedy Go to College?

When we think of timelessness and grace when it comes it comes to American politics and the White House —many of us think of the Kennedys. Though they were only the President and First Lady for a brief period during the early 1960s, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy represented a new and evolved America. Though the country was still in the midst of many battles both at home and abroad, the Kennedys presence in the White House represented hope and modernity, something the country desperately needed in the middle of the 20th century.

Jackie Kennedy in particular elevated the role of First Lady — but with all of her worldly knowledge and her mastering of various languages — did Jackie Kennedy go to college?

The late first lady attended Vassar College and George Washington University

After graduating from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut — Jackie desperately wanted to attend Sarah Lawrence College, but her parents would not hear of it and sent her to the more isolated Vassar College instead. Though she excelled academically and participated in the drama club and wrote for the newspaper, Kennedy Onassis hated the school and spent her weekends in Manhattan.

During her junior year, Jackie was able to convince her parents to let her study in Paris for the year. She studied at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble, and at the Sorbonne in Paris through Smith College’s exchange program. When she returned home, she was able to finally free herself from Vassar –transferring to George Washington University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature in 1951.

A beau before JFK

Before Mrs. Kennedy met John F. Kennedy in at a dinner party in May 1952– she was engaged to marry stockbroker, John Husted. In various letters in the early 1950’s the late first lady confessed to priest, Joseph Leonard, that she was “so terribly much in love — for the first time — and I want to get married. And I KNOW I will marry this boy. I don’t have to think and wonder — as I always have before — if they are the right one.”

The pair announced their engagement in January 1952 but called it off just three months later. Jackie found Husted “immature and boring” once she got to know him better.

Continuing education

Though her career– one that began with a junior editorship at Vogue magazine and eventually led to the role of as Inquiring Camera Girl at the Washington Times-Herald where she covered the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II stalled, Mrs. Kennedy did continue her education after her marriage to JFK. As the couple struggled with fertility during their first few years of marriage, the newly married Mrs. Kennedy occupied her time by taking continuing education courses in American history at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

After the death of her second husband, Aristotle Onassis in the 1970’s Kennedy Onassis would return to work as a book editor. According to Town and Country, she negotiated a position with Viking Books as a “consulting editor” for $10,000 per year ($45,000 per year today). She worked as a book editor for 20 years. After Viking, she went to Doubleday, where she acquired and published memoirs, including those of Michael Jackson and Martha Graham.

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