logo
Getty Images
Getty Images

Jackie Kennedy's Painful Private White House Visit after JFK's Death — a Closer Look

Rebelander Basilan
Feb 07, 2021
10:40 A.M.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, disrupted the country's peace and prompted years of mourning for the first family, who soon escaped the White House.

Advertisement

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy returned only once, eight years after her husband died, during a private visit. The former first lady and children, Caroline and John, Jr., took a trip on February 3, 1971.

President Richard Nixon and first lady Pat Nixon welcomed them. The White House previously invited Mrs. Kennedy, who had married Aristotle Onassis and taken his last name, to visit, but she declined.

Jacqueline Kennedy at her Georgetown home in August 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Jacqueline Kennedy at her Georgetown home in August 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

Other than President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon, only two people at the White House were aware of her visit — Chief Usher Rex Scouten and White House Curator Clement Conger.

When Mrs. Nixon took the Kennedy family on the tour, she showed them the changes that had occurred to the White House. She showed them some of the White House collection's newest acquisitions.

The preservation of historic artifacts combined with Jacqueline Onassis' vision of transforming the White House into a living museum held a special interest to President Kennedy's widow.

John F. Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy during his announcement for seeking presidential nomination on January 2, 1960 | Photo: Getty Images

John F. Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy during his announcement for seeking presidential nomination on January 2, 1960 | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

During the presentation of the portraits, Mrs. Nixon stood apart from the Kennedy family so they could have their own space. They continued with the tour after seeing the paintings.

Mrs. Nixon showed off other areas particularly important to the family. Onassis finally got to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, built in her honor in 1965.

In 1962, Onassis conducted a private White House tour from the comfort of the American people's homes.

President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, and John Kennedy Jr. at the Georgetown University Hospital Chapel in Washington, DC. in 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, and John Kennedy Jr. at the Georgetown University Hospital Chapel in Washington, DC. in 1960. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

Mrs. Nixon’s tour concluded with cocktails in the Second Floor Oval Room, where President Nixon joined them. Tricia and Julie, daughters of the Nixons, then joined the group for dinner.

President Nixon then led the Kennedy family to the West Wing. After the Kennedy family toured the West Wing, they boarded the same military jet and returned to the Kennedy residence in New York.

Jacqueline Kennedy with President John F. Kennedy and their two children John Jr and Caroline at Palm Beach, Florida on April 14, 1963 | Photo: Getty Images

Jacqueline Kennedy with President John F. Kennedy and their two children John Jr and Caroline at Palm Beach, Florida on April 14, 1963 | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

Although Onassis and her children didn't return after their visit in 1971, they still enjoyed it at the time. Onassis' thank-you note to Mrs. Nixon expressed her deep appreciation. She wrote:

"The day I always dreaded turned out to be one of the most precious ones I spent with my children."
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their daughter, Caroline, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, late 1950s or early 1960s. | Photo: Getty Images

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and their daughter, Caroline, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, late 1950s or early 1960s. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

In 1962, Onassis conducted a private White House tour from the comfort of the American people's homes. She walked the television viewers through the state dining room, the Red Room, and others.

While many viewed her restoration as a vanity project, she didn't want to impart her own tastes on the home's interiors but to reinstill pride in America in a home that had been stripped of its history.

Advertisement
info
Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Advertisement
Related posts

Who Was Jacqueline Kennedy's Last Love? Meet Maurice Tempelsman, the Man Who Stayed with Jackie to the End

May 19, 2022

Jackie Kennedy Was 'Much in Love' & Got Engaged before JFK — She Became 'Ice Cold' & Ended It within Months

March 03, 2022

Jackie Kennedy Did Not Want To Be a 'Sad Little Housewife' & Felt Hurt When JFK 'Never Called up for Weeks'

March 12, 2022

Jackie Kennedy Hoped Nothing Would Go Wrong While Pregnant with JFK Jr After Losing 2 Children in a Row

March 09, 2022

JFK Jr Dumped Carolyn Bessette for His Ex - He Won Her Back & They Wed after Jackie Kennedy’s Death

March 29, 2022

JFK Jr Tried to Save His Marriage & Did Not Want to Be like Other Kennedys Who Were Uncaring to Their Wives

March 07, 2022

Jimmy Carter's Youngest Child, His Only Daughter, Attended Public School That Was 'About to Close Down'

February 08, 2022

Michelle Obama Felt ‘Lost & Alone’ as She Could Not Conceive at 35 - She Described Having a Baby as ‘Magical'

March 12, 2022

Cynthia Nixon Has 3 Sons — One Was Born as Samantha & Later Transitioned in 2018

February 23, 2022

Angie Dickinson Almost Married Frank Sinatra amid 20-Year On-And-off Affair Yet Wed Man Who ‘Never Loved Her'

March 30, 2022

Meghan Is 'Almost More Unmanageable' to Royal Family Than Diana & They 'Had It All Over Again', Claimed Royal Expert

May 04, 2022

Jenna Bush Hager's Long Island Dream Cottage That Reminded Her of Texas

April 02, 2022

Erin Napier Dreamed about Owning Her House in Laurel as a Teen — Inside Her 97-Year-Old Family Home

April 26, 2022

Who Is Darby Camp? Get to Know the Young 'Gaslit' Star Who Plays Marty Mitchell

May 02, 2022