COTE DE TEXAS: “Jackie”

“Jackie”

                                                            

 

Have you seen “Jackie,” the new movie starring Oscar winner Natalie Portman as perhaps our chicest First Lady, ever? 

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t really excited about the movie and chose to wait until it turned up on cable to watch it, if even then.   Still, I was shocked when Natalie received a Best Actress Oscar Nomination for the role.   Could yet another Kennedy movie really be THAT good??

And so, when last weekend Mr. Slippersocksman and I were looking for a neutral movie to watch – something with a bit of history that we both might enjoy – much to my surprise, he agreed to view Jackie.

Have you seen it?   If not, do!  Right away, too!

I was totally unprepared for how emotional the movie was!  

It mainly tells the story of how Jackie deals with John Kennedy’s assassination and its aftermath, including the trip to Dallas, the plane ride home, the funeral and the week after she leaves the White House.

And, it is amazing.  Truly amazing.   The acting!

Natalie Portman becomes Jackie so much so that sometimes you aren’t really sure if it is Natalie or Jackie on the screen.    The movie seamlessly inserts new footage into vintage footage – so seamlessly that Ben and I were forever rewinding the movie, saying, “That was real!” or “Wait, was that real or the movie?”

Also sliced through the movie are scenes from the hour long televised documentary that Jackie gave about her famous White House restoration.  When you watch the movie footage of the documentary, it’s hard to remember this is an actress and not Jacqueline herself.  And then sometimes, the footage is actually Jackie and NOT Natalie.  

And then there are the movie sets.   They are flawless.  I was struck by how absolutely perfect the Production Team recreated the White House.   Even the prints hanging in Jackie’s bedroom are faithfully copied.  This attention to minute details make you feel like you are actually inside the private quarters of the White House.  It’s hard to believe this was filmed on a movie set and not in the White House itself!

But,  besides, the flawless production, the subject matter is gut wrenching.  I was shocked at how emotionally drained I was watching Jackie on the plane ride home, or at the Dallas hospital, or being  back in  the White House,  alone.  I didn’t think the story of John F. Kennedy or Jacqueline Kennedy would be so horribly sad, but, it was. 

 

  Even if you weren’t born for decades after the assassination, I think you will still be emotionally gutted by the movie “Jackie.” 

 

  They were such a handsome couple, so intelligent and so hopelessly young.   JFK was just 46 when he was assassinated and Jackie was only 31 when she became First Lady. A child almost! 

 

  And here is Natalie Portman in Jackie’s iconic pink suit.   The actor that plays JFK is Caspar Phillipson.  He takes a back seat to Robert Kennedy, who is forcefully played by Peter Sarsgaard.  I’m not sure if this was done on purpose, but JFK seems incidental to the movie compared to Jackie and Bobby. 

I was a young child when Kennedy was assassinated.  I was in the 4th grade but I still vividly remember our principal and my teacher – the old Mrs. Gray – telling our class what had happened that day.  My birthday party was the same weekend of the funeral.  Looking back now, I don’t know how my parents went on with my party.  I’m not sure I would have had the strength. 

 

To recreate the Dallas scenes, getting the pink suit just right was mandatory.    The producers copied Jackie’s Chanel suit with its navy blue lapels perfectly.  The suit was bought by Jackie at Chez Ninon, a Park Avenue shop that created many of the clothes the First Lady wore.   The suit itself was a copy of a Chanel, something that Chez Ninon was licensed to do.  Chanel would send certain U.S. boutiques the material and buttons from France and the suits would then be made in the states.  Besides Chanel, Chez Ninon would also make other designer knock-offs such as Givenchy and Pierre Cardin.  It was a win-win for Jackie.  The cost of her clothes was keep down and Chez Ninon’s clothes were Made In America, not France, which was good for JFK’s political image.  The pink pillbox shaped hat was made by Halston which was bought at Bergdorfs.  In just 60 years, women’s clothing has changed so completely – hats and gloves are no longer ever worn.

 

Most surprising is that Jackie had worn the pink suit at least six times before the last time in Dallas. Here in the Yellow Oval Room, she wore the suit unbuttoned.

 

  One often asked question is what ever happened to the First Lady’s pink suit?  Today, it is inside a dress box,  folded up in a white towel, along with her stockings, and stored in a vault outside of Washington D.C at the National Archive.  Her famous pink pillbox hat and white kid gloves from that fateful day are missing.   Along with the pink suit and stockings, the  National Archive also has her navy shoes, purse and navy blouse, which are stored inside the dress box, too.   The pink suit actually belongs to Caroline Kennedy who is her mother’s sole heir.  Caroline made a gift of the clothes with the provision that they would not be viewed by the public until the year 2103.    This hundred year proviso insures that anyone who was alive while Jackie Kennedy was, will not still be alive when her clothes are first shown publically.   Apparently there are personal memoirs that will remain hidden for 100 years too.   

 

 

Another time Jackie wore the pink suit on the White House lawn.

 

Interestingly, researchers may examine President Kennedy’s clothes that he wore that day, along with Oswald’s gun and other items from that fateful day, but permission has never been given to any researchers to view the First Lady’s clothing.

Mrs. Kennedy wore the pink suit that entire day and night.  It wasn’t until she arrived back at the White House, early the following morning, that she took it off.  Her maid put the clothing in a bag and later, in the dress box.  In July 1964, the box of clothing was given to the archives.  The box was accompanied by a note from Jackie’s mother, Janet Auchincloss on which she wrote simply “Jackie’s suite and bag, worn November 22, 1963.”  At some point, the suit had been sent to her mother’s house in Georgetown for safekeeping.   It was, of course, never cleaned.

                                                     

The First Lady in the pink Chanel in London with her sister Lee.

It is said that the President liked the pink suit and asked Jackie to wear it in Dallas although this is not verified.   JFK did tell her maid, as they were packing, to remember how hot it was going to be in Texas.  The maid reported this account and said it was the last time she ever spoke to the President.

In an interview with biographer William Manchester, Jackie said that her husband said, “There are going to be all these rich, Republican women at that lunch . . . wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets.  And you’ve got to look as marvelous as any of them. Be simple — show these Texans what good taste really is.”

 

And yet another time in the pink Chanel.

What I never knew was that there was a coordinating overcoat to the suit, in a darker shade of pink.  Jackie had left the coat on the plane because the Texas weather was so mild. (I know that!)   Since the pink pillbox hat has never been found, there are many rumors about what happened to it.  The most popular theory is that Mary Gallagher, Jackie’s former personal secretary, kept the hat after the secret service handed it to her on that fateful day.  Gallagher has never commented on the hat but over the years she has sold many things that were given to her by Jackie.  It is also possible the hat was inadvertently thrown away when the car was cleaned up.  

 

Many of the more memorable scenes from that week were recreated in the movie “Jackie.”    This event, when President Johnson takes the oath on the plane, is shown in the movie. 

 

Here, in her blood stained suit, Natalie Portman recreates the emotional swearing-in scene on Air Force One.   And yes, this is so emotional, more than I realized it would be.  It’s just so sad to witness!!

 

Here, with her brother-in-law Robert Kennedy, who was a rock, a protector of Jackie.  He was such a strong presence for Jackie and her children, despite his overwhelming grief.   

It’s so interesting to see all the political paranoia that surrounded JFK’s shooting.  The family immediately blamed the John Birch Society for the assassination – who?  I barely remember that name today, but back then, that’s who they first thought was behind the shooting – not Russia.

Throughout the movie, it is stressed that Jackie wanted her husband to be properly remembered in history.  In one scene, she proves that no one even remembers the other presidents who were assassinated, they only remember Abraham Lincoln.  And JFK’s legacy becomes Jackie’s goal.  She incorporates elements from Lincoln’s funeral into JFK’s and despite the personal danger, insists on walking with the procession from the White House to the church.  She also insists on a magnificent burial site at Arlington Cemetery.  Her determination helped ensure that JFK’s presidency would never be forgotten.

If you haven’t seen Jackie, I highly recommend it.  But,  be sure to have your hankie handy.   

Directed by Pablo Larrain, I was surprised that much of the movie was filmed in France!  The production designer was Jean Rabasse who was given only ten weeks to prepare for the film!  That’s amazing in itself.  The interiors were filmed on a sound stage outside Paris.  Rabasse and Veronique Melery concentrated on faithfully recreating the White House interiors of Sister Parish, Stephane Boudin and Henry Francis du Pont, who was Jackie’s decorative arts expert.  The movie relies heavily on the documentary “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy” which first aired on the same day on both CBS and NBC.  Four days later, it aired on ABC!  There were the only three TV channels at the time.   Over 80 million people watched the documentary which is an amazing amount of people back then.   The documentary showcased the $2 million renovation which Jackie had undertaken.  When she had first moved into the White House, she was shocked to discover the rooms were filled with reproductions and motel grade furnishings.

 

The only photo I could find of Stephane Boudin, the French interior designer that Jackie so admired.  Note his cigarette, something they probably bonded over.  Jackie was a closet chain smoker, who constantly smoked when the camera lens was turned away.   It was said she smoked three packs a day.  I always think about all the stillborn and miscarried babies that she so tragically suffered.  Today, they say smoking cigarettes is a cause of miscarriages and it makes me wonder if she would have had more babies if she could have just given up the cigarettes while pregnant, at least.  I was so surprised when I first learned she smoked.  It just shows you that no one is immune to addiction. 

 

To raise money for the White House renovations, Jackie established a privately run foundation which is still in place today – called the White House Historical Association.  Through the foundation and the donations made to it, she was able to buy high end antiques for the White House.  Also, many people donated prized pieces of furniture to the foundation or they underwrote a certain room’s renovation. 

To reproduce the White House for the movie, “Jackie,” the production team made reproductions of both the rooms and theirs contents.  They recreated the tiniest details – such as the artifacts on JFK’s desk.  To recreate the First Lady’s documentary, the director mixed actual 1962 film clips along with new film that was shot with special cameras to mimic the older footage.

The most detailed sets were the Oval Office, the private bedrooms of the family, the Lincoln Bedroom, The East Room, and the second floor central hall.   

   

The East Room: 

 

5000 pieces of oak were used to faithfully recreate the parquet floor in the East Room.   Originally the Production Team tried to photoshop the floor, but since it took up such a large area, the producers built the floor instead.

   

 

Pablo Casals  - his visit to the White House was a scene in “Jackie” – shown here. Jackie sits between her husband and brother-in-law Robert. 

To recreate the East Room, two chandeliers were rented from Steinitz in Paris.  If purchased, they would have cost over $500,000 Euros.  Since production needed three chandeliers – the third one was reproduced in Hong Kong.

 

 

And here in real life, the dinner with Pablo Casals, held in the East Room.  At the left is the famous Martha Washington portrait.

 

 

  A close up view of the Martha Washington portrait.

 

And yes, in real life, Jackie had on a formal, yellow dress, just as in movie.  This scene in the movie is so beautiful – the music is overwhelmingly emotional.  There’s that word again.  But, I can’t stress how moving the movie is!

 

The East Room – with the Martha Washington portrait recreated for the movie.

 

The East Room renovation under the Kennedys.  Stephane Boudin had the mantels painted white to appear like marble.    The biggest change that Jackie made in this room were the curtains,  but she didn’t live in the house long enough to see them completed.  She asked for new curtains with opaque silk under curtains.  Boudin designed the new curtains with silk made by Maison Jansen.  His proposal wasn’t even completed until 1963 and Jackie rejected his design which called for valances and tiebacks.   Jackie wanted to use the historic 1902 gilt window cornices already in the room.  Once the final design was approved, the First Lady was Lady Bird Johnson who asked Jackie to assist her in the installation of the curtains. The curtains and valances took three years to design and make and were not hung until 1965 at a cost of $26,149.  The guidebook for the White House Tour paid for the curtains.  Smoking in the public rooms was allowed for the first time under the Kennedys and standing ashtrays were designed by Maison Jansen.  Boudin also removed most of the furniture that had been placed in the room.  The sofas were removed and replaced with gilt benches.  You can see the benches here that were recreated for the movie.  Finally, Jackie designed a portable stage for the East Room that was used for performances. 

 

The silk  curtains that Boudin purchased for the East Room.

 

One of the few photos of the new Boudin/Kennedy curtains in place.  Eventually subsequent presidents added to these curtains: valances were made and then another deeper set were made, along with fresh, new curtains which matched the older Kennedy ones.  I love the way these simple panels look, so elegant! 

I just wish there was a better photograph of the Boudin room with the new curtains in place!!  But, you can see how pretty the room looks.

 

  The newly painted mantel.   On the mantel are the Monroe candelabras. 

  

 

When John F. Kennedy died, the First Lady looked to Lincoln’s funeral for inspiration.  The windows, chandeliers and mirrors were covered with black fabric for Lincoln’s lying in state and the First Lady wanted to repeat this for her husband.   The White House had black crepe that was used in the upholstery shop and which covered the chandeliers and windows in black.  And after some searching, Lincoln’s same catafalque was found and used for Kennedy’s coffin. 

 

Magnolia leaves and branches cut from Andrew Jackson’s tree on the White House lawn were used to decorate the catafalque.  Wooden crosses were used,  along with two wooden prayer desks.  The piano was removed from the East Room during this time.   At first the casket was open, but the First Lady wanted it closed;  she left that final decision for Robert Kennedy.  All were in agreement that it would remain closed.   At first, the family wanted JFK to be buried in the family plot in Brookline, Massachusetts, but Jackie disagreed and Robert McNamara backed her up.   Eventually the First Lady and Bobby, along with other members of the family, went to Arlington and picked out a burial site below Arlington House, that is on an almost straight axis with the Lincoln Memorial. 

 

  The East Room in mourning.  Kennedy friend and confidant, the artist Bill Walton helped design the East Room for the laying in state.  He used the wooden crosses instead of silver ones and it was his idea to add the magnolia leaves.  He also decorated the chandeliers and windows with the black crepe.

 

Here, the scene is shown in the movie.

Sad parts of the movie are interspersed with happier times so it’s not all too hard to take.  But, it’s an emotional movie, much more so that one might suspect.

 

In the movie, the family visits the casket before it leaves for the Rotunda.   This room looks exactly like the real East Room!!! 

 

 

The State Dining Room:

The State Dining Room is shown here in the First Lady’s documentary.   

 

  And again, here with her host, Jackie shows off the State Dining Room and the Monroe surtout du table.

 

  For the movie “Jackie,” the East Room set doubled for the State Dining Room.   For the movie, the old rug is shown, rather than the new one that was ordered from Boudin.  

 

 

  Here, Natalie playing Jackie is seen while filming the First Lady’s documentary.  It’s like a movie within a movie.   The copies of the paintings are amazing and so are the chairs.  The production got this room exactly correct!

 

  Even the dress was an exact copy of  the one that Jackie wore for the documentary, although it was filmed in black and white.

 

Another scene filmed in the State Dining Room – after Dallas.  Lincoln looms large in Jackie’s mind.

 

The actual State Dining Room shows the Kennedy Renovation with the new rug bought from Boudin.  Unfortunately the new curtains were not ready for this photograph.

  

The State  Dining room was renovated with the help of Stephane Boudin.  He painted all the paneling a bone white and gilded the silver plated chandelier and sconces so that they would match the newly found Monroe surtout du table.  The 1952 new mantel was replaced with one that Boudin designed.  But, his design was rejected by Henry Francis du Pont who asked that the original 1902 Buffalo mantel be returned by the Truman Library - who refused the request.  Instead, a copy of the Buffalo mantel was made in white marble.  In this photo, the new Buffalo mantel had not yet been installed. When it was discovered that Truman had taken the mantel, there was no law against Presidents taking what they wanted from the White House.  Anyone could just take something from the White House with no recourse.  To stop this practice, the First Lady had a law quickly drafted that declared the White House a museum.

Why a buffalo mantel?  When the White House was renovated in 1902 by Theodore Roosevelt, the architects had drawn a mantel with a lion on it.  Teddy said there were no lions native to America and instead insisted a buffalo be carved into the mantel. 

 

 

A few more details about the room.    The rug is a copy of one that Boudin designed for Leeds Castle and it was woven by Stark.  New chairs were placed here instead of the Chippendale reproduction chairs.  The Truman gold curtains remained until 1967 when they were finally replaced by panels designed by Boudin and inspired by panels he designed for Leeds Castle.  A Chinese Coromandel screen was used in here and later was moved to the second floor center hall. 

 

After the Kennedy’s administration was over, the new curtains were finally delivered for the State Dining Room.  Here are the beautiful panels, modeled after the curtains Boudin created for Leeds Castle.  Unfortunately, this is not the Boudin rug. I couldn’t find one photo that showed the new curtains and rug together.  

 

  And here is the dining room at Leeds Castle designed by Stephane Boudin.  You can see the rug and curtains he designed and which were used as inspiration for the State Dining Room at the Kennedy White House.  Gorgeous!!

A copy of this rug was sold in the Sotheby’s Kennedy auction.  It’s not clear what actually happened to the State Dining Room rug, perhaps it was returned to the First Lady?

 

 

And here, the rug shows up at the Sotheby’s auction but it isn’t clear if this is the same rug from the State Dining Room or a copy.  The desk is the one that was in the Treaty Room.  And notice the oil portrait to the right.  That is in the Kennedy’s early Georgetown house. 

 

 

Today, the Obama designed State Dining room with its new rug.  You can see the Buffalo mantel here.  Notice the Monroe surtout du table is now long gone, again, but the Monroe candelabra remain!

 

  

After the funeral, a reception was held at the White House for all the dignitaries.  Here Mrs. Kennedy walks past the Family Dining Room in the State Dining Room.

 

  The Family Dining Room:

 

The Family Dining Room was designed by Sister Parish and it’s not nearly as sophisticated or chic as the Boudin rooms.  For Sister’s renovation, molding was removed and windows were lowered in order to unify the room and make the vaulted ceiling more prominent.   The walls were painted a soft yellow and yellow curtains were ordered.   The rug seems too Laura Ashley now.

 

The room was both praised and criticized by peers.   It was finally updated by Nancy Reagan’s designer Ted Graber.  The Obamas later totally redid the room which now blends more with the State Dining Room.

 

 

The Red Room:

Jackie trying out footstools in the Red Room.

 

The Red Room was considered the highlight of the Kennedy renovation, many considered it perfectly designed. 

 

When the Kennedy’s first moved into the White House, Sister Parish quickly rearranged the Red Room using furniture that was found in the house.  Later, Stephane Boudin took over the restoration of the Red Room.  Since Boudin was French and his work on the White House was hidden from the public - for years the renovation of the Red Room was erroneously attributed to Sister Parish.  The room was designed using a combination of French Empire and American Empire furniture.  A small gueridon became the centerpiece of the room, a donated piece it is considered the finest example of American neoclassical furniture in the White House. 

 

The sofas once belonged to Dolley Madison and a granddaughter of Martha Washington.  A private donor gave the house the Aubusson rug in exchange for a meeting with the First Lady.  The 1820 chandelier was bought for the room, along with three French bouillotte lamps and a pair of French torcheres. At first Boudin covered the walls in art, but after the walls were hung with silk, he changed this, creating two rows of paintings, one at eye level, a look used in art galleries and French country houses.  Boudin ordered plain panels as opposed to white cotton tiebacks favored by du Pont. 

 

I wish the color were better in these old  photographs.    The red was a more of a blue-red, a cerise,  than a warm red.  Later, when the room was redesigned during the Nixon Renovation – the red was warmed up, using the as a guide the red in the Dolley Madison painting that was now hanging in the room.  Pat Nixon called the room’s new color Dolley Madison Red.

 

The double row of paintings, one eye level, the other level with the door molding.  Fabulous!   Later, this sofa was changed to another, more ornate one.

 

The chandelier - just beautiful.  So French!

 

 

The First Lady shows off the Red Room on the tour.

 

From the guide book.

 

After the funeral, the First Lady met Heads of States in the Yellow Oval Room.  Later, she met each dignitary in the Red Room, helped along with her brother-in-law Edward.

 

Today, much of the furniture that Kennedy found remains in the room, but there have been major changes.  The curtains were changed and today are bright gold and red.  Under Clinton, the walls became a deeper red.  A new secretary was added by Lannuier. 

 

Today.   The Kennedy rug was replaced by the Nixon team but later, the original Kennedy design was rewoven anew and is still in the room today.   Most sad is all the bouillotte lamps are long gone.  Why?  Nixon’s team so hated Boudin that nothing he did was “right” in their eyes.   This view shows the new secretary and sofa.   

 

The Blue Room:

The Blue Room before the Kennedy Renovation.  That skirt!  What IS that?!?!   Actually this was a table skirt made by Sister Parish to cover the heavy table underneath.  And those mirrors! 

 

In this photograph the gold skirt makes more sense, as it picks up the gold in the wallcovering.  Along the wall is the pier table that was one of the first pieces that Kennedy discovered which was actually made for the room.

 

Here the women are plotting their renovation!

 

 

Looks nice!

 

The Blue Room was one room where Stephane Boudin was given complete design control.  In most rooms, Henry Francis du Pont acted as a foil, but not here.  The idea for the empire style was started by Jackie when she found a 1946 French magazine article that talked about a suite of French Empire style furniture made in 1817 for the Yellow Oval Room.  The White House staff was able to find only one piece of it – a pier table, in terrible condition.  She asked Maison Jansen to restore it.  They put a new marble top on it and it was placed across from the fireplace. Slowly, chairs from the 1902 suite were found for the room, along with an original 1817 chair.  In the end, some chairs were original, while others were reproductions.  A painting was found of the Monroe era furniture and the fabric was woven to mimic it.

Boudin chose a cream wall color with a blue valance and he added blue silk taffeta curtains.  He replaced Parish’s gold cloth with a blue velvet skirt.   He added French Empire sconces and a Empire chandelier.  The carpet was an antique 19th century Savonnerie. 

The room was gorgeous and remains a favorite today of all the Kennedy renovations.  The President announced it was his favorite room too – although this is disputed.  Apparently he said a few rooms were his “favorite.” 

  

The only mistake, not sure why the pier table is off center between the doors?  I think it’s because it is directly across from the fireplace is which must be off centered too.  They should have centered it between the two doors as opposed to the fireplace but Boudin didn’t ask me!

 

Another view.  Just beautiful!

Besides the First Lady, President Kennedy was also very involved in the restoration.  When two chairs belonging to Monroe arrived at the White House, he asked that they be wrapped with bows so that he might present them to the First Lady himself!

 

 

Pat Nixon’s curator Clement Conger so disliked Boudin, he declared the Blue Room a total failure and he did a complete redecoration of the room in 1971.   It looks so garish compared to the Kennedy decor.

 

And today.   The Obamas did not redecorate the three color rooms.  They did renovate the State and Family Dining Rooms, along with the Private Floor.  I like the Kennedy chandelier so much more than this one!  Don’t care for this rug either.  The curtains look like the Nixon ones.  The fireplace mantel was also changed out.   Today the Blue Room does not have the same elegant look as the Kennedy Blue Room did.

 

The Green Room

Before the Kennedy renovation.  Mrs. Kennedy at a tea.

 

 

  Before the Kennedy rug, curtains, and wall covering were installed.  Once the design for the renovations were approved, the ordering and waiting could take years, sometimes did.  Many rooms were not finished when Mrs. Kennedy moved out and Mrs. Johnson would be in charge of installing her décor. 

 

 

  The Kennedy Green Room.

The official photo of the Green Room.   Although it was said the Blue Room was his favorite, the President was quoted as saying the Green Room was actually his favorite.  After his death, the family donated a Monet to hang in the Green Room and his official portrait hung here too.  Of course Pat Nixon’s curator Clement Conger changed it all ten years later. 

The beautiful Benjamin Franklin portrait looks so wonderful here and its story is even better.  The wealthy Walter Annenberg from Philadelphia had just bought this portrait of the famous Philadelphian for the huge sum in that day of $250,000.  Jackie called him and said, “Mr. Annenberg, today you are the first citizen of Philadelphia and in his day Benjamin Franklin was the first citizen of Philadelphia.  That is why, Mr. Annenberg, I thought of you.   Do you think that a great Philadelphia citizen would give the White House a portrait of another great Philadelphia citizen?”  Stunned,  Annenberg asked for a few days to think about it.  A Republican, he nevertheless couldn’t resist the First Lady and today, the White House owns the portrait he had bought for himself.

 

This photo shows the antique 18th century Axminster rug in place and the new moss green moire wallcovering.  Also, you can see the Boudin panels with his trademark valance.  The new chandelier is also shown.  And in place is the Benjamin Franklin portrait with its signature green paint.

For the Green Room, du Pont and Boudin worked together.  The two did clash on the wall covering.  Du Pont wanted a stripe, but Boudin wanted a moss colored moire silk and the First Lady agreed with Boudin.  The two fought over the window treatments too but Boudin also eventually won that argument.  The room was filled with antiques, including Martha Washington chairs, and a secretary.   

 

Mrs. Kennedy’s moves a chair in the Green Room.

 

So beautiful!  Interesting, the Angelica Van Buren portrait is hanging here but it is more known today for its prominent placement in the Red Room.

The Devoted Classicist has a wonderful multi part story on the Green Room HERE.

Of course the Green Room remained the same until the Nixons, who had the Monet moved from the room.   But, most recently Laura Bush oversaw a very nice total renovation.

 

The Laura Bush Green Room, although the basic curtain design is from the Nixon Era renovation.

 

And President Obama checks out the two beautiful convex mirrors.  Looking good O!

 

The Basement:  The Diplomat Reception Room

Here the antique wallpaper is being hung in the basement room.

The first room that guests see in the White House is the basement Diplomatic Reception Room. 

In “Jackie” and in the original documentary, the First Lady says that since the room is the first one seen, it should be beautiful.  And it is.   The walls of the room are covered in an antique wallpaper from the Stoner House in Thurmont.  The paper was from 1834 and before it could be hung in the White House, it had to be restored because of its frayed edges and holes.  The Stoner House had been built in 1838 and in 1961, its owner Gertrude Stoner sold it.   It was due to be demolished to make room for a grocery store.  There was a sale in the house and Peter Hill walked into the house and spied the wallpaper in the front hall.  The mural showed scenes of New York City, it’s bay, Niagara Falls, the Natural Bridge and other “Scenic America” images.  Hill told Stoner he wanted to buy the paper but she said he would have to negotiate it with the demolisher who had already turned down an offer of $100 for the paper.  The demolisher told Hill he could have the paper if he could have it off the walls before the next week.  Hill spent the next three days removing the paper – he knew exactly what he had and what it was worth.

The Stoner house was first owned by a wealthy tannery operator whose six room stone house was built to show off his wealth. To add a touch of finery he ordered the wallpaper from the French company, Jean Zuber.  The scenes were taken from a set of Currier and Ives prints.  The set consisted of 32 strips and it took a year to produce the mural.  Each strip was 18.5” wide and 11.5’ long.

The paper was highly valued even back then and was very expensive – costing $10, quite a lot in those days.  The finished mural crossed the Atlantic in tin foil tubes to protect it from the ocean moisture. Amazing to think of is how did the owner ever even know of Zuber and his wallpaper?

Hill called the Smithsonian to tell them of his find.  The next day found himself at the White House with the mural spread out on the floor.  The First Lady walked by the office and the paper caught her eye immediately.  It was everything she loved – it was both French and antique.  She decided she had to have it, instantly.

There wasn’t enough paper to finish the oval room, but the curator located 25 more feet of the paper in an antique store.  The paper was also too short, but a solution was devised by painting a few inches of blue sky – to match the wallpaper.  The paper was bought for $17,500, although they could only pay $12,500 of it.  Actually, the White House could have bought a new set of the paper from Zuber who still made the same exact mural.  The paper would have cost only $2,200 and wouldn’t have needed the repairs!!!

 

The First Lady shows off the antique wallpaper.

 

 

The original Kennedy room – you can see where the blue was added at the top of the paper. 

 

 

Over the years more Federal furniture was added and new rugs were bought, but the design of the room stayed basically the same.

 

Today, the room looks like this – besides the rug, it is very similar to how Jackie once envisioned it.

 

The chandelier adds a nice touch!  It’s amazing to think how old the paper is and it makes the room so much more interesting than if the new paper would have been purchased and hung!

 

So sweet.  President Obama and First Lady Nancy Reagan, in her signature red, walk through the Diplomatic Reception Room.

 

The China Room:

During the renovation, the China Room was used as a storeroom.

 

And for the movie “Jackie” -  this scene from the documentary is recreated – in the library.   It looks amazingly real! 

 

Here the makeup lady uses the actual footage from the documentary to get Natalie looking as much like the First Lady as possible.

 

Later, Stephane Boudin painted the paneling in the library and decorated it using a Federal decorative scheme.

 

The China Room:

The First Lady working in the China Room.

 

Such antique treasures just laying about!  The First Lady must have felt she was in heaven!!

 

Stephane Boudin and Jackie had a disagreement over the roundabout.  He didn’t want to use it, but she insisted.  He agreed if only it was covered in velvet to match the velvet shelves.

 

The final Boudin China Room in pink and grey.  All the pine paneling and key molding is now gone.  This is really pretty.  Starke made the rug.  Of course, Pat Nixon’s team later changed it all!!!

 

The Vermeil Room:

Before:  As it was being painted French blue.

 

Stephane Boudin suggested painting the paneling in blue like the master bedroom of Leeds Castle.  This is the only photograph of the room with the blue painted paneling.  The shelves are lined in white velvet.  Of course Patricia Nixon redid the room and so did the Bushes.  Pat Nixon’s curator particularly disliked this room, calling it “French!”  

 

The master bedroom at Leeds Castle which inspired Jackie in the Vermeil Room.

 

The Second Floor Center Hallway:

The West End Sitting Room adjacent to the First Lady’s bedroom, with a partner desk in the center of the hall.  At the right is Jackie’s personal, gorgeous chest.  Most of the furniture here came from the Kennedy’s Georgetown house.

 

Another view without the partner’s desk.

 

Jackie’s chest on the right side.  Gorgeous!    This chest went with Jackie to NYC and was included in the Sotheby’s auction of her possessions, after she had passed away.  

 

A photograph from the Sotheby’s catalogue, showing the same French chest, decades later.   Do you like the brass polished or not?   Above it is the snow owl print that once hung in her master bedroom in the White House.   Jackie said both "my mother and mother-in-law were always decorating and redecorating. I can't stand that. I want the things I love around me in the same place they've always been."

 

A daytime view of the West End sitting room.

 

Slipcovered furniture.   Sister Parish was asked to recreate the Kennedy’s Georgetown living room that she had designed for them, using their same furniture.  It looks like new slipcovers were ordered for their furniture.  Two rugs were used here, this dark one and a lighter one was seen in some photographs.

 

Looking at the center hall from the West Sitting Room.  Sister Parish added the two bookcases for Jackie’s many books.   And here, Jackie’s dining room chairs from the Georgetown house were added. 

Another view – showing a drinks table at the doorway.   So English!  Both Jackie and JFK were voracious readers and books were everywhere.

 

In this photo from their Georgetown house, you can see the same French chairs, seen above, that were brought to the West Sitting Room.  These chairs were later sold in the Sotheby’s auction, as was this oil portrait.

 

 

In the movie, Natalie as Jackie leaves her bedroom and enters the West Sitting Room.  The producers copied the off white love seat and the desk, along with the side table and the telephone.

 

The Producers recreated the West Sitting area – almost exactly, including the chintz slipcovers and the pink skirted table!

 

The First Couple with Ben Bradlee in the West Sitting room.    While waiting for new curtains in the private rooms, Jackie wrote to Sister that she was so tired of living with “flappy nylon glass curtains.”  I’m sure she was talking of these linings too.  Apparently Sister had designed this green window treatment for Jackie while she waited for the curtains to be made.

 

Later, these curtains that matched the slipcovers were hung in the West Sitting room. 

 

Another view of the new curtains, along with the lighter rug. 

 

 Actually, here you can see the sofa wasn’t slipcovered, but was tufted.  This must have been ordered new for this room, as all her sofas in Georgetown were slipcovered.   Hmmm. 

I wish there was just one photo that shows the entire back window with the new curtain treatment!

 

 

Later, when the Johnsons moved in, the green curtains and nylon linings were placed back in the room!  Jackie must have taken her new chintz curtains with her?

 

The center hall. 

At the end is the Oriental Screen that was once in the State Dining Room.    The walls were decorated with a collection of American Indian portraits which later Tricia Nixon insisted be removed.  I won’t repeat the comment she made about them because it’s too politically incorrect today.

 

And from the movie “Jackie” – the Central Hall is faithfully recreated.    This is the view of the Central Hall looking towards the East End Sitting Room.   The Oriental Screen is used on this end.

The production team recreated this hall to scale.  The hall is 165’ long and it took up the whole of the soundstage to build it.   They also copied the molding.  The producers copied every painting and print – to its exact size.  They even added brush strokes to prints to make them look more realistic!  They had another special artist who worked solely on the portraits to make them look like true antiques.

 

Here, Natalie as Jackie shows the center hall as seen in her documentary.

 

In the movie, the Center Hall shown at night.

 

 

And a shell shocked Jackie returns to the White House in her pink suit.  Who won the Best Actress this year?  Emma Stone?  I haven’t seen LaLa Land, but it’s hard to believe Natalie Portman didn’t win the Oscar.  She is phenomenal in this movie.

 

 

Reality:  The center hall as seen from the opposite direction.

 

This part of the center hall leads into the Yellow Oval Room.  On the walls is part of the American Indian collection.

 

The Yellow Oval Room:

 

This is an early view of Sister Parish’s decor.

While Sister worked hard and long hours at the White House, when it was all over, she said terrible things about the First Lady.  It makes me think that she had forgotten how it really was between she and Jackie.  For instance, Caroline attended kindergarten with Charlie, Sister’s grandson.  After Jackie became unhappy with the school, she opened up a private school on the third floor of the White House.  One of the pupils asked to attend the private White House Kindergarten was Charlie Bartlett, Sister’s grandson, which greatly pleased Sister.  If Sister truly hated Jackie and vice versa,  I doubt Charlie would have attended the private White House kindergarten.  

 

 

Also, in her book, Sister wrote Jackie became unhappy with her over a rug she had ordered from France.  Later Sister adds that actually Jackie had heard that Sister had kicked Caroline, a story she denied, although Sister’s daughter later wrote she didn’t doubt the story. 

And then there was this.  Early on, Sister was quoted as saying Jackie had “beautiful taste” but that all changed when she gave this quote:  “The President was always a perfect gentleman.  As for Mrs. Kennedy…Mrs. Onassis…was hell to deal with.  Selfish, pretentious, cold, calculating – her taste was nil.  The words “thank you” didn’t exist in her limited vocabulary.  I’m sure she’s a wonderful mother but to me, she’s a colorless cream puff.”

Interesting how Jackie went from having “beautiful taste” to having “nil” taste.  And the “thank you” quote was proved not true by the letters from Jackie which were published in Sister’s own book!

 

The Sister decor included slipcovers for the sofas along with other colorful fabrics.  Boudin found this chandelier for the Oval Room.

 

 

And another view of the Yellow Oval Room.

 

The view towards the Center Hall with the fur throw added to the slipped sofa.

 

Later, most of the furniture was covered in yellow.

 

The Yellow Oval Room:  JFK had matching rocking chairs placed in each room where he spent time.  Some of these were auctioned off.   At the time the public was surprised there was more than one rocking chair.

 

The view by the windows – so elegant.

 

Another view of the yellow fabrics.

 

Against the back wall, there are now matching chests.  The Cezannes were hung here requested by Jackie.  But, at the reception after the funeral, she asked the Cezannes be moved out since de Gaulle would be received in this room and she wanted him to see American art!!

 

The First Couple in front of Boudin’s curtains.

 

The Private Family Dining Room:

Jacqueline had this bedroom made into a family dining room, along with a small kitchen in the next room.  She found antique paper of American battle scenes for the walls.  Later, Sister Parish took full credit for the idea to make these two rooms into a dining room/kitchen.

 

Originally the room looked like this, but a new rug and chandelier had been ordered for the room.

 

And here is the new rug and chandelier.  New table and chairs with white upholstery were added to the room. 

 

Most First Ladies kept this paper, although Betty Ford had it removed as she hated the battle scenes.  Later, the Carters had the paper put right back up until the Clintons had it removed, again.  It remains removed today.

 

The  Treaty Room:

The Treaty Room Before. 

 

Jackie and Stephane Boudin worked on this room to recreate the Treaty Room with its distinctive curtains and wall treatments.

 

Eventually this large chandelier was returned to the White House.  It had once been in the East Room.   Many felt it was too big for this room.

 

The Lincoln Bedroom:

The Lincoln Bedroom was very simple and very pretty during the Kennedy years.  Jackie claimed this was one of her favorite rooms in the White House.

 

Looking the opposite way.  In the documentary, Jackie says how much she loved this room as they had lived here when they first moved into the White House while their own rooms were being painted.

 

In the movie “Jackie,” the room is reproduced perfectly, including the famous bed – although the stain is a bit light!   The bed was made especially for the movie.

 

Here “Jackie” sits in the Lincoln bedroom.

 

Today, the Lincoln bedroom looks like this.  The original canopy was remade and installed.  Two different First Ladies worked on this decor:  Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.   Do you like this decor better?  I have to say Victorian is my least favorite decorative period!

 

Here’s a photo of the Lincoln bed with its original canopy as used by Benjamin Harrison.

 

Mrs. Kennedy is seen in the Lincoln bedroom during the documentary.

 

The same scene is recreated in “Jackie.”  Notice how the producers used special cameras when filming the documentary for the movie.  This footage looks vintage and is so authentic looking, it’s hard to tell which documentary is real!

 

The House on N Street:

Much of the furnishings in the White House private areas was furniture that the Kennedy’s personally owned.  Here Jackie is shown standing in front of her house on N Street, the house they lived in before they moved to the White House.  It was with this house that her association with Sister Parish started.  I thought we would take a stop to look at this house before we move onto their White House bedrooms.

 

The house today.  A new brick wall replaces the iron gate to the right of the house.

 

Many people assume that JFK didn’t care about the fineries of life or the beautiful decor that his wife, Jackie, obviously cared about.  This apparently was the opposite of what Jack Kennedy was.  He did care about his surroundings and very much so.  Bill Walton, the artist, Kennedy confidant and best friend of the first family wrote of JFK:   “A big, rich, well-run house, he’d look at it with envy.  He’d comment on it.  He was always absolutely aware…what women wore, what service was on the table,  how the place looked, totally aware.  It always amazed me, the accuracy of his reporting about it.”  JFK never admired his own parents’ houses, apparently.   “Jackie was meant to provide Jack with something she sensed he wanted very much.”  At their house in Georgetown on N Street, Jackie set about furnishing it in a sophisticated, elegant way.  While her own mother was a “Newport wife” living at Hammersmith Farm and Merrywood, Jackie aspired to live with an elegance that even her own mother never achieved.   But, all this elegance did not come cheap and JFK had a reputation for being very, very cheap.  It was here in Georgetown that Sister Parish entered the couples life.

 

Baby Caroline lived here first.  The foyer had an outer front door and another interior front door.  It was reported that Jack liked the house because of its door knocker, but I can’t see any knocker myself!

 

Of Jack, Jackie said this herself:  “The luckiest thing I used to think about Jack, when we were early married and then later, whatever you were interested in, Jack got interested in.  When I started to be interested in French furniture, he got so interested in it, and then he’d be so proud, he’d go to Joe Alsop’s and recognize Louis XVI and Louis XV.  And I started to collect drawings and then he wanted to know about them.  And he got interested in animals or horses.  Or then,  when I was reading all this 18th century, he’d snatch a book from me and read and know all of Louis XV’s mistresses before I would.  So many of the senators, when we’d go out to dinner – senators and embassies this first year – all those men would ever talk to me about was themselves.  And Jack was so interested – maybe it’s Gemini or what?  And once I asked him, the month before we were married in Newport, what he thought his best and his worst qualities were.  And he thought his best quality was curiosity which I think he was right.  He thought his worst was irritability but I mean, he was never irritable with me.  I think  by that he meant impatience.  You know, he didn’t like to be bored and if someone was boring he’d pick up the newspaper but certainly wasn’t irritable to live with.”

So interesting!!! 

 

In the foyer, you can see the interior door and then the exterior door, along with the house across the street.  Both doors had beautiful fanlights.

The First Couple had rented a number of houses in the years before the White House.  Finally, they bought this charming house in Georgetown on N Street – the first house they owned together.  Jackie hired Sister Parish to help her decorate N Street after her sister Lee Radziwill’s attempt to furnish it was rejected.   And, there was also the summer cottage at Hyannis Port that needed to be decorated.  Sister Parish spruced the cottage up, fluffing its interiors with plants and flowers and cushions.  After the success at Hyannis Port, Sister moved on to N Street until the cost of decorating N Street became too much for Jack’s pocketbook.  He worried that Jackie was too chic and refined to appeal to his “base” – his loyal followers that he hoped would elect him president. 

Even though Jackie was thrilled with what Sister had done to the Hyannis Port cottage, Jack insisted she be fired from the N Street house and Jackie was left to tearfully call Sister with the bad news.  Of course, his edict didn’t last long and Sister was rehired to finish the decoration of N Street.

Despite the decorating snafus, the couple loved their house.  Jackie wrote of it Sister: 

“My sweet little house leans slightly to one side and the stairs creak.”

It was also at N Street that Jackie first met Stephane Boudin through Jayne Wrightsman.  Die hard Republicans, the Wrightsmans told Boudin the meeting might pay off one day when JFK becomes President.  The Kennedys bought two antique rugs for N Street from Boudin and paid them off at $100/month, quite a sum in those days.   Jackie told her friend Jayne that Boudin was an “enchanting, brilliant man.”  In the end, the Wrightsmans underwrote all of Boudin’s expenses for the White House Blue Room – a tremendous gift.

The Georgetown house cost $82,000 and Jackie spent $18,000 remodeling it.  Jackie had the floors painted white and green and she chose Louis XV armchairs and porcelains, Louis XVI dining room chairs (which were the ones in the West End Sitting Room) and an antique carpet.  Fresh flowers were placed in French copper cooking pots!  It all sounds so lovely!!! 

Jackie’s love of French decorating influenced my own mother’s taste and also my aunt.  All these years later, their love of French decor rubbed off on me and I can say that my own aesthetic was formed by Jacqueline Kennedy, although I never really truly realized this until writing this story!

 

Here you can see the stairs on the right side of the house that Jackie said “creaked.”   The double parlor was located on the left side of the house.

 

The stairs in the foyer.

 

The house had a double parlor with beautiful French marble mantels in each room.  Here Jackie posed in the French armchairs that were later seen in her White House bedroom and her NYC apartment.  They were sold in the Sotheby’s auction.

 

The furniture in the back parlor wore white with red trimmed slips.

 

Here you can see the front parlor on the left.   This side table was later sold in the Sotheby’s auction.

 

The front parlor had cream slip covered furniture.  At the window is the same silk fabric that was used in Jackie’s White House bedroom and in the movie “Jackie.”  These two tables were in the White House and the Sotheby’s auction.  This set of slip furniture was placed in the West End sitting room.

 

Another view of the front parlor from the opposite side.  The French screen was in Jackie’s White House dressing room and later in the Sotheby’s auction.   The rug and pillows are also in the West End sitting room.

 

Here you can how the back parlor windows open to the back terrace.  These windows have the same curtains as the front parlor.

 

Eating in the back parlor with its red trimmed slips, the front parlor is seen in the background.

 

 

Such beautiful photos!  The front parlor with the furniture that is in the West End Sitting Room.  The two mantels are so beautiful and I wonder if Jackie installed these or if they came with the house? 

 

In the front parlor another beautiful photograph of Jackie and Caroline in front of the French mantel.  These pots and mirror were in the Sotheby’s catalogue and the bust was later in the White House bedroom.

 

The back parlor with the doors that open to the terrace.

 

There are two  photographs of the dining room.   This portrait and the side table and chairs are all later found in the Sotheby’s catalogue.  I love this room!  Was this the rug she bought from Boudin that was later sold in the Sotheby’s catalogue,  inspired by Leeds Castle?

 

And another view showing the china cabinet and the rug – from Boudin?  The curtains look much like the ones that Boudin made for Jack’s oval office a few years later.

 

This vignette shows a fabulous antique French hanging shelf and desk along with her flowers in the French pots.

When the Kennedy’s first moved into the White House, Sister was asked to come and help with the decorating of the private rooms.  She spent over two years working almost full time on the rooms but as time went by it was obvious that Jackie preferred to work with Stephane Boudin.

 

The White House:   JFK’s Bedroom

JFK’s bedroom was designed by Sister Parish and according to her, JFK picked out the blue and white toile – in three minutes flat.   The toile has angels on it and he said he loved angels – which is why he chose it.  President Johnson kept these same linens.

 

Another view of JFK’s bedroom.

 

The sitting area of JFK’s bedroom.  Through the doors is Mrs. Kennedy’s bedroom.

In the movie Jackie, there is only a glimpse of JFK’s bedroom, but it was completely dressed as if long scenes were filmed there.  For the movie, the four poster bed was made for the movie in Belgium and the chest of drawers came from the U.S.  The fabric is still available from a French company.

 

“Jackie” – a photograph of the set.  It’s almost impossible to tell what is real and what is Hollywood!!  A hint?  In the right corner of the ceiling, you can see a bit of the set peeking through!    The only thing missing is the red throw pillow!  But rest assured, this is from the movie, not real life!

The amount of devotion to the details in the sets pays off.   The movie looks rich, it looks real. 

 

The First Lady’s Bedroom and Dressing Room

Mrs. Kennedy’s famous bedroom was first designed by Sister Parish and later Stephane Boudin changed it up a bit.    After the Blue Oval Room, Jackie’s bedroom is one of the most admired rooms in the Kennedy White House.   Done in seafoam green and blues and creams, the bedroom is a study in French design.  To the right of the bed is the French chair that Jackie posed in for a photoshoot (seen above.)  The screen and mirror were both sold in the Sotheby’s  auction. 

 

The bed is actually two twins pushed together with one slipcovered headboard.  

 

The sitting area before Boudin changed it up.

 

Original decorating notes from Sister Parish.

 

It is said that Stephane Boudin put up new curtains and headboard, but I can’t find the original photos that show a different curtain.

 

Here is the room reorganized by Boudin.    He moved the sofa to the other side and paired up the chairs.  New lamps were added along with the desk. So beautiful!!

 

Here is the set of the bedroom for Jackie.  Like JFK’s bedroom, it is meticulously recreated and at first glance it’s hard to tell the difference between movie and real life.  The exact bed and curtain fabrics were bought from Tillet who reprinted them from their archives.   Patrick Tillet, the owner, delivered the fabrics to the set, himself.  His grandmother had worked with Jackie!

 

 

The exact bedcover by Porthault was a surprise find at Harrods.  All the prints and accessories were recreated, along with the pile of books and magazines around the room.

 

The original Tillett Textiles fabric was recreated for the movie set.

 

 

This is so strange, but this photo of a young John with his father on a cruise – shows the same curtain fabric or a good copy of it!!!

 

Jackie – the movie set.  In the days after the assassination, Jackie couldn’t sleep or eat.

 

The yellow chair is a perfect copy!

 

The movie set – the sitting area.  The prints were copied – down to the Snow Owl and the child’s bust.

 

And from the movie – Jackie meets with Kennedy confidant Bill Walton to discuss the funeral arrangements.   He helped her with the research of Lincoln’s funeral and he made sure the East Room looked as it did during Lincoln’s funeral.

 

The Dressing Room.

Here are some original photos of the Sister Parish design.  I wonder if this is what the curtains in the bedroom originally were?

 

The chaise looks so different in this fabric.

 

And later, Boudin redecorated the dressing room – covering the chaise and curtains in blue silk.    Scores of prints were hung on the walls.  He also painted the upper walls a light blue.  That chair is just fabulous.

 

A view shows the same screen that was in the N Street living room. 

 

Another view.  That mirror!

 

Jackie needed more closet space so white cabinets were brought in.  Later, the plain white closet doors were painted by Paris artist Pierre Marie Rudelle and included important events of Jackie’s life, such as a photo of her as a young girl with her father, a copy of Profiles in Courage, and a photo of Jackie falling off her horse – Bit of Irish. 

 

A close up of one of the closet doors.

 

 Years later the chaise, with a different fabric, turned up at the Sotheby’s auction.

 

For the movie “Jackie,” the dressing room was recreated, down to the screen.  Again, you can see it’s a set by looking up at the ceiling.

 

Jackie roams the halls the nights after the assassination. 

 

From the Jackie move set – her bathroom. 

Caroline’s Nursery:

  Caroline’s nursery was done in a tiny rose bud fabric mixed with pink fabric.  The rocking horse was later sold at the Sotheby’s auction, along with both the chest of drawers.

 

She had her own fireplace.  Just darling!

 

Another view of Caroline’s nursery.  All those dolls! 

 

Caroline’s playhouse.

 

  Playing photographer with the photographer.

 

John’s Nursery:

  John’s nursery was sweet in blue and white.

 

  And looking towards the window.

 

  The first family in John’s bedroom.

   

From the movie “Jackie” – their birthday party was held in Caroline’s bedroom.  Production even copied her little play house. 

 

 

The tiny rose bud fabric was copied for “Jackie.”

 

The Queen’s Bedroom: 

  Boudin decorated the Queen bedroom in toile.

 

Boudin added a velvet skirted table to the Queen’s bedroom. 

 

 

The Queen’s Siting Room

This room was designed by Stephane Boudin. 

  

Amazingly, the room is still intact today, with only a few changes, like the rug and the light fixture.  It’s so beautiful!!!    All First Ladies have refused to redecorate this room, leaving it as Jackie had designed it, which is such a sweet touch!

 

The Third Floor:

The Third Floor has a host of smaller guest bedrooms that are rarely ever seen.  During the Kennedy Renovation, Boudin redid a few of these bedrooms.

 

The first Boudin bedroom on the third  floor is this blue and white  toile.  Notice how pretty the canopy is.  This is now the work-out room.

 

The second bedroom, The Empire Room,  has this red and white toile that was actually from the  Eisenhower decor which both Jackie and Boudin really liked and chose to reuse the same fabric.

 

And there is this one – the Colonial American bedroom with its very traditional Americana design.

 

The Swimming Pool:

  The swimming pool was installed in the West Wing corridor for Franklin Roosevelt.

    

  JFK’s father paid for this mural to be painted on three walls.  The fourth wall was a mirror.  JFK loved the pool and swam three times a day.  He wore three suits of clothes every day as President.  Today, the pool is covered by the Press Room!  Where Sean Spicer gives his daily press briefings, the pool is still underneath.  Later, an outdoor pool and cabana was built for the Fords.

 

The Flower Room: 

The Flower Room was also decorated by Jackie, who added a door here to lead to the pool so that JFK wouldn’t have to walk outside to the pool from the Oval Office.

 

The Oval Office:

 

The Oval Office – the real thing or Hollywood?   Hollywood!   John wanted the red rug and Jackie was surprising him with it along with the new curtains. but he never got to see his surprise.  Jackie had waited for the red rug and it finally came when the couple were in Dallas.  

What is with the red rugs?  The royal family and Hollywood use red rugs everywhere too.

 

From the movie, a view of the Oval Office.

 

   JFK in his rocking chair in the Oval Office.  The poor green rug had been around since Truman!!!!  Terrible!  No wonder they wanted a new one.

 

From the movie, the recreation of the above photo.  Natalie as Jackie sits with Bill Walton discussing the funeral.

 

The real Resolute desk with JFK’s mementoes on top..

 

For the movie, JFK’s desktop was created, copying all his accessories, including his ivory.

 

 

This is supposed to be Arlington Cemetery, but it looks like France to me. 

 

For the funeral, the movie splices scenes from real life with the film, so you aren’t sure if what you watching is real life or not.

 

  The famous salute. 

 

  One complaint – Caroline’s coat seemed a tad too short in the movie.

 

  And on the steps.

 

  The walk from the White House to Church.   The Johnsons walked behind her.  Although her husband didn’t get along with LBJ, Jackie had only nice things to say about the couple after the assassination.

 

And the same scene from the movie, not heeding the warnings, Jackie chose to walk from the White House to the church.

   

 

Before, she was holding  hands with Robert, but when Jackie started walking, she dropped his hand, squared her shoulders, and lengthened her stride – as if to say – I owe you this, Jack.  I’ll be strong for you.

 

It’s long been said that Jackie was stoic and didn’t cry at the funeral.  But photos like this make it look like she was more emotional than people thought.

 

From the movie.   Jackie with Robert and Edward.  Her outfit was an exact copy of the real suit. 

   

  The Kennedy gravesite below Arlington House.  The site is on an almost direct axis with the Lincoln Memorial.  Jackie said that Arlington House was one of the first sights in Washington that Caroline knew, which made it even more poignant.  Jackie fought for two things, the Eternal Flame on the grave and to have John’s name on the spaceship that he had worked so hard on.  In the end, the entire name was changed to Cape Kennedy (for a while.)

 

 

A week after the funeral, Jackie asked a reporter to come to Hyannis Port to  hear her story.  This interview was a large section of the movie “Jackie.”  After her death, the reporter released his notes from the interview which are especially graphic and telling.

 

Jackie and Jack rented or owned several different houses on Hyannis Port during their marriage.  The houses look the same in the compound – it’s hard to really tell them apart.  But, they don’t really look like the house that the movie “Jackie” used for the exterior shots.

 

Jackie talking with the reporter from Life Magazine in the movie.

 

  The house at Hyannis Port is shown in the movie, here.  The set was filled with Americana furniture and naval artifacts – just as the Hyannis Port house was.  As much as Jackie loved French furniture, the Hyannis Port house was decorated in nautical chic.  And later, her Martha’s Vineyard house was decorated in early Americana – which almost looks contemporary in its starkness.   

 

The same area – in real life.   Here is the First Family at their Hyannis Port house with their own wing chair and chintz print. 

 

 

  And here, the dining room with JFK’s  rocking chair – the Hyannis Port set from the movie “Jackie.”

 

The real-life Hyannis Port dining room with the Americana furniture.

The interview scenes are important for Jackie.  She uses the reporter to create what becomes known as the “Camelot” myth.  Jackie apologizes to Jack for using music from a hit Broadway show to describe his presidency.  She says Jack could and would effortlessly quote Greek and Roman philosophers and here she was quoting lines from pop culture to define  him.

But, in apologizing she says that Jack was a sickly boy and he spent many months in bed, reading.   His favorite subject was King Arthur.  And, the  couple had enjoyed listening to the soundtrack from Camelot.   In the end,  the description appealed to America and JFK’s presidency was forever tied to the Camelot story.  In Life magazine’s 1963 cover story, “For President Kennedy: An Epilogue,” the  story ended with this final line that declares that “for one brief shining moment there was Camelot.”

 

The Hyannis Port house with the slipcovered furniture, copied for the movie “Jackie.”

 

Here is the real Hyannis Port house, filled with Americana furniture,  covered in chintz and white slipcovers – copied for the movie.  The movie set even copied the plain white rug. 

 

Years later, the same room was redecorated with new fabrics.  The furnishings of several beach houses, including this Hyannis Port one, were sold by Caroline Kennedy after her brother’s death.

What the movie doesn’t tell you is that the interviewer was Theodore White, a very friendly, almost fawning to the Kennedys, journalist.  He had written the book called “The Making of A President” in  1960.  Jackie has asked for White specifically to come to Hyannis Port to interview her.    Life held their presses, at the exorbitant cost of $30,000 an hour, while White wrote his story.   At  one  point the editor asked White to tone down the Camelot imagery.  Jackie heard this and shook her head,  “No.”   Life relented.

The movie doesn’t show these calls, nor does it tell the audience the connection between Jackie and White.  Instead the movie focuses on her goal – creating the Camelot mythological presidency, which she succeeded at.  Who doesn’t think of John F. Kennedy whenever that music plays or the word Camelot is spoken?

In 1969, White turned over all his notes to the JFK Presidential Library with the provision that they not be published until one year after Jacqueline’s death. You can read his notes HERE.  It’s easy to understand why Jackie apologized to her husband for quoting Camelot instead of something from the classics when you read what she actually said.

The First Lady said:   “When Jack quoted something, it was usually classical, but I’m so ashamed of myself—all I keep thinking of is this line from a musical comedy. At night, before we’d go to sleep, Jack liked to play some records; and the song he loved most came at the very end of this record. The lines he loved to hear were: Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.

In the Tour of the White House documentary, at the end of the show the President steps in to be interviewed.  Without notes or a teleprompter, he sits down to talk  about Jackie’s renovation.  Before I watched the actual documentary, it had been a long time since I had heard JFK speak.  He is so intelligent, so learned, and he does quote the classics – even here!   It’s so interesting to watch him, you sense why he was so popular.  He isn’t frivolous or silly, he is very serious and is extremely focused.   His interview is worth watching the documentary for.

In the end, there’s been much written about John Kennedy and his  mistresses.  Did Jackie know?  Did she love him anyway?  There have been some personal letters that have made it to the public that convinces me that Jackie was hopelessly in love with Jack.  She wrote here to a priest before their engagement: 

"If he ever does ask me to marry him, it will be for rather practical reasons — because his career is this driving thing with him.”   Later she said she could have married anybody but she “chose to marry a Kennedy.”   

And  there is this:  "He's like my father in a way — loves the chase and is bored with the conquest — and once married needs proof he's still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you.”

To the Rev. Richard T. McSorley she said “I had worked so hard at the marriage.  I had made an effort and succeeded and he had really come to love me and to congratulate me on what I did for him.”

If you haven’t seen it – rent the movie this weekend from On Demand or  Amazon, the link is below.  If you have seen it, I hope you enjoyed this backstage look.

 

  Here is a selection of books that go with this story.  Click on the image to order.

 

The new book taken from recordings of Jacqueline Kennedy, 4 months after November.

 

The story of Sister Parish.

 

The story of the Nixon decoration which erased all traces of the Kennedy work.

 

The Movie, click the above photo to watch. 

 

To watch the White House documentary starring Jacqueline Kennedy, go HERE.

 

A collection of Parisian Left Bank LUXE:

HERE.

45 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Joni,

    Thanks for the recommendation. I remember reading one of Jacki's biographies growing up, probably in my teens and something that I never forget is reading how she used to run the water of the sink every time she went to the bathroom something I've been doing since a child and got a lot of nagging from my mom for that. It sounds silly but it says a lot about how conscious she was about every little detail and how much she cared about what people would think of her.
    In the Spanish world, there is the superstitious belief that because of the terribly tragic history of the Kennedy family, the patriarch of the family may have had " A pact with the devil" and you may be wondering, why so much sadness and tragedy in such a beautiful and successful family. The tragedies started way before JFK.
    A couple of weeks ago I was watching a documentary about how JFK's younger sister, Katheen married the son of the Duke of Devonshire, Billy Hartington against her parents approval. Only one of her brothers was present at the civil ceremony. Four months later Billy was killed in Belgium and then four years after that she dies in a private plane crash en route to Cannes. Then the latest misfortune I remember is that of JFK Junior, my biggest crush so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so sad about his sister! Be sure to watch the movie!!!!

      Delete
  3. Joni, you always amaze me with your research, how do you do it? I too was in elementary school and recall that Friday as well, our teacher telling our class that the president was shot and was taken to the hospital. For our generation, there is that day we will remember forever, "where were you when Kennedy was shot"…I haven't seen the movie "Jackie", but definitely will watch it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. for sure!!! I'll never forget that day!!

      Delete
  4. An extensive well researched post enjoyed it ..I was only a year older than you that Nov. every sad moment is something I will never forget..did your Mother and Father keep what was going on from you? I don't understand why you were surprised it was so sad..God it was the saddest thing to happen to this country until the 9/11. I will always wonder what would have happened had he not. been killed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was only 8 when he died, I think or 9 that week. They didn't hide it - I was just surprised how emotional I got watching it. Really sobbing sad. I knew it was sad, I was just surprised the movie could convey the emotion that much. Did you watch it.

      Delete
  5. This magnificent piece was discovered by accident. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I saw the movie and enjoyed it but I had no idea the meticulous planning for detail that went into the set.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Another outstandingly detailed research piece, Joni!

    I believe what Sister Parish said, as that is also what Aristotle Onassis has been quoted as saying about her, and what has been quoted from others who knew Jackie as well. (can't remember their names, but remember reading very negative comments about her in quite a few biographies about her shallowness, her coldness, her self-absorption, her greed, etc.

    I do remember that not once did she ever express any concern or worry for Jack when he was shot and killed. Not one word about how she hoped he didn't suffer any pain, that she felt so badly for him, nothing like that. No, it was all about her, and how it affected her. Including her planning of the funeral, which as she admits in the movie, was really about her desire to be remembered.
    Camelot was a public relations myth she created to whitewash his adultery and mistakes like the Bay of Pigs.

    Jackie's chain smoking very definitely had to be a cause of her miscarriages. Baby Patrick had lung problems, John-John had lung problems at birth (but survived). Again, an example of a totally selfish person who while supposedly so intelligent, made zero connection between inhaling cigarette smoke and why that might not have been healthy for a developing infant in pregnancy.

    Can you imagine how stale and stinky the White House smelled during those years when smoking was allowed? New upholstered furnishings and new curtains would have smelled horrid after a week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh boy, you hate her! haha. there is no way she knew about the smoking. that was the 50s and early 60s. she did talk about jack. in the interviews she talks a lot about when he died and how he didn't realize what hod happened a t all. and she was trying to hold his head in and she was hoping she would save him and she climbed on t he back of the car and grabbed a big piece of his brains to put back in his head. i think you should read the transcript of the interview. she loved him. completely.

      Delete
  7. This was brilliantly researched and written. My attention to all the details captured here took me well over an hour to read and absorb. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I remember these four days as if they were yesterday; it is as clear as crystal in my mind. It was all broadcast on television live; the entire four days were devoted to it. The world came to a practical standstill and everyone was in shock. There was no school on the Monday, the day of the funeral.
    I don't want to see the movie after having lived every second in real life. It would tarnish it for me personally; I wish to keep my memories as they are.
    Sounds like they did a good job on the film. It's just not for me.
    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  9. Joni, another fabulous post! Americans under the age of 50 have always lived with the White House as a museum, and probably don't give a thought as to how it achieved its present wonderful status. Between Jackie's fabulous preservationist and style instincts, and bringing on Bunny Mellon to design the Rose Garden, the White House was transformed into a national treasure. It required someone of her social stature and grace to be able to call people such as Walter Annenburg, et.al., and request donations of historic pieces. That requires social respect and family connections; not all First Ladies are so blessed. So sad to see what happened to the decor in the Nixon years, but then, that wasn't the only thing at the White House that took a hit during that administration!
    As to her temperament, who cares? I care only what she did for the White House and the country. People handle grief in many individual ways. Jackie was a very private person, and I am not at all surprised she didn't talk about her feelings about the assassination in public. I have lost dear friends tragically and it never once occurred to me to share my feelings about their final moments with any but my one closest friend, and in private at that. Jackie also had two very young children, and her real duty would have been to minimize their grief and horror over what happened. She must have been an amazing mother; witness Caroline, and her successful family life and amazing career.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you again Joni- this post was fascinating from both the historical and personal perspective. I am of that certain age who remembers where she was when she found out the president had been assassinated. I was a wee lassie in second grade and will never forget that moment. I will be watching this movie tonight and can't wait. Mural wallpaper has always been a favorite so it was delightful to see pictures of the rooms. Such history.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love all the background about the making of the movie, Joni. The producers really went the extra mile, and it works. As to the pieces you referred to as chests - they are commodes. The one you mentioned that had 'polished brass' is actually bronze doré, or ormolu. In the eighteenth century, the gold was applied with a mercury process. I have a similar commode, and the gilding came off the bronze also, and now the mounts look the same as the one Jackie had. Unfortunately, unless one sends the entire piece of furniture back to France to be regilded, there is nothing that can be done about it, which is why one sees many pieces in that condition. Some types of gilding hold up better than others over the years, so they are not all like that. Except for the children's rooms, which are sweet, I prefer Boudin's treatment over Sister Parrish's. It is more presidential, and he knew period design much more academically than Sister. I heard that Sister fussed at one of the Kennedy children for putting their feet on the new upholstery, and Jackie took umbrage with her attitude towards the kids. It was the final straw, and Sister was promptly put out on her ear. My uncle worked for the Joseph Kennedys during the White House years, and he liked Jackie best of all. He and my aunt lived at the compound in Hyannis and also at their place in Palm Beach. He said that when they packed up to go to Florida for the winter, they took all the family silver with them, and then brought it back to Massachusetts in the spring; one of the jobs that he was in charge of. I remember the day that Kennedy was killed, because I lived in Dallas, and was in school that day. The teachers were crying and we didn't know what had happened until school let out and our parents told us. The next day, we went down to Dealey Plaza (the grassy knoll area) and took photos of all of the floral tributes that had appeared everywhere there. My next door neighbour knew Marina Oswald, and we drove by the Oswald's house also, as well as the Texas theatre, and I took photos with my old Brownie box camera, which I still have, as well as the photographs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Commode - yes! Bronze dore - thanks!!!! great comment.

      Delete
  12. This post is a treasure and a fitting tribute to our nations most important dwelling. Your detailed posts are interesting and amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Cynthia Della PennaApril 8, 2017 at 8:58 PM

    Joni,
    I think this is your best post yet! Fascinating, educational, and thought provoking. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you, Joni, for such wonderful presentation using the movie stills and real life pictures. I had to stop looking and reading half way true but will finish later on. My daughter's mother-in-law, who is British, went with me to see the movie "Jackie." Both of us were expecting the movie to be about the former first lady in general. We were surprised to see it was about events before and after the President's assassination with the focus on Jackie, of course. Both of us were drying our eyes quickly before the lights in the theater went back on at the end of the movie. It weighted so heavy in our hearts. Portman should have won the Oscar for Best Actress. Hands down. I thought about Jackie after watching the movie. So what if she endeavor to memorialize her husband in ways that his presidency, his history and legacy would be indelible in people's mind worldwide. People can be critical of her if they wish, but she had CLASS and DIGITY. I am humming Peter Seeger's song in my mind: "Where has all the class gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the class gone, long time ago?" Sad. I can't even watch the news anymore without a nauseated stomach. Letty


    ReplyDelete
  15. There are three people who comment regularly on this blog and between the three of them, they have literally been everywhere and saw or done everything that you have ever discussed here.
    It's amazing and I love and wait for their comments with heartfelt anticipation.
    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  16. We went to see it in the theatre! ( We only see movies in the theatre!) We loved it!

    She was fantastic as jackie. I had a lump in my throat the entire movie. It was a true tragedy. Great post!!!

    Penelope

    ReplyDelete
  17. Mixed feelings about the film "Jackie" in terms of casting and the overall mood, but no quibbles whatever about the production design which was as you say, almost forensic in its attention to detail. Whether any actress could effectively convey the inscrutable qualities of Jackie K is open to argument. One of the more astute critics pointed out that Jackie had the kind of face which gave no clue to her real thoughts, whereas Natalie Portman's was sharper and "foxier". However, she did get that toneless voice down pat.

    Fantastic post here Joni--you have outdone yourself! The subject of WH decor is endlessly fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love the amazing detail of a great movie - moved me to tears, conveying her pain and anguish, the disillusionment of one day the First Lady and then pushed to the back of the plane all within hours...but back to your thesis on the interior history of the White House under Mrs. Kennedy. Where do you get the energy and time, not too mention all the backstory in the gossip between Parrish, Conger and Boudin. Of course, Wrightsman guided much as well as Engelhard and Mellon, literally the Three Graces. It was nice too see the image from the Sothebys catalog of the commode you highlighted, with Snow Owl above which I absolutely wanted for myself, but in the end I was lucky years later to get the Sargent on the easel of A Venetian Girl, which is really JSS sister, Violet. I don't use understand the concerted effort by the republicans to erase and or spoil the legacy of the Kennedy couple in the White House...so abhorrent in their tunnel vision of what is the definition of a true American. Even down to the decorator and some of your followers. One can only imagine what the decor will be like with a Russian wife, a husband from Queens stuck in the 80s, and of course both will race to have the magazine of their choice publish the images, question is which magazine will stoop low enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please translate. Are you saying that you own a John Singer Sargent painting?
      Sheila

      Delete
    2. yes. she is saying she bought the Sargent that was Jackie's and was in the auction. It sounds like she bought it after the auction, from the person that bought it at auction, correct Swan???? If so, wow!!! What a wonderful piece of the legacy to own!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
    3. Wow, The Swan must be really rolling in it! Venetian Girl sold at the Sotheby's auction for $156,500.00 plus 10% fee. It would have surely been more than this when this buyer sold it to The Swan, unless he was in distress. Being an art lover,it would be interesting to hear how The Swan came to know of the paintings' availability and how she came to purchase it. Also would be interesting to hear where she keeps it as watercolors are so suseptible to fading.
      C'mon, The Swan, spill! You can't just throw something out like that and then just leave us hanging...
      Also, can you float me a small loan till payday...ha!
      Sheila

      Delete
    4. Joni, I thank you for understanding what I wrote, I cannot believe the rest that is in print here regarding my comment...who is this person - so inelegant.

      Delete
    5. I'm not a Rhodes Scholar certainly, but do I really fall to the title of "inelegant"? My sentences have subjects, verbs, and objects and fairly good punctuation and I believe they can be understood by most people reading them. I guess you didn't see the funny in my asking you for a loan. Where's your sense of humor, Swan? I am educated enough to be interested in your John Singer Sargent piece and the ins and outs of purchasing a major piece of artwork such as this, as I inquired above. I suppose you're not going to tell us anything about your painting then?
      Sheila

      Delete
    6. Manners Matter...asking what one paid for, or how much one has...in polite society this frowned upon. One is never to old to learn in my opinion.

      Delete
    7. I didn't ask how much you paid for the painting. I stated how much the painting had sold for at the Sotheby's auction, and since it's so much that's where the joke came in about the loan. So does that mean you're not going to tell us the story of the painting?
      Sheila

      Delete
    8. Can we have a truce here? I would love to know the back story about the Venetian Girl. It would make a fabulous story!! How did it come to land back in California? etc. If you wish. If not, c'est la vie.

      Delete
    9. It's First, painted by THE American Master, capturing sensuality within those ethereal colors evocative of Venice, a city dear to my heart. Second, Jackie owned it, who in my humble opinion, stands on par historically in Style with Empress Josephine of France in her legacy as First Lady of America. Jackie purchased it directly from the family, as JSS held onto all his favorite watercolors which were his true treasure. He even sold Madame X, knowing she was a masterpiece though once upon a time, all in Paris reviled both he and his client, Virginie Gautreau. His sister Emily then owned it, until she passed it onto Violet, who was by the way, the sitter. It was from her family that she obtained this jewel. Historically, it was beautiful when I first laid eyes on it in the Sothebys catalog, but I went for the Snow Owl instead. In the end, the bidding was crazy as all the world seemed to want a part of her evanescence that I got another lot. Not long after, I was at Tiffany and Co. and John Loring was there...I spoke with him about the auction, and he was furious for he tried to buy back some silver beakers from India that he gave her as a gift years before, and in the end he paid BEYOND ridiculously for what he said were mere dollars originally. The Painting is hanging away from light but lit carefully, I pass her daily while living life. No truce is needed on my part, as this is your blog and it wouldn't be my nature to wrangle, wordsmith or jest about someone's fortune or misfortune.

      Delete
    10. Joni Webb 5:37 PM
      The painting had been in California before and then came back there? So you know who owned it before? (I couldn't find that.)
      Sheila

      Delete
  19. Bowing down to the master of forensic decorative analysis Joni! Natalie Portman definitely should have won over Emma Stone. She was immaculate - an not just in an imitative way. It was amazing to see the blending of archival footage, movie footage and knowing all the decorative details. I totally agree, though, about their depiction of Hyannis Port. The exteriors of those houses in the compound were never grand with large double story columns. They were classic rambling houses. My mother told me once that my Grandmother and her sisters were down on the Cape once off season and just walked up to the Kennedy's house (Joe Sr. and Rose) and looked in the windows - and reported that it was very plain. They were summer houses - meant for play not show. Also, the Kennedy's were not blue bloods. Boston Irish bootleggers. I say this coming from a family of Boston Irish. They also used to go to Mass at the same little chapel my grandparent's attended in Yarmouth on the Cape in the summers. So, in a movie with such amazing recreations, it was jarring to see such a grandiose Cape Cod house. Otherwise, fantastic move. Very emotional too. I was only a year old and come from a family of devoted Kennedy haters, so we didn't mythologize the family. The movie did a wonderful job of personalizing what it must have been like for Jackie to be in that car and the aftermath. Only a cold-hearted person wouldn't feel terribly sorry for her. As for the smoking, my mother was a heavy smoker at the same time (she was the same age as Jackie) and she had no miscarriages and we were all healthy. So, I don't think it's wise to make broad assumptions about J's smoking. I'm sure it didn't help. Jack was very sick during those years himself - all hidden from view.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kennedy haters! love that!!!! Linda - I didn't even realize it was the cape house! I thought it was supposed to be the Virginia hunt house. It wasnn't until after that I realized they were copying the Hyannis house. That was their big fail. The exterior - they did get the interiors right though. The breakfast chairs! I loved Jackie's Martha's Vineyard house. So perfect.

      Delete
  20. This is just fascinating. Things that jump out:
    --Some of the old photos seem garish: is that because of the use of flash, or the colors or the amount of pattern?
    --The size of the heels women wore was so much more reasonable then.
    --The suits and dresses have such wonderful details, like buttons and tabs. Love it. Simple but not boring.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fascinating post...I was so surprised to read that the fabric in her White House bedroom was canvas!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Joni - your research and detail is unparalleled! This is truly one for the record books. You have taken a "decor" blog to the next level. Bravo! Mary

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love your post on "Jackie", such a detailed chronicle of this historic event. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Since you and I are the same age I have exactly the same memory of the assasination as you. I remember walking down the hall and hearing it announced over the "loud speaker" (most probably don't even know what those were!!) while heading back to class from recess. I had forgotten that Jackie was so young when she became first lady. I am going to check this one out. I started watching that dreadful one with Katie Holmes. I couldn't even make it past the first 45 minutes...dry, and dull...

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is a fabulous post! I have a confession. I rented this movie twice and did not end up having enough time to watch it. I am ready now and even more !

    ReplyDelete
  26. Deborah aka @D2ZenApril 14, 2017 at 8:41 PM

    Dear Joni, Your astonishing ability to research a topic that interests you — and compare and contrast eras using photos — with a little dash of dishy backstory is a gift from the gods, er, goddess. A thousand thanks. And now, I will also think of The Swan and her JSS painting. Divine. xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  27. Amazing post, previously unseen photos, just mesmerizing. I am a year younger than you, and vividly remember that day. We lived in a VA DC suburb, and my family drove to the gates of Arlington Cemetery to see the funeral. Will never forget hearing the clip-clop of the horse's hooves, thousands of people perfectly silent as he passed by, and seeing the caisson pull JFK into his final resting place. When we would drive into DC after his burial, we would look for the eternal flame at night, and get chills. The Middleburg house you referenced was quite humble. There are photos of them sitting on the grass, having fun, just amazingly different from their DC life. I read a lot about what Jackie did after she left the White House, and she roamed the halls of her Georgetown home. She basically hit bottom, her friends were short in supply. In the end, her grief was much like what "normal" people experience, which I found remarkable in itself. Who knows if she was "cold" or whatever; what I find truly odd is the amount of furniture that was auctioned off. Caroline remains a mystery, and not sure why she would let it go.

    Excerpt from "Vanity Fair's" article, which is fascinating: http://www.vanityfair.com/style/society/2014/10/jacqueline-kennedy-jfk-assassination-depression
    When Secretary of Defense Bob McNamara and his wife, Marg, sent over two painted portraits of J.F.K. and urged her to accept one as a gift, Jackie realized that though she especially admired the smaller of the pair, which showed her late husband in a seated position, she simply could not bear to keep it. In anticipation of returning both paintings, she propped them up just outside her bedroom door. One evening in December, young John emerged from Jackie’s room. Spotting a portrait of his father, he removed a lollipop from his mouth and kissed the image, saying, “Good night, Daddy.” Jackie related the episode to Marg McNamara by way of explanation as to why it would be impossible to have such a picture near. She said it brought to the surface too many things. Every time Billy Baldwin came from New York to check on the paint, curtains, and other details, it struck him that there were even more people lined up outside the new place, straining to look in the huge windows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Joni, you might find this amusing/weird, that the day JFK was shot, I had pink Ballerina wallpaper put up in my bedroom. Repeating pattern of Ballerinas in different poses. In the downstairs bath, flocked French Poodle purple wallpaper was installed. The wallpaper installer, upon hearing the news of JFK's death told my mom, "I'm glad. I hated him." We were all aghast, as we all loved JFK.

      Delete