Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Quotes

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994)

Jacqueline Kennedy at a picnic in the 1960s
Jacqueline Kennedy at a picnic in the 1960s (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images).

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (full name Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and often called Jackie Kennedy when she was First Lady) brought a youthful elegance to the White House during her tenure there. Briefly a photographer before her marriage to John F. Kennedy, and an editor after she was widowed for the second time when Aristotle Onassis died, she was mother to John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Caroline Kennedy (Schlossberg).

Onassis was born in 1929 to the wealthy Bouvier family. She studied French literature at George Washington University before starting her photography career. Like many women, she left her career behind to marry her first husband, John F. Kennedy, and became one of the most iconic First Ladies during his presidency. She remarried in 1968, five years after Kennedy's assassination, and remained married to shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis until his 1975 death.

After her second husband's death, she returned to her professional career, becoming a book editor, first at Viking Press, then at Doubleday. She also advocated for historic preservation and was lightly involved in Democratic politics in her later years. Throughout her life, she was looked upon as a style icon, and still is to this day. In 1994, she died aged 64 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Quotes About Marriage and Family

• If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much.

• There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.

• I'll be a wife and mother first, then First Lady.

• What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren't supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown - watch the raindrops coming down the window pane?

• The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse.

• Can anyone understand how it is to have lived in the White House and then, suddenly, to be living alone as the President's widow? (1974, in McCall's)

• Now, I think that I should have known that [Kennedy] was magic all along. I did know it - but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.

• I don't think there are any men who are faithful to their wives.

• The first time you marry for love, the second for money, and the third for companionship.

• I think the best thing I can do is to be a distraction. A husband lives and breathes his work all day long. If he comes home to more table thumping, how can the poor man ever relax?

Quotes About Career

• An Editor becomes kind of your mother. You expect love and encouragement from an Editor. (while Editor at Doubleday)

• Being a reporter seems a ticket out to the world.

• When Harvard men say they have graduated from Radcliffe, then we've made it.

• I always wanted to be some kind of writer or newspaper reporter. But after college... I did other things.

Quotes About Life

• Even though people may be well known, they hold in their hearts the emotions of a simple person for the moments that are the most important of those we know on earth: birth, marriage and death.

• I want to live my life, not record it.

• There are two kinds of women: those who want power in the world, and those who want power in bed.

• Being away from home gave me the chance to look at myself with a jaundiced eye. I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide, and I came home glad to start in here again with a love for Europe that I am afraid will never leave me.