"I want to live my life, not record it": Jacqueline Kennedy Signed White House Print

  • Jacqueline Kennedy Signed White House Print.

Jacqueline Kennedy Signed White House Print.


Item Number: 28045


White House photographic print taken in 1961 by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton. Boldly signed by Jacqueline Kennedy at the lower left. Stoughton took multiple photos in front of the White House fountains on the South Lawn when developing the 1961 Christmas Print. The final Christmas print, which showed more ducks positioned closer to the photographer, is derived from a different photograph taken moments before or after this mock-up. Here, the ducks are positioned on the far side of the pool and the camera was positioned at a slightly different angle than that used for the final Christmas Print. Matted and framed with a full length printed portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy after a painting. The entire piece measures 20.5 inches by 31 inches. Rare and desirable.

When John F. Kennedy was sworn in as president on January 20, 1961, 31-year-old Jacqueline Kennedy became the third youngest First Lady in American history. As a presidential couple, the Kennedys differed from the Eisenhowers by their relative youth and their relationship with the media. Historian Gil Troy has noted that in particular, they "emphasized vague appearances rather than specific accomplishments or passionate commitments" and therefore fit in well in the early 1960s' "cool, TV-oriented culture". The discussion on Kennedy's fashion choices continued during her years in the White House, and she became a trendsetter, hiring American designer Oleg Cassini to design her wardrobe. She was the first First Lady to hire a press secretary, Pamela Turnure, and carefully managed her contact with the media, usually shying away from making public statements, and strictly controlling the extent to which her children were photographed. Portrayed by the media as the ideal woman, academic Maurine Beasley has stated that Kennedy "created an unrealistic media expectation for first ladies that would challenge her successors." Nevertheless, by attracting worldwide positive public attention, the First Lady gained allies for the White House and international support for the Kennedy administration and its Cold War policies. Although Kennedy stated that her priority as a First Lady was to take care of the President and their children, she also dedicated her time to the promotion of American arts and preservation of its history. Her main contribution was the restoration of the White House, but she also furthered the cause by hosting social events that brought together elite figures from politics and the arts. One of her unrealized goals was to found a Department of the Arts, but she did contribute to the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities, established during Johnson's tenure.

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