Caroline Kennedy on Mother Jackie Kennedy's White House Restoration
From her grace and eloquence to her style and beauty secrets, there are many reasons we Southerners adore Jackie Kennedy. As First Lady, she accomplished much for our country, not least of which is her meticulous White House Restoration, as she re-imagined 1600 Pennsylvania Ave , showcased the importance of historic preservation, and captivated the American public with her mission (especially through a 1962 guided, televised tour of the President's residence on CBS).
Now, her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, has shed new light on just how meaningful that project was to her much-beloved mother. In the foreword to the upcoming book Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration and Its Legacy (out July 28), Caroline explained that this massive undertaking "involved congressional oversight and interagency debate" and helped propel the fields of academic research and studies in American art.
"She was gratified that her TV tour stimulated new interest in our cultural heritage, and she wanted all Americans to take pride in our history and to make it possible for visitors to take home a souvenir of their visit," wrote Caroline in the foreword. "My mother believed that living in the White House was the greatest privilege one could have and worked hard to be worthy of the honor," she later noted.
She certainly practiced what she preached, and preached this message as much as she could. Per the website of the John F. Kennedy's Presidential Library and Museum, Jackie Kennedy Onassis said in a Life magazine interview (she worked with the publication to promote the White House renovation) with Hugh Sidey published in the September 1961 issue, "Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to redecorate it—a word I hate. It must be restored, and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship." Jackie was also instrumental in hiring a permanent curator in the White House to help manage 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's growing collection of art and collectibles.
When Designing Camelot comes out next month, we're certainly looking forward to diving more into this fascinating topic and seeing photos of this famed renovation. Chandelier dreams, here we come.