Women: Jackie

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It was Inauguration night, 1957, and throughout Washington jubilant Republicans celebrated the second term of Dwight D. Eisenhower. But perhaps the gayest party of all was held by a group of Democrats. Deciding that the opposition should not be allowed to have all the fun, Mrs. Frances Lanahan, daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald, was hostess at an "Anti-Inaugural Ball" in her Georgetown home. Of those present, none seemed to be having a better time than the radiant young wife of the junior Senator from Massachusetts. Dressed in a simple, Empire-waisted white satin gown, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy laughed and danced into the early morning.

Jackie Kennedy might well recall that carefree night four years ago with a certain wistfulness, for she will probably never know another like it. After this week Jacqueline Kennedy will be First Lady of the Land. She will live as a cynosure. Her every public act will cause comment, her chance remarks will raise controversy, and the way she raises her children will bring criticism. Her clothes may arouse cheers from the ateliers of Paris—or anguished screams from the lofts of Seventh Avenue. Whether she wants to or not, she will influence taste and style. Hers will be a difficult, demanding and often thankless role, and no one knows it better than Jackie. "I feel as though I had just turned into a piece of public property," she said recently. "It's really frightening to lose your anonymity at 31." At that age, Jackie Kennedy will be one of the youngest First Ladies in U.S. history, and by every outward standard, she would seem perfectly suited to the part. Born to wealth and high social position, she has beauty, a swift intelligence and rarefied cultural interests. As Jack Kennedy's wife, she has lived for years in the public's gaze and should be well accustomed to the limelight. But in fact she shrinks from it. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's struggle to maintain her own separate and private identity has been lifelong. It marked her girlhood. It has marked her marriage. It is the key to her past—and to her future.

"Our Bridge." Jacqueline Bouvier's birth, on July 28, 1929 in Long Island's Southampton Hospital, was duly recorded in Manhattan society columns. Such notice was only proper: the Bouviers were rich, Republican, Catholic, socially impeccable, and in their own less boisterous fashion, fully as overwhelming as the Kennedys of Massachusetts. No fewer than 24 of Jackie's ancestors came over from France to fight in the American Revolution. All went back to France with Lafayette, but young Michel Bouvier, inspired by his cousin's tales of the new frontier, came to Philadelphia in 1814 and became a prosperous importer. The Bouviers have been prominent on the American side of the Atlantic ever since. Jackie's grandfather, John Vernou Bouvier Jr., was a spellbinding trial lawyer, an authority on George Washington, and a noted orator. At the dedication of the George Washington Bridge, he delivered a stirring address—and the Bouviers ever since have referred to the span as "our bridge."

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