Dearest Jackie

The Christmas lights are on at the New York Public Library and the grandeur of the location is a fitting showcase for a tribute to President Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The small collection of papers and letters includes a most poignant and personal message to Jackie from Arthur Schlesinger, a close confidant of the president. Just viewing the handwriting somehow provides an emotional connection to the time and experience. It was amazing to see the actual letter, and to have the opportunity to connect with history. Jackie loved this city, and for watching over all the treasures that the library holds, she left the lions in charge…

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14 Responses to Dearest Jackie

  1. Joy Stapleton says:

    I am coming to New York next year and have been adding your notes tomy list of ‘things to do.’
    I have added todays’s posting as a ‘definite’ hoping the display will still be there.

    • Thank you Joy – even if the display is not there, the public library is a magnificent place to visit. The architecture alone is worth the trip, but then there is wonderful history, like the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room where The Reader’s Digest was born. You may also be interested in the conversations that are part of There are free tours of the library Monday to Saturday at 11am and 2 pm or on Sundays at 2pm only….

  2. Annette Blake says:

    I am bringing a small tour group of women to New York next year, after hearing you one morning on ABC radio, I now love receiving your reports. Thank you, you have given me some wonderful new thing to recommend to my group.

  3. Margaret Rankin says:

    Thank you for hitting this perfect note to recall the most poignant memory and to be sure that the anniversary is marked. Not one November has passed without recall of so inspiring a President and Presidency, such shock and sadness, such grace and inspiration.
    As a 13 year old Australian girl, the news actually reached me on Saturday morning, the 23rd of November. As for so many, the moment is frozen in time and recaptured in full sensory detail. In March this year I visited the Kennedy Library in Boston to find that all my recollections still ring true and that JFK remains an inspirational leader – particularly through his oratory, an intelligent and well advised thinker, vital and handsome and photogenic. Mass communication through television enabled a new rare sharing across the globe, a new norm for my generation.
    Realizing that Jackie lost a baby and her husband within six months only adds to my (and the world’s) total commitment to her and to her memory. Time enlarges the awe with which I regard her grace and elegance at the time and until her death. Equally it’s a day to think of John jnr, Caroline and of Robert Kennedy.

    Thoughts are with Caoline today.

    • What a beautifully written email Margaret – thank you for your thought and time in writing. I also remember the day as a child and the shock of the news. More recently I attended a conversation at the NY Public Library where Oliver Stone talked about his film ‘JFK’ and the influence of the book by James Douglass ‘JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he died and why it matters’. This is an excellent read and I definitely recommend it for the insight it provides not only to JFK’s assassination but to American politics. As for Jackie, her spirit lives in Grand Central Station, a magnificent building still standing because of her intervention. The ceiling is full of stars.

  4. Jill C says:

    I am spending Christmas with good friends who also have family coming to visit from New York (husband and wife he is an expat she is a native New Yorker)- I want to introduce them to your blog. One day soon I want to visit the “Big Apple”- and I am loving how your blog makes it more accessible. Ps I was born in Old York- Uk so maybe that is the fascination- but I have always been drawn to this hub of culture- but yet to visit. It will be a shock to the system I am sure after living in rural Australia for just over a decade now.

  5. Aneta Williams says:


    I absolutely love your post. Occasionally when I am starting work at 5am and driving in to the airport I will be listening to Rod on the ABC and you will come on!! I travel to the US every year and this year was fortunate enough to visit New York for ten days. Keep up the wonderful writing as I can envisage everything you describe. Thanks again.

    Aneta Williams


  6. Sue Farbenblum says:

    After hearing you during one of my insomniac moments (hours) I too have become hooked to your blog. If I don’y hear it -I catch up on the net. I’m especially interested now as I’ll be there in less than one month.!!! and getting excited. We’ll incorporate what we can from your blog,, any specific suggestions for between Christmas and New Year considering the weather?

    • Great to hear you are on your way Sue. New York is so beautiful at Christmas time, it’s a pleasure just to walk around and take it all in. So long as you are warm you’ll have a good time. The way the weather is going I’d definitely be thinking about long-johns… even if you pick them up at Macys ( don’t forget to get your visitors pass on the mezzanine level so you don’t pay local tax on purchases… )

  7. Louise says:

    Dearest Gabrielle thank you for this beautiful post on your blog, it makes the anniversary all the more poignant! Keep up the excellent work – really enjoy hearing what is happening in NY!

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