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1953

Jacqueline Bouvier and Senator John F. Kennedy announce engagement

On this day in 1953, Jacqueline Bouvier and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy publicly announce their engagement. Kennedy went on to become the 35th president and Jackie, as she was known, became one of the most popular first ladies ever to grace the White House.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy was born into a prominent New York family in 1929. She grew up an avid horsewoman and reader. In 1951, after graduating from George Washington University, Jackie toured Europe with her sister. That fall, she returned to the U.S. to begin her first job as the Washington Times-Herald‘s “Inquiring Camera Girl.” Her assignment was to roam the streets of Washington, D.C., ask strangers man-on-the-street questions and then snap their picture for publication. Shortly afterward, at a dinner party in Georgetown, she met a young, handsome senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy. The two dated over the next two years, during which time Jackie mused to a friend that she might actually marry a man who was allergic to horses, something she never before would have considered. In May 1953, Kennedy proposed, giving Jackie a 2.88-carat diamond-and-emerald ring from Van Cleef and Arpels.

The couple married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island. Twelve hundred people attended the wedding reception at Hammersmith Farm. The Kennedys then settled in Washington, D.C., where Kennedy continued to pursue his political career. Seven years later, he beat out Richard M. Nixon for the presidency.

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