Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 78 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Carl Bon Tempo

Committee Members

Richard F Hamm


1960 Election, Fashion, Glamor, Presidents' spouses

Subject Categories

United States History


When John Fitzgerald Kennedy began his long-shot quest for the presidency, he and his advisors feared his wife was a political liability and would alienate American voters with her aristocratic bearing and tastes. Not only did the Sorbonne-educated Jacqueline Kennedy cultivate a sophisticated style and dress in the slim sheaths and tight slacks favored by Parisian couturiers, she spoke in a cultured, whispery voice and was fluent in several languages. She exuded glamor. To an America used to its First Ladies looking and dressing like Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower, Mrs. Kennedy was an anomaly. In this analysis, I trace Mrs. Kennedy's evolution from a political liability to a political secret weapon. By focusing on three foreign trips, to Ottawa, Paris, and to several cities in India and Pakistan, I document the changing lens through which she was viewed by the press abroad, by the press at home, by her husband's political advisers, and - most importantly to her - by her husband himself. By being true to her inner muse, Mrs. Kennedy became an international star and a major political asset to the New Frontier.