Kennedy's Children

Jack and Jackie had three children together. Caroline Bouvier Kennedy was born on November 27, 1957, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was born on November 25, 1960, and their last child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, was born on August 7, 1963. Patrick was born five weeks premature at the Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. His small frame weighed only four pounds, ten ounces. As was common for premature babies, Patrick was born with respiratory distress syndrome. His condition was untreatable, and he died on August 9, 1963.

President Kennedy and his family.

Photo credit: Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

President Kennedy and his family, Hyannis Port.

Photo credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Caroline Kennedy

When Kennedy died, Caroline had just turned six years old. There is one timeless image of Caroline playing in her father's office at the White House while he looks on that has become one of the most memorable shots of her. While there were numerous other pictures taken at the White House, for the most part, she has shied away from the kind of publicity that being a Kennedy has typically brought.

President Kennedy and daughter Caroline aboard the “Honey Fitz” off Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston


“I have been presented with this donkey by two young ladies down there for my daughter. My daughter has the greatest collection of donkeys. She doesn't even know what an elephant looks like. We are going to protect her from that knowledge.”

Caroline, however, did not immediately retreat from publicity or politics. Upon the urging of Ted Kennedy, she got a taste of the political system when she worked as an intern in his Senate office. But Caroline preferred a less public position. After graduating from Harvard University, she began her career working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. During this time, she met her future husband Edwin Schlossberg. After years of dating, they married while she was attending Columbia Law School. She graduated in 1988, and gave birth to their first child shortly thereafter. Two other children followed.

In 1989, Caroline was instrumental in the creation of the Profiles in Courage Award, given annually to public officials who fit the definition of courage in John F. Kennedy's book of the same name. She edited Profiles in Courage for Our Time, a collection of fifteen essays on modern politicians, and coauthored the 1991 book, In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action.

Over the years, Caroline has increasingly stepped out into the public eye. She became a board member for the Citizens Committee for New York City in 1997 and became the president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. One year later, she became active in a Washington campaign against an initiative that threatened to end affirmative action in that state. More recently, from 2002 to 2004, she took on the role of chief executive for the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. Caroline now serves as the director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Director of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

John F. Kennedy Jr.

One of the most famous photos of John F. Kennedy Jr. was taken on his third birthday as he saluted the carriage carrying his father's casket. The American public adored him and anticipated that John Jr. might inspire the nation and carry on his father's legacy. But Jackie wanted her children to grow up as normally as possible and limited the media's access to them while they were young.

President Kennedy and his son, John F. Kennedy Jr., at the White House.

Photo credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Although many Americans knew what they wanted John to do, John himself had other plans after he graduated from Brown University in 1983. He helped the poor in India and tried theater. He then entered New York University Law School and graduated in 1989. It took three attempts for him to pass the New York state bar, and the press scrutinized his failures. Meanwhile, John worked for the Manhattan district attorney's office. In 1993, he became dissatisfied with practicing law and resigned from his position. In 1995, he launched the magazine George. With this new venture he had the opportunity to interview both politicians and notable public figures.

All the while, he was heralded as one of America's most eligible bachelors. In 1988, People magazine named him the “sexist man alive.” His bachelor status ended when he married Carolyn Bessette in 1996. The union resulted in intense press coverage for the young couple. Bessette was irritated by the scrutiny, but the press ignored John's appeals for privacy. Her comings and goings and a well-publicized fight between the couple in New York's Central Park received notable coverage.

On July 16, 1999, John, Carolyn, and Carolyn's sister were reported missing after their plane disappeared en route to Hyannis Port. Their bodies were later discovered submerged in the waters along the Massachusetts coast.

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