"AND JUST THINK—I'M ALMOST 15—THAT IS PRETTY OLD—I HAVEN'T EVEN LIVED YET—I DON'T QUITE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS BUT IT SOUNDS EXCITING. IF I HAVEN'T LIVED BY THE TIME I AM 16 I WILL HAVE TO TAKE STEPS": EIGHT WONDERFUL AUTOGRAPH LETTERS FROM A TEENAGE JACKIE BOUVIER TO HER MATERNAL GRANDFATHER, JAMES T. LEE
(KENNEDY, Jacqueline) BOUVIER, Jacqueline Lee. Collection of Eight Autograph Letters Signed. McLean, VA; Newport, RI; Farmington, CT; Washington, D.C., October 1942 – November 1944. 33 pages on 12 sheets of stationary, variously folded. Also preserved in the envelopes are: a pressed dogwood blossom; a wrapped, unopened toothpick; and a fruit basket receipt. WITH: One Typed Letter from James T. Lee to Jackie Bouvier. New York, NY, November 5, 1943. Two pages on one leaf of white typing paper. $21,000.
Splendid collection of eight autograph letters from a teenage Jackie Bouvier to her maternal grandfather, James T. Lee, each in its original mailed envelope, sent from her boarding schools and the Auchincloss estates.
These letters reveal and preserve the voice of Jacqueline Lee Bouvier—the future royal First Lady, the grieving widow, the famous Jackie O—as a vibrant teen. The recipient of these missives, her maternal grandfather, James T. Lee, "was a prolific developer who built an unusual string of important New York City buildings, including 740 Park Avenue, which became [Jackie's] childhood home" (Bradford). Often described as a stern and severe man, he seems to have intimidated Jackie not at all. Her tone toward him throughout the correspondence is by turns playful, confiding, mischievous, admonishing, and effusive, but always genuinely loving.
From the letters:
"It's lovely & foggy here tonight and when I go out I feel just like Rebecca or Jane Eyre wandering through the mist to Rochester's house"
"Both white & pink dogwood are out & soon they will be gone. I put a piece of dogwood in this letter so you will [k]now what you're missing"
"I am so old—at least I will be in two weeks—14 is much older than 16 or anything I think"
"It took me all last summer & this June to be brave enough to even say hello to any one—but then I did and now everything is whizzing and I am having a whirl"
"There is a dance tomorrow night and I am going to wear one of Mummy's evening dresses. They are much more !*@!!X than my own"
"I'm going to be so many things when I grow up… I'll be the toast of the town & you can hang a big picture of me in the Chase Bank"
"Well goodbye. I wish I could think of wonderful ways to sign off but I can't so M'ecrivez bientot (does that mean soon?)"
Jackie was just shy of her thirteenth birthday when, in June of 1942, her mother had married Hugh D. Auchincloss II, "or Hughdie as he was always known, heir to a Standard Oil fortune and two magnificent houses, Merrywood in McLean, Virginia, and Hammersmith Farm at Newport, Rhode Island" (Bradford). From the letters it appears that Jackie adjusted well and quickly to her new expanded family—she gained an older and beloved stepbrother, Yusha, and two younger siblings, Nina and Tommy, from Hugh's first two marriages. Jackie attended the Holton-Arms School, then in Washington, D.C., from 1942 to 1944, and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1944 to 1947. James T. Lee (1877-1968) lived a quiet life in New York City where he left an enduring architectural legacy.
Fine condition. A significant and unique record of an American and international icon.