Jackie Kennedy: Inquiring Camera Girl

Jacqueline Bouvier, “Inquiring Camera Girl,” Times Herald (Washington, DC), June 4, 1953, page 23.

“Jackie Kennedy once took my mother’s photograph! Can you help me to find it?”

We frequently get this question, or a variation of it, in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room. Before she set foot into the White House as our First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier worked for the Washington Times Herald getting “man-on-street” views for the day’s pressing questions. Here are examples of the questions she asked:

“What is your candid opinion of marriage?” (Times Herald, June 4, 1953, p23.)

“Are beauty operators and barbers entitled to tips?” (Times Herald, June 10, 1953, p7.)

At a Library of Congress exhibit she asked, “Which picture here do you like best and why?” (Times Herald, March 13, 1952, p20.)

In her column for the Times Herald, “Inquiring Photografer,” later called “Inquiring Camera Girl,” Bouvier provided photographs of the people she spoke to next to their opinions.  She interviewed people about local events, current events, or questions related to every day life. She worked as the Inquiring Camera Girl from the fall of 1951 to June 1953, publishing the column almost daily. As one of her last assignments she was sent to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.  “Do you think Elizabeth will be England’s last queen?” she asked people in the crowd outside of Buckingham Palace (Times Herald, June 4, 1953, p4).

At the Capitol on one of her assignments in April 1953, she even interviewed the young John F. Kennedy, then a Senator from Massachusetts. They had already met the year before at a dinner party. Only a few months later, after ending her column with the Times Herald, Bouvier and Kennedy married on September 12, 1953.

Jacqueline Bouvier, “Inquiring Camera Girl,” Times Herald (Washington, DC), April 21, 1953, page 24.

As of yet, the Times Herald has not been digitized, so you’ll have to look through the microfilm to find these juicy questions and their answers. With a little investigative digging though, it can be worth it to catch this moment in time, especially if you know someone who once had their photograph taken by the young woman who became one of our most iconic First Ladies.

Did you have your picture taken by Jackie Kennedy? Do you know someone who did? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Additional Resources:

Today in History – July 28: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

First Ladies: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy

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