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THE JACKIE INTERVIEWS
 
 
 

2 Louis Auchincloss, novelist, biographer, chronicler of the rich in New York, part I of II

 

Louis Auchincloss was the author of novels, biographies, essays, and works of history.  He wrote sixty books.  His most famous works were novels that described the world he knew best.  He grew up among WASP families whose members went to private schools and lived in privileged enclaves on the Upper East Side of New York.  His hero was Edith Wharton.  He was distantly related to the second husband of Jackie's mother, Janet.  He died in 2010.  I talked to him twice when I was writing READING JACKIE, once by telephone and once in his apartment on Park Avenue.  He was funny, camp, and sharp.  It might have been my imagination, but I thought he was flirting with me.  He was enormously indiscreet.  He used a racist epithet to describe Jackie's father, Jack Bouvier.  He was dismissive of Lee Radziwill's intelligence.  He admitted to being hurt when Jackie had failed to inivite him to Washington when she was in the White House.  When she came to New York, the two of them worked on several books together.  None of them are pathbreaking or important books, but her collaboration with him suggests to me that she was just as interested in questions of class, money, and rank as he was.  (And frankly, so am I.) 

 

This is his obituary in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

 

Part I is the transcript of a telephone call.  Part II is a prose description of an interview in his apartment several months later.

 

 
 
Louis Auchincloss Talks about Jackie Onassis
Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation
19 Nov 2008
 
 
I wrote Louis Auchincloss in the fall of 2008 to ask to speak to him about his work with Jackie Onassis on four books for Doubleday.  He telephoned me and we had a preliminary conversation before we met in New York. This Part I is an edited transcript of that telephone conversation that took place before my meeting with him described in Part II.

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1 Joe Armstrong, magazine publisher

 

First Interview:  Joe Armstrong
 
Joe Armstrong grew up in Texas where he did a law degree before entering the media world on the east coast.  He was a magazine publisher in the later part of the twentieth century.  He worked on such titles as ROLLING STONE, NEW YORK and SAVEUR.  Joe Hagan's recent biography of ROLLING STONE'S founder, Jann Wenner, STICKY FINGERS, names Armstrong as one of the transformational forces in ROLLING STONE'S business history.  Armstrong and Wenner went separate ways after the magazine moved from San Francisco to New York. He now sits on the advisory board of the Ransom Center at the University of Texas.  He also contributes to a broad variety of philanthropic causes.  His bio at the Ransom Center is here: Joe Armstrong
 
 
Meeting with Joe Armstrong
P. J. Clarke's, New York
Monday, March 21st, 2011
 
In the spring of 2010 Joe Armstrong mentioned to Nan Talese, my editor at Doubleday, that he was surprised and upset I hadn't interviewed him yet for READING JACKIE.  He was one of only a handful who approached me first and asked to be included in the book.  He also told Nan about some papers that had just become available relevant to Jackie at the Ransom Center of the University of Texas.  She passed all this on to me.  Though I did follow up on the manuscripts, I explained to Joe that it was a combination of diffidence and haste that prevented my interviewing him before the hardback of READING JACKIE came out in December 2010.  We kept in touch and I said I would still like to talk to him, as there was the possibility that Doubleday would allow me to add some new material for the paperback edition.
 
We met at the bar of P. J. Clarke's.  He'd just been to a dentist's appointment nearby.

 

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