By looking at her years as an editor at Viking and Doubleday, where she worked on nearly a hundred books, we discover how those books were intimately connected with her own life story. They were the autobiography she never wrote. She showed her interests, passions and the way she saw the world in the books she selected for publication.
The book also tells stories of Jackie's adventures in the publishing world with the likes of Carly Simon, Michael Jackson, Bill Moyers, Richard Gere, Martha Graham, Judith Jamison and many more.
Jackie first met French photojournalist Marc Riboud in Paris when she was still married to Onassis. They later became friends and Jackie commissioned Riboud's book, CAPITAL OF HEAVEN (1990), containing his photos of a Chinese mountain often visited by lovers and newlyweds. She met Riboud once while he was working in China and was so enchanted at not being recognized there, that she agreed to have their photo taken together at a Chinese photo studio that specialized in wedding pictures. When Riboud met Jackie again at a party in her New York apartment, he teased her by saying, "I have the picture of your wedding with me. Voila!"
Toni Frissell--Sidney Frissell Stafford
Jackie went to the Library of Congress in Washington to select photographs for a book of Toni Frissell's photography to be published in 1994. Here she is pictured going through the boxes with the curator of photography, Beverly Brannon (left), and Frissell's daughter, Sidney Frissell Stafford (right). Frissell, like Jackie herself, was a debutante who longed to break out of her High Society straitjacket. She got her chance when she went to Europe during the Second World War. She photographed children displaced by bomb damage and did pioneering pictures of African American pilots. Frissell also photographed Jackie's Newport wedding to JFK in 1953. Everyone who went to the Library of Congress remembered the awkwardness of asking Jackie whether they shouldn't include a picture from her wedding in the book. In the end, Sidney Frissell Stafford remembered Jackie saying, "'Of course we have to use one of the wedding pictures from my motherís house. Letís use that one.' It wasnít one of the more glamorous pictures of her. Her choice surprised me."
Ron Frehm/Associated Press
Jackie attended the launch party for Edvard Radzinsky's THE LAST TSAR at the Russian Tea Room in 1992. Radzinsky believed that Jackie chose to publish his book on the murder of Tsar Nicholas the II and his family because "it was about a cruel assassination" and she identified with his treatment of the topic. Others who worked on the book were not so sure. Nevertheless, it was one of her bestsellers and she was proud of the book. Here she looks vaguely distressed by one of Radzinsky's elaborate stories.
Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.
Jackie did six books with Tiffany's design director John Loring. They included Tiffany table settings, a history of Tiffany design, a guide to staging a wedding, and a gourmet cookbook. Nancy Tuckerman remembers, "She liked him, she really did." Loring attended a dinner at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. When Jackie saw Loring she crossed the floor saying "There's my friend!"
Jerry Jacka Photography
Jackie found one of her authors from among JFK's former cabinet members. Stewart Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson before he retired to Arizona. There he wrote a book with photographer Jerry Jacka on the legacy of Spanish explorers in the American Southwest, TO THE INLAND EMPIRE (1987). Udall and Jacka took Jackie and her friend Maurice Tempelsman on a hiking trip through Arizona and New Mexico along a trail that had first been explored by Coronado in the sixteenth century. Here Udall pours Jackie a plastic cup of wine on a picnic to celebrate their having forded the Black River.
Jackie and Carly Simon collaborated on four books for children. Here they posed for a photograph by Carly Simon's brother Peter at a launch party in a bookshop on Martha's Vineyard. Carly Simon remembers once going to a movie with Jackie on a summer afternoon in Vineyard Haven. A little boy, prompted by his mother, ran up to ask for her autograph. After she gave it to him, and the boy showed his mother, she sent him back saying he should also ask the president's wife for her signature. He obediently ran back to Jackie and said, "Oh Mrs Washington, may I have your autograph too?"