Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Jackie Kennedy letters withdrawn from auction

By Tricia Escobedo, CNN
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1955 GMT (0355 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Personal letters from former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy withdrawn from auction
  • Report: The letters were to be sold by an Irish Catholic college
  • Report: The college is working with the Kennedy family to determine the letters' fate
  • Kennedy wrote of love and concerns about her husband, President John F. Kennedy

(CNN) -- Jacqueline Kennedy's personal and heartfelt letters to an Irish priest about her marriage, faith and the 1963 death of her husband will no longer be sold at auction, according to the Irish auction house in charge of the event.

"Sheppard's is in the process of returning the archive, and items related to the archive, which had been consigned to the auction, to the vendor," Sheppard's Irish Auction House announced this week on its website.

The trove of letters to the Rev. Joseph Leonard from a young Jacqueline Bouvier and later a married Jackie Kennedy offers a rare and revealing glimpse of the private thoughts of one of America's most admired first ladies.

They were put up for auction by All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland, which is run by the Catholic Church's Vincentian Fathers, according to the Catholic News Service.

Jackie Kennedy wrote letters to a priest over a 14-year period.
Jackie Kennedy wrote letters to a priest over a 14-year period.

The college did not say why it decided to withdraw the letters from auction, according to the Catholic News Service report, but it said it's working with the Kennedy family to determine their fate.

"Representatives of All Hallows College and the Vincentian Fathers are now exploring with members of Mrs. Kennedy's family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future," All Hallows College said in a statement provided to the news service.

In her letters, Jackie Kennedy -- who died in 1994 -- wrote of her feelings of love, her concerns about the flirtatious nature of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, and later, her struggle with faith after Kennedy's assassination in November 1963.

Secrets revealed in Jackie Kennedy letters
Secret confessions of Jackie Kennedy
Dallas ceremony marks JFK assassination
Running to protect JFK

She met Leonard on a trip to Ireland in 1950, and from that time until his death in 1964, she wrote him more than two dozen letters. She was 21 when her correspondence began with 73-year-old Leonard, and her letters to the priest showed the value she placed on their relationship.

The correspondence also revealed intimate details about her early relationship with the dashing young politician she would later marry.

"If he ever does ask me to marry him, it will be for rather practical reasons -- because his career is this driving thing with him," she wrote in one letter of her future husband's political ambitions.

A 1952 letter, written the year before the couple wed, showed her understanding of Kennedy's philandering ways, which continued in the White House.

"He's like my father in a way -- loves the chase and is bored with the conquest -- and once married needs proof he's still attractive, so flirts with other women and resents you," she wrote. "I saw how that nearly killed Mummy."

She also wondered about the glitzy life she lived, writing that "maybe I'm just dazzled and picture myself in a glittering world of crowned heads and Men of Destiny -- and not just a sad little housewife."

She added, "That world can be very glamorous from the outside -- but if you're in it -- and you're lonely -- it could be a Hell."

Read more: Details on the revealing letters

Read more: 50 years later, Jackie Kennedy's pink suit locked away from view

CNN's Tom Cohen and Becky Perlow contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
See images of 60 iconic moments of the 1960s. And experience "The Sixties" on CNN Thursday nights at 9 ET/PT.
If you lived in the '60s, would you be hanging at the soda shop? Or protesting injustice? Take this quiz about what you like today to find out who you'd be in the '60s.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2007 GMT (0407 HKT)
In the 1960s, there were three TV channels and not much to watch. Now that most people have hundreds of channels, has anything changed?
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
Step back in time to when the world was on the brink, and the Soviets became the enemy of choice in US movies and TV.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1944 GMT (0344 HKT)
Here's a dirty little secret about the civil rights movement...
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
From Jimi Hendrix to Merle Haggard, music shaped the way the world reacted to the events of the 1960s.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1947 GMT (0347 HKT)
The Vietnam War, especially U.S. involvement, escalated in the 1960s. Here are five things you might not know about the conflict.
The 1960s were a time of mop tops, tie-dyes, and a host of other fashion-worthy trends. We'd like to see what your family photos looked like.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1946 GMT (0346 HKT)
New civil rights museums, like the one in Atlanta, are all trying to reveal their stake in history while drawing a young, tech-savvy audience.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1053 GMT (1853 HKT)
The 60's were full of new shows with memorable theme songs. Can you guess these famous TV shows just from their music?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
Gidget, Emma Peel from "The Avengers," Samantha from "Bewitched": The women in '60s TV kicked ass and spurred changes, Sally Kohn writes.
How much do you really know about this pivotal decade? Take the quiz (no Internet searches!) and find out.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 0005 GMT (0805 HKT)
Episode 1 excerpt: It's hard to tell who had more belly laughs on "The Carol Burnett Show": the cast or audiences.
May 27, 2014 -- Updated 2304 GMT (0704 HKT)
Episode 1 excerpt: CBS loved Tom and Dick Smothers' folk satire until they said some topical humor went too far.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT)
It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was fatally gunned down in Dallas. Here are five interesting facts about JFK's assassination.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1955 GMT (0355 HKT)
Jacqueline Kennedy's personal letters to an Irish priest about her marriage, faith and the 1963 death of her husband will no longer be sold at auction.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Five surprising facts you need to know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
A preview of the new CNN Original Series, "The Sixties" which debuts Thursday night, May 29 at 9 ET/PT.
ADVERTISEMENT