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Monday, June 26, 2017

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ Childhood Home Merrywood

The childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was recently listed for sale by Sotherby’s.

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This brick and limestone Georgian gem was originally built in 1919. The estate is located just northwest of Washington D.C. and just a few miles away from George Washington's “Mount Vernon”.

The home is 23,000 square feet and includes 9 bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms and both an indoor and outdoor pool.

The original estate, with it’s 46 acres, was purchased in the mid 1930's by Hugh D. Auchincloss II, heir of Standard Oil, and the step-father of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Janet Norton Lee Bouvier divorced Jackie’s father, John Vernou Bouvier III (shown below), in 1940 and married Auchincloss in 1942 when Jackie was thirteen.

Jackie spent many of her teen years swimming, horseback riding and playing tennis on the Merrywood estate grounds.

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The blended family was shown at Merrywood in 1945. On the top row are Jackie and her step brother Hugh “Yusha” D Auchincloss III, whom Jackie would remain close to all of her life.  Step sister Nina Auchincloss and Caroline “Lee” Bouvier, on the right, are in the second row. In the front row Jackie’s mother, Janet, is shown holding baby half- sister, Janet Auchincloss, who is next to step-brother Tommy Auchincloss and Jackie’s stepfather Hugh D Auchincloss Jr. 

A half brother, James “Jamie” Lee Auchincloss  would join the family in 1947. The children posed for a picture on Christmas Day at Merrywood a few years later. Shown left to right, Lee, Jackie, Janet, Nina, Yusha, Jamie and Tommy.

It would be Jackie’s stepfather who would help her secure a job at the Washington Times-Herald. Her position of "Inquiring Camera Girl"and similar social circles found her attending a dinner party in May of 1952 hosted by journalist Charles Leffingwell Bartlett. It was here that she would meet John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy.

Bouvier and Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953 in Rhode Island. Her step father walked her down the aisle.

When a young Jackie Bouvier married future-president John F Kennedy in 1953, her step-father Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr walked her down the aisle

The lavish reception for 1,200 people was held at her stepfather’s estate at Hammersmith Farm in Newport.

Both Merrywood and Hammersmith Farm estates would serve as fundraising headquarters for Kennedy's campaign for President. 

Society teas and political fundraising luncheons were held at Merrywood.

In addition, John Kennedy, joined by his young family, would recover from two back operations and write portions of his Pulitzer prize winning book “Profile of Courage” at Merrywood.

Author Gore Vidal also spent time at Merrywood.

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Hugh Auchincloss’s second wife, Nina Gore, was Gore Vidal’s mother. I know it gets a bit confusing so here is a chart to assist with the family tree.

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Merrywood inspired parts of Gore’s novel “Washington, D.C.”.

Vidal also joined the inner Kennedy circle thru his once removed link to Jackie.

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Then of course came the sad end of Camelot and its various courts. Due to ever increasing financial costs Merrywood was sold to Wyatt and Nan Dickerson in 1964. Mrs. Dickerson was the first female member of the Washington TV news corps.

Their son, John, is shown in front of the home.

The estate was most recently purchased by AOL founder Steve Case.

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Case is asking a staggering $49.5 million for the home and 7 acre grounds.

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The home has all of its original moldings still intact.

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The most recent interior designs were completed by famed master Barry Dixon.

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The lovely gardens are influenced by the 19th- and 20th-century landscape architect Beatrix Ferrand.

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The backyard overlooks the banks of the Potomac River.

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There is also a video of the property featuring several rooms, not shown above, to include the wonderful kitchen.

Happy historical house dreaming,

Laura

7 comments :

GSGreatEscaper said...

Laura, DD is currently writing a paper on the K family house on Cape Cod and its future as a museum and possible programs so I sent her this, perhaps it will spark some ideas for her. Thanks a bunch. Wish I could afford Merrywood, love the beautiful interiors!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh wow, what an impressive estate. I love it.

Jeanie said...

Fun and fascinating post, Laura. O
I've always been interested in the Kennedy history, particularly Jacqueline's family. But I didn't realize this was also the Dickerson home! (John Dickerson is one of my favorite journalists and I remember his mother as a pioneer in women journalists on television!)

It looks beautiful, then and I now, and I really appreciate both the vintage photos as well as the family tree chart!

Jane said...

I always enjoy your "historical" posts so much! You always feature so much interesting information along with all the wonderful photos. I was just a tad too young to vote for JFK but would have if I could have! Thank you for sharing that fascinating chart too! Ah, Camelot!

Sarah said...

Beautiful home with an interesting history. Thanks for sharing.

Blondie's Journal said...

I was in a trance reading this, Laura. I've always had an interest in Jackie Kennedy, and had no idea she grew up in such splendor. What a lovely home!

Jane x

Bonnie said...

Laura, this was so interesting. I learned so much. You review the rich and famous so well. I always share your posts with my daughter and she enjoys them also.
Thanks for the research you do. Lovely home and gardens.