Caroline Kennedy biography
Born in New York City on November 27, 1957, Caroline Kennedy is the only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She spent her early years living in the White House during her father's term as president, and is known for being the most private member of the famous Kennedy family. A lawyer and author, Caroline has co-written and edited several books. In July 2013, she was nominated U.S. ambassador to Japan by President Barack Obama.
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy was born on November 27, 1957, in New York City, to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and John F. Kennedy. Caroline spent her early years living in the White House during her father's term as president. His time in office is often referred to as the "Camelot Presidency" for the hope and optimism the young politician brought to America. As a result, the Kennedys were thrust into the spotlight as the ideal American family. Caroline was a frequent media darling; people couldn't get enough of the little girl who walked her father to the Oval Office each morning, and rode her pony on the White House lawn.
Not everything in the Kennedy household was idyllic, however, and the family suffered numerous tragedies. Among them was the loss of Caroline's eldest sister, who was stillborn 15 months before Caroline was born. Three years later, on August 7, 1963, her youngest brother, Patrick, was born prematurely. He died two days later from lung failure. But chief among the young Caroline's early losses came on November 22, 1963, when her father was assassinated by sniper fire. Caroline was not yet six years old at the time.
Kennedy grew extremely close to her younger brother John, Jr. during her youth. Together, they endured a series of family tragedies, later dubbed "The Kennedy Curse." Among them were the assassination of their uncle and U.S. Senator, Robert F. Kennedy, and the death of a former campaign worker during a car accident involving their other uncle, U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Ted survived, but the incident became a national scandal.
In 1968, Caroline's mother, Jacqueline, made headlines when she married Greek Shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis. The Kennedy family moved to New York City to be with their stepfather, and Jacqueline began working as an editor for Viking Press. Caroline's mother tried hard to shield her children from the public eye, often keeping them away from their rebellious, scandal-making cousins.
Growing Up in the Spotlight
As a result of their mother's raising, Caroline and her brother strayed away from drugs and alcohol, instead becoming conscientious students. Caroline performed well in New York private school, and went on to attend Radcliffe College (now part of Harvard) for her undergraduate studies. In addition to her courseload, the young Kennedy interned for the New York Daily News and worked in the summers as a political intern for her uncle, Ted Kennedy.
After earning her bachelor's degree in 1979, Caroline worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she met her future husband, an interactive-media designer named Edwin Schlossberg.
She also began serving as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support, staffing and creative resources to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
On July 19, 1986, Caroline Kennedy married 41-year-old Schlossberg in an elaborate Cape Cod, Massachusetts wedding. Despite the family's efforts to avoid publicity, the wedding became a topic of wide interest in the media. A crowd of more than 2,000 spectators surrounded the church and a nearby hillside. Many perched in trees in an attempt to view the nuptials. When they heard applause from inside the church, the crowd outside also applauded.
Interested in politics, but not the limelight, Caroline quietly entered Columbia Law School. She graduated with little fanfare in 1988, during a private pre-commencement ceremony along with 380 other students. That same year, she gave birth to her first child, Rose. In 1989, the young lawyer stayed busy by establishing the Profile in Courage Awards, which honors elected officials who have shown political courage, and beginning research on her first book.
Fascinated with constitutional law, Caroline co-wrote In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action with fellow law graduate Ellen Alderman. She refused to use her mother's publishing industry contacts, instead publishing the book through William Morrow & Co. in February 1991. She also surprised Washington officials and stumped the media the next year, when she turned down an offer to be chairwoman of the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Instead, the private Kennedy invested time in her family and personal projects.
More Family Tragedy
In 1994, Caroline's mother passed away after a long battle with lymphatic cancer. As a tribute to her mother's work in the arts, Caroline took on Jacqueline's role as the honorary chairperson at the American Ballet Theatre. In addition to her charitable work, Caroline co-wrote another book entitled The Right to Privacy (1995). She also took up her role as the guardian of the Kennedy name, spending several difficult months trying to settle her mother's $200 million estate while under heavy public scrutiny.
In 1998, Caroline and her brother went public in an auction dispute against Evelyn Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy's former secretary, who attempted to sell "intensely personal" pieces of memorabilia that belonged to their father.
On July 16, 1999, Caroline endured more hardship when her only sibling, brother John F. Kennedy Jr., was killed along with his wife and sister-in-law, when the plane he was piloting crashed in the ocean near Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. While the tragedy's effect on Caroline was kept very private, the only remaining heir to the Kennedy legacy quickly took up the family mantle. In 2000, she finally agreed to become a speaker at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Work and Politics
She also kept writing. To honor her late mother, Caroline Kennedy helped create The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, published in 2001. She has also served as editor for two other anthologies: Profiles in Courage for Our Time (2002) and A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems and Speeches Every American Should Know (2003). She published A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children in 2005, and her latest work, A Family Christmas, in 2007.
Caroline Kennedy serves as a member of the national board of directors for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, vice chair for the Fund for Public Schools in New York City, and chief executive for the New York City Department of Education Office of Strategic Partnerships.
In 2008, the normally very private Caroline Kennedy made headlines when she was rumored as a possible candidate for Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat. Caroline later withdrew her bid for the post, citing personal reasons.
Japan's U.S. Ambassador
On July 24, 2013, Caroline was nominated U.S. ambassador to Japan by President Barack Obama, putting to rest much speculation in the media regarding her likelihood to win the title. She was officially approved by the U.S. Senate in October. Caroline succeeded John Roos, who has served as Japan's U.S. ambassador since August 2009. Among those to formerly hold the role are Walter Mondale, Howard Baker and Tom Foley.
In an interview with The New York Times, Kurt M. Campbell, who formerly served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, discussed his confidence in Caroline fulfilling her anticipated role: "For those who say she doesn't know a lot about Japan, I say 'sure,' but neither did Walter Mondale," he said, adding, "What you really want in an ambassador is someone who can get the president of the United States on the phone. I can't think of anybody in the United States who could do that more quickly than Caroline Kennedy."
Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg have three children: Rose, Tatiana and Jack. They currently reside in New York City.