This would be the final private residence the couple would share together
In January 1958, John F. Kennedy and his family moved to a home at 3307 P Street in Georgetown, DC. John and Jackie lived here during the 1960 presidential campaign. It was a Federal-style rowhouse. Here Caroline was a little girl, and while here Jackie gave birth to John Jr. It’s here...
In January 1958, John F. Kennedy and his family moved to a home at 3307 P Street in Georgetown, DC. John and Jackie lived here during the 1960 presidential campaign. It was a Federal-style rowhouse. Here Caroline was a little girl, and while here Jackie gave birth to John Jr. It’s here that the President-elect held many press conferences on the front steps. And it’s the house from which the couple departed on a snowy morning in January 1961 to go to the inauguration and then move into the White House. Thus this would be their final private residence.
In late 1957, Jackie, then in NY, was actively involved in preparing for the move, which would happen in early 1958. This letter attests to her involvement, attention to detail, and active interest in the appearance of the location, a set of skills she would famously bring to the White House.
Autograph letter signed, 5 pages, New York City, November 3, 1957, to Mr. Wohlgemuth. “Thank you for your letter of October 31.
“A) You may go ahead with everything in your letter of Oct. 3. It comes to $4,550. But the price for window repairs seems high. Are these repairs really necessary? Also please give me a price on replacing the treads on back stairs with non-slip treads.
“B) You may also go ahead with outside painting [crossed out]. But your estimate of $1,250 seems high for outside painting. I got an estimate for doing the outside of Hickory Hill in McLean and it was only $600. You had better telephone me when you receive this letter about the items I question as being too high before you start. Also I want the shutters BLACK.
“C) Also please repair front sill for $145.
“D) I am returning your letter of October 31st. I have crossed out the items I definitely do not wish you to do.
The others you may go ahead with – except where I have put question marks. You can write me about these before you do anything on them – or phone me. They are as follows.
“First floor drawing room: Install new wood mantels or marble mantels. Price will depend upon selection. I can get 2 wood mantels in New York made to the exact dimensions of present ones. Or I can get 2 marble ones whose measures are [here she lists mantel dimensions in detail]. What is the different in price between installing the wood or marble set? Do not include the cost of the mantels, as I must buy them independently through my dealer here.
“Dining room: I only want 2 light fixtures. So your price of $115 should be $38 less – shouldn’t it? Therefore $77.
“Second floor – rear bedroom: Why is it so expensive – $85 – to cover the radiator? I just want an ordinary grill – How much is the cheapest grill you can get?”
The letter continues in the same fashion, detailing the fixtures, and other repairs and additions to the new home, covering: the front bath, closet and entrance to front room, third floor bath, interior painting and papering. She also questions the pricing , such as saying “Surely shoe racks do not make it $450.”
She ends the letter: “Mr. Kennedy will simply not let me spend that much – as there is also redecorating to do. I have such confidence in your work that I would like you to do the whole job. So I ask you please to trim your estimates – especially painting – as much as possible. Otherwise I will have to get another painter in and that will complicate things. Please let me hear from you the minute you get this letter – & please start on the items mentioned in your October 3 letter immediately – also the ones in your October 31st letter which I have not questioned.”
“I wish to move in December 26, Will this be possible? If not, how soon may I expect to be in? It is really imperative I move in December 26 so you may just have to work around me and my family!!” She then gives not only the Kennedys address in New York but their telephone number also.
A wonderful letter in which we see the greatest decorator of the White House in history in training with her previous residence.
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