Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy (1957—)
Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy (1957—)
American lawyer, author, and first daughter. Name variations: Caroline Kennedy. Born Caroline Bouvier Kennedy on November 27, 1957, in New York City; only daughter of John F. Kennedy (1917–1963, president of the United States) and Jacqueline (Bouvier) Kennedy (1929–1994); sister of John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960–1999); graduated from Concord Academy, near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1975; graduated from Radcliffe College, Boston, in 1960; awarded law degree from Columbia University Law School, 1988; married Edwin Schlossberg (an author and interactive media designer), on June 19, 1986: children: Rose Schlossberg (b. 1988); Tatiana Schlossberg (b. 1990); John Schlossberg (b. 1992).
"She lives her life reflecting her father's best ideals and her mother's way of honoring those ideals," writes Donald Spoto of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy , and a member of America's most powerful and prominent political family. While her brother John F. Kennedy, Jr., assumed a more public role, Caroline judiciously protected her anonymity, working quietly behind the scenes on a variety of civic, social, and cultural projects, and choosing carefully each encounter with the media. "She is first and foremost a wife and mother," says Paul Kirk, Jr., chair of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and a family friend. "That's a key priority for her. She saw how important it was to her as a child."
Born in New York City in November 1957, Caroline Kennedy was raised out of the public eye by her mother following the assassination of her father in 1963 when she was five. She was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York, and the Concord Academy, near Boston. While at Concord, she spent her summers attempting to broaden her horizons. At 15, she lived among the coal miners of East Tennessee for six weeks, photographing and interviewers their families. Other summers, she traveled to Hong Kong and worked for NBC, producing documentaries on Sweden and the Middle East. Following her graduation from Concord, she studied art appreciation in London for a year before entering Radcliffe College, Harvard. She also worked as an intern in her uncle Ted Kennedy's Senate office. After receiving her undergraduate degree in 1980, Caroline went to work for the Film and Television Development Office of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, she met her future husband Edwin Schlossberg, a multimedia designer and writer 13 years her senior, whom she married in June 1986 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in as "private a wedding as a Kennedy could have," writes Margaret Carlson , "registering her Luneville Old Strasbourg china ($50 for a five-piece setting) at Bloomingdale's." Her cousin Maria Shriver was her matron of honor, and her brother John began the initial toast: "All my life there has just been the three of us—Mommy, Caroline and I."
In June 1988, Caroline graduated from Columbia University Law School and also gave birth to her first child Rose, named after her grandmother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy . The Schlossbergs had a second child Tatiana in 1990 and a third, John, named after Caroline's brother, in 1993. Schlossberg passed the bar exam in 1989, and began researching her first book, Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action, written with her Columbia schoolmate and friend Ellen Alderman . Although she did not exploit her mother's publishing contacts for her book, she had no qualms about using her celebrity status to sell it. "If my name makes more people want to read it, that's fine," she told an interviewer in 1991. A second book with Alderman, The Right to Privacy, published in 1995, is a scholarly work. The two authors also posted a lengthy piece, "Expectation of Privacy," on the Mighty Words Web site. "If we do not protect our privacy it will be taken from us," they wrote. "And if we accept intrusion, we will be conditioned to expect less privacy than we deserve in a free society." Many view Schlossberg's defense of privacy as a personal mission.
In 1989, Caroline, with her mother and brother, founded the Profile in Courage Awards, given annually by a 12-member panel of the Kennedy Library Foundation to a public official who has engaged in an act of political bravery. Caroline, who has been active in the selection process, personally phones the winners and travels to Boston to help present the award at a ceremony at the Kennedy Library. Following Jackie's death in 1994, Caroline also assumed her mother's place in the New York cultural scene, becoming an honorary chair of the American Ballet Theater. In 1997, she took over as president of the Kennedy Library Foundation and also joined the Board of the Citizens Committee for New York City, which supports local volunteer groups.
Most of Schlossberg's energies, however, are focused on her children, and she is very much a hands-on mom. The Schlossbergs divide their time between their primary residence in Manhattan and a weekend house on Long Island. Almost daily, Caroline walks her daughters to the same private school she herself attended, where she and her husband are active in parent-teacher activities. "They come to parent-teacher nights, they come to assemblies when the kids are performing," says a friend. "The kids have been brought up in a solid, not a frivolous, way."
"Caroline had some of the remote, mysterious quality of her mother," wrote Carlson. "When I met her for the first time, I expected to hear that whisper, see a will-o'-the-wisp, but found instead someone with a firm voice, incredibly self-possessed and with a day-to-dayness about her. You could picture that she could make her way in Manhattan, hailing taxis and going to the movies and taking her children for ice cream in Central Park without causing a fuss."
In July 1999, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg came under the glare of the media once more. Her brother John was killed when the Piper Saratoga he was piloting crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, also killing his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette . Caroline was now the sole survivor of Camelot's First Family. "The Kennedy legend is her franchise," says presidential scholar Stephen Hess. "It's her legacy." In the days to follow, in
addition to her immediate family, she relied heavily on the support of her Uncle Ted, the Kennedy patriarch whose own burden over the loss of his nephew was immense. "Without Teddy, I don't think I could have gotten through the past few months," Schlossberg said in her opening remarks at a November 2000 fundraiser for the senator. But most of those close to Caroline believe in her strength and fortitude. "She knows that John would want her to be strong and move on with her life," said Joseph Gargan, Caroline's cousin. "That's always been a Kennedy family message: to pick up and carry on."
Carlson, Margaret. "And Then There Was One," in Time. July 26, 1999.
Leamer, Laurence. The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family. NY: Villard, 1994.
Ratnesar, Romesh. "Caroline Kennedy: Champion of Civility," in Time. August 2, 1999, pp. 49–50.
Smolowe, Jill. "Moving On," in People Weekly. May 29, 2000, pp. 100–105.
Andrews, Jay David. Young Kennedys: The New Generations. Avon, 1998.
Gibson, Barbara, and Ted Schwartz. The Kennedys: The Third Generation. Pinnacle, 1993.
Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts