A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome

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9780142001592: A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome

Letitia Baldrige is the woman best known as Jackie Kennedy's social secretary during the White House years. But in this fascinating memoir Baldrige reveals a career sparkling with a host of other achievements: embassy work in an era when women rarely were given jobs overseas, becoming the first female executive at Tiffany & Co., and founding one of the first companies run by a female CEO. In her amazing life story Baldrige shares her perspective as a White House insider: the hilarity of young Jackie's antics on foreign diplomatic visits, the terror of the Cuban missile crisis, and the heartbreak of President Kennedy's funeral. Stylish, chic and always polite, Baldrige reveals the determination that has made her a success and brought her the admiration of women around the world.

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About the Author:

Letitia Baldridge is perhaps best known for her role as Chief of Staff for Mrs. Kennedy and Social Secretary to the White House during the Kennedy Administration. She has also served as an advisor to four other First Ladies. The head of her own PR and marketing firm, Letitia Baldrige Enterprises, she is a prolific author whose etiquette books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.

From Publishers Weekly:

In her effervescent memoir, Baldrige, ambassador of etiquette, writes, "I disliked unfulfilled passions." She graduated Vassar in the mid-1940s and then, blessed with means, moxie and a voracious appetite for learning, she pursued her passions and led a life that was anything but ordinary for women at that time. Joining the U.S. Foreign Service in her 20s, she served in Paris as social secretary to Evangeline Bruce, the American ambassador's wife, and later to the U.S. ambassador in Rome, Clare Boothe Luce. These two women, Baldrige says, were among her greatest teachers. She tells of her subsequent work as the first female executive at Tiffany's under Walter Hoving, until the White House beckoned in 1960. For three years, she worked feverishly as social secretary to Jacqueline Kennedy until, overworked and contemplating the advice of Joe Kennedy, she quit. She soon opened her own, hugely successful PR firm in Chicago and then moved to New York, marrying in her mid-30s and having two children. With her plate already overflowing, she took on volunteering, lecturing, writing for newspapers and magazines, and writing books on etiquette and her experiences. A life lived so fully and at such a frenetic pace is scarcely to be believed at first, until one takes into account Baldrige's spirited will and work ethic. "I had always thought I was Wonder Woman without the steel bra." Readers may be disappointed by the gentle nature of the gossip and lack of scandal, but Baldrige's insight, humor and vivid encounters are sure to enthrall. Baldrige is an exemplary role model for women because she opened doors by refusing to accept that they were closed. (Oct 15) Forecast: If this sells, which it should, it will be not for revealing any secrets about Jackie Kennedy but for Baldrige's own admirable life.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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