Inquiring Camera Girl
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Washington Times Herald

 

 

 

By Steve Brawley

Following her graduation from George Washington University in 1951, Bouvier was hired as "Inquiring Photographer" for the Washington Times Herald. The position required her to pose witty questions to individuals chosen at random on the street and take their pictures to be published in the newspaper, alongside alongside selected quotations from their responses.

She was paid $42.50 per week and her job entailed roaming the city asking questions and documenting opinions to a variety of hot-topics.  She photographed everyone she interviewed and then later stitched it all together into a cohesive article. Among those she interviewed were Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy. She covered the first inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.  She worked at the paper for less than two years and then married JFK in 1953, where her world changed dramatically from there on.

Inventory of Jackie's WTH Columns: (Please submit others)


Date: November 11,1952 (John H. Davis - Jackie's Cousin)

Q: Are men as inclined to fall for a "line"as girls are?

A: "More so, because they don't get them as often. When our ship was in the Mediterranean, we wanted to appear continental and not like American  tourists. If any girl said "Oh, you look so Turkish." or "I'd have taken you for a Neapolitan." Why I fell for it like a ton of bricks.
"

Date: Fall 1952 (Mrs. Cafritz)

Q: With which presidential candidate would you rather be marooned (Eisenhower or Stevenson)?

A: I'm a very social person, you think. I think being stranded with either one would get a bit tiresome. What I'd really love is to be marooned with both of them. They mightn't like it so much, but I think it would be divine.

Date: November 17, 1952 (of six housewives)

Q: Do you think Mamie Eisenhower's bangs will become a nation-wide fad?

Date: November 1952 (Mrs. Nixon)

Q: Who will be Washington's No. 1 hostess, now that the Republicans are back in power"

A: "Why, Mrs. Eisenhower, of course. I think her friendly manner and sparkling personality immediate captivate all who see or meet her. She is equally gracious in small groups or long receiving lines, where she has the knack of getting acquainted with each person, instead of merely shaking hands with the usual phrase, "How do  you do?" The people of America will always be proud of their First Lady."

Date: December 1952 (Employees of Dept. Store)

Q: What makes your feet grow bigger?

A: "Having babies and working the Christmas rush."

Date Early 1953: (Senators Richard Nixon and John Kennedy and two Senate pages)


Q: What's it like observing the pages at close range?

Vice-President Richard M. Nixon: "I would predict that some future statesman will come from the ranks of the page corps. During my time as a Senator, I have noticed that they are very quick boys, most of whom have a definate interest in politics. I feel they could not get a better political grounding than by witnessing the Senate in session day after day as they do."

Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) " I've often thought that the country might be better off if we Senators and the pages traded jobs. If such legislation is ever enacted I'll be glad to hand over the reins to Jerry Hoobler." In the meantime, I think he might be just the fellow to help me straighten out my relationship with the cops. I've often mistaken Jerry for a Senator because he looks so old."


Q: What's it like observing senators at close range? (Pages responses)


A: Gary Hegelson of Wisconsin: "We've got this book with pictures of Senators in it and I'm trying to get their autographs. I didn't know when I could get Nixon. he's so busy. One day while he was presiding over the Senate and I was seated on the rostrum I decided that was my chance. He signed it right away."

Jerry Hoobler of Ohio: "Senator Kennedy always brings his lunch in a brown paper bag. I guess he eats it in his office. I see him with it every morning when I'm on the elevator, he's always being mistaken for a tourist by the cops because he looks so young. The other day he wanted to use the special phones, and they told him," Sorry mister those are
reserved for senators."

JFK burst out laughing when he read her Inquiring Camera Girl Question - Can you give me any reason why a contented bachelor should ever get married?

Some of her column's questions turned out to be very prophetic:

  • Should a candidates wife campaign with her husband?
  • Would you like your son to grow up to be president?
  • Which first lady would you most like to have been?
  • If you had a date with Marilyn Monroe what would you talk about?
  • What prominent person's death affected you most?

Column questions mentioned in the book Jack and Jackie Portrait of An American Marriage:

  • Should men wear wedding rings?
  • Are men braver than women in a dentist's chair?
  • Noel Coward said, Some women should be struck regularly like gongs. Do you agree?
  • How do you feel when you get a wolf whistle?
  • Do you think a wife should let her husband think he is smarter than she is?
  • Do the rich enjoy life more than the poor?
  • Chaucer said that what women want most is power over men. What do you think women desire most?

Column questions mentioned in the book Grace and Power:

  • Would you rather be an old man's darling or a younger man's slave?
  • What makes little boys so bad? (Asked at an elementary school in
    Virginia)
  • Are wives a luxury or a necessity?
  • What didn't you give up after you got married?


Column questions mentioned in the book America's Queen:

  • Do you consider yourself normal?
  • When did you discover that women are not the weaker sex?
  • Should husband's and wives ever criticize each other?
  • Would you postpone your wedding if you had to live with your in-laws?
  • Should engaged couples reveal their past?
  • Do you believe in bank accounts?
  • The Irish author Sean O'Foalain claims that the Irish are deficint
    in the art of love. Do you agree?
  • Do a candidate's looks influence your vote?

 

 

1952 (Roof of WTH offices, Jackie photographing WTH staffer feeding goldfish)

1953 Covering the Queen's Coronation. (Molly Thayer Collection)

“Jackie Kennedy used to pop over to the "Little Tavern" at 12th St. and New York Ave. NW in Washington, DC ‘eight and

nine times a day’ when she was a roving photographer at the nearby Washington Times-Herald, she was quite a coffee

drinker," said Harry F. Duncan (founder of the national Little Tavern chain). Photo credit: www.dinerhunter.com

Washington Times Herald Offices, Washington DC, 1920s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Steve Brawley (314) 740-0298