Birthday: December 3, 1907
Died At Age: 81
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: Janet Norton Lee Auchincloss
Born Country: United States
Born in: Manhattan, New York, United States
Famous as: Socialite
Spouse/Ex-: Bingham Morris (m. 1979), Hugh D. Auchincloss (m. 1942–1976), John Vernou Bouvier III (m. 1928–1940)
father: James Thomas Lee
mother: Margaret A. Merritt
siblings: Margaret Winifred Lee (1910–1991), Marion Merritt Lee (1904–1947)
children: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, James Lee Auchincloss, Janet Auchincloss Rutherfurd, Lee Radziwill
Died on: July 22, 1989
place of death: Newport
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Vassar College
Who was Janet Lee Bouvier?
Janet Lee Bouvier was an American socialite, best known as the mother of former American First Lady Jacqueline Onassis. Hers was a rich Irish family living in the USA. Her father was a millionaire businessman who worked primarily in the real-estate business. An accomplished hunter, Janet won three national championships in the sport at the ‘National Horse Show.’ She had an immense interest in art and culture and made her career in the field, working as a board member of the ‘Newport Historical Society’ and the ‘Redwood Library.’ She was married thrice. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, one of her children, later got married to former American President John F. Kennedy. Janet died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 81.
Childhood & Early Life
Janet Lee Bouvier was born Janet Norton Lee, on December 3, 1907, in Manhattan, New York City, to James Thomas Aloysius Lee and Margaret A. Merritt. James was a rich and famous lawyer, banker, and real-estate developer. Janet grew up with two sisters. Both her parents were of Irish decent.
Her father had amassed a fortune for himself while his kids were still young. As a result, Janet grew up in Manhattan, New York, in extremely comfortable circumstances.
Janet attended an all-girl private school in New York named ‘Miss Spence’s School,’ from where she finished her high-school education. When it came to making a career, Janet was deeply interested in art history and culture. She enrolled into a liberal arts college named ‘Sweet Briar’ and later attended ‘Barnard College.’
Her father also owned stables. Thus, ever since she was little, she learned horseback riding. Upon growing up, she participated in the ‘National Horse Show’ many times. She ended up winning the championship thrice.
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Life & Career
Janet had a keen interest in art, a subject in which she graduated from college. Following her college graduation, she began working at the ‘Newport Historical Society,’ located in Newport, Rhode Island. She became a board member of the institution. It dealt in collecting and preserving books, manuscripts, and other objects of historical significance to the city of Newport.
Her love for books continued as she served as the board member of the ‘Redwood Library’ in the same city. It happens to be the oldest community library that is still functioning in the United States. It has been declared a ‘National Historic Landmark.’
Her fascination with history also led her to become the honorary director of the ‘Robert E. Lee Memorial Association,’ located in Stratford, Virginia. Robert E. Lee was a renowned war hero who fought as the commander of the ‘Confederate Army’ in the American Civil War. Janet and Robert happened to be from the same lineage.
Marriages & Children
In 1928, at the age of 21, Janet married John Vernou Bouvier III, who was a rich Wall Street stockbroker and a socialite. John was from a highly esteemed American family, with a rich father named Major John Vernou Bouvier Jr., who was a successful attorney and had his own law firm.
Janet’s sister-in-law from her first marriage, Edith Bouvier Beale, was an American socialite, best known for her eccentric lifestyle. She later became the subject of the documentary film titled ‘Grey Gardens.’
In 1929, Janet and John had their first child, a daughter named Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. She was perhaps the most popular of her kids, as she ended up marrying former American President John F. Kennedy in 1953. She remained married to him until his assassination in 1963.
Janet had another daughter from her first marriage, Caroline Lee Bouvier, who later married popular American director Herbert Ross.
Janet was a high-profile socialite who partied with the most elite Americans. She hosted many fundraisers for her son-in-law, Kennedy, during his presidential campaigns.
She had raised all her daughters to be suave and expected them to marry into rich families.
However, John Bouvier was not an ideal husband to her. Over time, he became notorious for his womanizing ways and alcoholism. Janet did not take it lightly and separated from him in 1936. After John requested, she moved back with him briefly in 1937. However, it did not work out and the marriage ended in a divorce in 1940.
In the early 1940s, she met another American millionaire, Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr., who was an attorney by profession and the heir to a successful oil company called ‘Standard Oil Inc.’ The couple dated for a while before getting married in 1942. It was Janet’s second marriage and Hugh’s third.
The couple had two children together: Janet Jennings Auchincloss and James Lee Auchincloss. Hugh died in 1976.
Three years after his death, Janet married for the third time, this time to a childhood friend. She was 72 years old when she got married to Bingham Willing "Booch" Morris in 1979. Her oldest daughter, Jacqueline, served as her witness. Bingham was a high-profile American with a former career as an investment banker and millions of dollars of fortune. He was a widower. His late wife was Janet’s bridesmaid during her first wedding function.
However, things did not go as smoothly as expected. The couple separated 2 years after their marriage, in 1981. They never reconciled.
Janet was known as a quintessential American socialite. She had friendly relations with many American elite politicians and celebrities. She hosted posh tea parties from time to time.
Janet died on July 22, 1989, from complications arising from Alzheimer’s disease.