Jackie Kennedy Paper Doll

Ken Brekke

Copyright La Crosse County Historical Society

Copyright La Crosse County Historical Society

Catalog Number: 1984.041.02

The glamour associated with Jacqueline Kennedy never seems to go out of fashion.

This Jackie Kennedy paper doll set, donated by Virginia Larkin of La Crosse, is part of the La Crosse County Historical Society's collection from the '60s.

Even now, nearly 25 years after her death, the former first lady’s reputation for style, elegance and grace is intact.

The Magic/Wand Corp. of Charlestown, Mass., was among the first companies trying to take advantage of that Kennedy magic when it produced a Jackie Kennedy paper doll in the early 1960s.

Virginia Larkin of La Crosse paid a dollar or two for that paper doll, probably sometime in 1962. The cardboard figure stands nearly 30 inches tall, and the folding support that props the cutout up provides a 10-inch diameter base when the doll is in its standing position.

The “First Lady” doll set, donated by Larkin to the La Crosse County Historical Society in 1984, marks Jackie’s term as First Lady, from January 1961 until the assassination of her husband, John F. Kennedy, in November 1963.

The doll set includes a wide variety of skirts, pants, blouses, hats, shoes, coats, purses and other accessories.

Rubbing the back of the clothing with the set’s plastic wand triggered an adhesive reaction that caused the clothing to stay on the cardboard doll.

The Kennedy family inspired several other paper dolls, and cutouts featuring Jackie and first daughter Caroline apparently were especially popular, judging by their availability on websites today.

An evening dress, riding habit and fur coat are among the more elegant pieces that came with the doll, but a replica of the pink suit the first lady was wearing when her husband was shot in Dallas is not among the collection of outfits in the box.

The tragedy-touched original suit was donated to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., by Jackie herself shortly after the assassination. The suit, stained with her husband’s blood, remained her property, though it has been stored in the National Archives ever since in an acid-free box in a climate-controlled vault. Ownership of the pink suit, which has never been cleaned, passed to Caroline Kennedy when her mother died in 1994.

The daughter donated the suit to “the people of the United States” in 2003, with a stipulation that it can’t be publicly displayed until 2103, and then only after the Kennedy family has granted permission. It has yet to be exhibited. The outfit’s matching pillbox hat was not part of the clothing turned over to the National Archives and has disappeared.

This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune on January 26, 2019.

This object can be viewed in our online collections database by clicking here.