Janet Lee Bouvier

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Janet Lee Bouvier
Born Janet Norton Lee
(1907-12-03)December 3, 1907
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died July 22, 1989(1989-07-22) (aged 81)
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
Cause of death Complications from Alzheimer's disease
Resting place Common Burying Ground and Island Cemetery
Nationality American
Other names Janet Bouvier
Janet Auchincloss
Janet Lee Auchincloss Morris
Education Miss Spence's School
Alma mater Sweet Briar College
Vassar College
Occupation Socialite
Spouse(s) John Vernou Bouvier III
(m. 1928; div. 1940)

Hugh D. Auchincloss
(m. 1942; d. 1976)

Bingham Morris
(m. 1979; separated 1981)
Children Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
Caroline Lee Bouvier
Janet Jennings Auchincloss
James Lee Auchincloss
Relatives John F. Kennedy (son-in-law)

Janet Norton Lee Bouvier Auchincloss (December 3, 1907 – July 22, 1989) was an American socialite. She was the mother of former United States First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill. She often stood in for her daughter Jacqueline as hostess for official White House functions. She was the mother-in-law of United States President John F. Kennedy.

Early life and ancestry[edit]

Janet was born on December 3, 1907, in Manhattan, New York City, the middle daughter of James Thomas Lee (October 2, 1877 – January 3, 1968), a lawyer and real estate developer,[1] and Margaret A. Merritt (1878 – February 26, 1943).

Her paternal grandfather, Dr. James Lee, was a superintendent of the New York City public school system, although Janet Bouvier preferred to tell people that he was a Maryland-born veteran of the American Civil War. In fact, he was born in New Jersey in 1852, precluding service in that conflict. Janet had two sisters: Winifred Norton Lee (Mrs. Franklin d'Olier) and Marion Norton Lee (Mrs. John J. Ryan Jr.).[citation needed]

Lee studied at Sweet Briar College and later at Vassar College, but did not graduate from either institution.

Marriages and children[edit]

Lee was married three times. Her first husband was John Vernou "Black Jack" Bouvier III. They were married on July 7, 1928, and had two daughters:

Bouvier's womanizing and drinking led to a separation in 1936, a brief reconciliation for a few months in 1937, and then a divorce in 1940.[2]

Lee's second husband was Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, Jr., an attorney and Standard Oil heir; she was his third wife. They were married on June 21, 1942,[3] and had two children:

Her third marriage, after Auchincloss's death, was to investment broker Bingham "Booch" Morris on October 25, 1979. Morris was a childhood friend.[5] Though they separated in 1981, they remained married until her death eight years later.


Lee died of complications arising from Alzheimer's disease on July 22, 1989 (her daughter Jacqueline's mother-in-law Rose Kennedy's birthday) in Newport, Rhode Island at the age of 81.[6] Her funeral was held at the Trinity Church in Newport on July 28 (her daughter Jacqueline's birthday) and she is buried next to her second husband, Hugh D. Auchincloss, at the Island Cemetery in Newport.[7][8]

Further reading[edit]

  • Janet and Jackie: The Story of a Mother and Her Daughter, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Jan Pottke.
  • "Obituary of James Thomas Lee", New York Times, January 4, 1968.


  1. ^ Christopher Gray (March 12, 1995). "Streetscapes/Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's Grandfather; Quality Developer With a Legacy of Fine Buildings". New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ Adler, Bill (2009). The Eloquent Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Portrait in Her Own Words. HarperCollins. p. 16. ISBN 0-061-87363-2. 
  3. ^ "MRS. J. L. BOUVIER IS WED IN VIRGINIA; Becomes the Bride of Lieut. Hugh D.Auchincloss.U.S.N., at His Country Home". The New York Times. June 23, 1942. p. 24. 
  4. ^ "Jackie's Half-Sister Dies". The Vindicator. March 20, 1985. p. 50. 
  5. ^ "Jackie's Mother Remarries". The News and Courier. October 26, 1979. p. 2-A. 
  6. ^ "Janet Lee Auchincloss Morris, 81". New York Times. July 24, 1989. Retrieved April 5, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Services Held for Onassis' Mother". Daily News. July 28, 1989. p. 2. 
  8. ^ Brooks, Patricia (2002). Where the Bodies Are: Final Visits to the Rich, Famous, and Interesting. Globe Pequot. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0-762-72337-8.