|White House Chief of Staff to the First Lady of the United States|
|Appointed by||Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy|
|Succeeded by||Liz Carpenter|
February 9, 1926|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Died||October 29, 2012
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
|Occupation||Public relations executive
Known as the "Doyenne of Decorum", she wrote a newspaper column, ran her own PR firm, and, along with updating Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette, she published 20 books and appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and the cover of Time Magazine.
Letitia Baldrige was born February 9, 1926 in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, the youngest child of Republican Congressman Howard Malcolm Baldrige and his wife, Regina (née Connell). Her brother was Howard Malcolm Baldrige, Jr., the initial Secretary of Commerce during the Ronald Reagan administration . She attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT, where she met Jacqueline Bouvier, the future First Lady. The two also attended Vassar College together, from which Baldrige graduated in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
After first being denied a position and told to improve her secretarial skills, she reapplied and was hired by the State Department as social secretary to David K.E. Bruce, US ambassador to France. After three years she would be appointed secretary in Rome to the American ambassador to Italy, Clare Boothe Luce, followed by a position as director of public relations for the jeweller Tiffany & Co.
Although then a registered Republican, in 1960 she was invited to work for the Kennedy campaign in Massachusetts once he secured the Democratic presidential nomination, going on to work officially for the First Lady after his victory. Saying she "had had it" with the long days in Washington and serving the administration on overseas trips, she resigned early in 1963, to return briefly to aid the First Lady after her husband's assassination in November of that year.
After the Kennedy White House
She served on the board of directors of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. She also did significant charity work with Jane Goodall to help fundraise for the preservation of habitats for wild chimpanzees.
In 1964, the year after marrying her husband Robert Hollensteiner, whom she met while working for a Kennedy family firm, she founded her own PR business, Letitia Baldrige Enterprises, Chicago. Earning the nickname the "Doyenne of Decorum" with a newspaper column and a string of successful books, in 1978 she appeared on the November 28th cover of Time Magazine.
Baldrige died of cardiac complications at a nursing facility in Bethesda, Maryland on October 29, 2012. At an imposing 6 ft 1in in height, Baldrige said her focus was always on simple good manners, not a set of strict rules. She had a self-deprecating reputation, fond of telling embarrassing anecdotes about her own socially awkward behavior, such as looking up in a 1947 garden party at Buckingham Palace to see the man she had just tripped was none other than Winston Churchill. She had continued working into late life, publishing books in every decade from the 1950s, through the internet and cell phone revolution until her last in 2007, Taste: Acquiring What Money Can't Buy.
|1946||Bachelor's in Psychology, Vassar College|
|1946–1948||Graduate studies, Université de Genève, Switzerland|
|1948–1951||Personal Social Secretary to David K. E. Bruce, U.S. Ambassador, Paris|
|1951–1953||Intelligence Officer, American Embassy, Paris|
|1953–1956||Assistant to Clare Boothe Luce, U.S. Ambassador, Rome|
|1956–1961||Director, Public Relations, Tiffany & Co.|
|1961–1963||Social Secretary and Chief of Staff for Jacqueline Kennedy|
|1964–1969||President, Letitia Baldrige Enterprises, Chicago|
|1969–1971||Director, Consumer Affairs, Burlington Industries|
|1972–2005||President, Letitia Baldrige Enterprises, New York City|
|2006–2012||Baldrige & Lewris, Washington DC|
The honor recognized her effort to appear on the Inman Literacy Foundation Lecture Series.
- Letitia Baldrige, Obituary, The Telegraph, October 31, 2012, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9646580/Letitia-Baldrige.html
- "Letitia Baldrige dies at 86; 'doyenne of decorum' was social secretary to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Letitia Baldrige Hollensteiner, recorded interview by Mrs. Wayne Fredericks, April 24, 1964, John F. Kennedy Library Oral History Program. 
- Letitia Baldrige dies at 86, by Emily Langer, Washington Post, October 30, 2012 
- Roman Candle, 1956
- Tiffany Table Settings, 1958
- Of Diamonds and Diplomats, 1968
- Home, 1972
- Juggling: The Art of Balancing Marriage, Motherhood, and Career, 1976
- The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 1978
- Amy Vanderbilt’s Everyday Etiquette, 1979
- Entertainers, 1981
- Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to Executive Manners, 1985
- Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to a Great Social Life, 1987
- Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to the New Manners for the '90s, 1989
- Public Affairs, Private Relations, 1990 (a novel)
- Letitia Baldrige’s New Complete Guide to Executive Manners, 1993
- Letitia Baldrige’s More than Manners! Raising Today's Kids to Have Kind Manners and Good Hearts, 1997
- In the Kennedy Style: Magical Evenings in the Kennedy White House (with Rene Verdon), 1998
- Legendary Brides: From the Most Romantic Weddings Ever, Inspired Ideas for Today’s Brides, 2000
- A Lady, First: My Life in the White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome, 2001
- Letitia Baldrige’s New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette, 2003
- The Kennedy Mystique (with Jon Goodman, Hugh Sidey, Robert Dallek and Barbara Baker Burrows), 2006
- Taste: Acquiring What Money Can't Buy, 2007
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Letitia Baldrige.|
- Official site
- Gates, Anita, "Letitia Baldrige, Etiquette Maven, Is Dead at 86", The New York Times, October 30, 2012
- Obituary, The Telegraph
- Langer, Emily, "Letitia Baldrige dies at 86; ‘doyenne of decorum’ was social secretary to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy", The Washington Post, October 30, 2012
- Fabricant, Florence, "AT TEA WITH: Letitia Baldrige; The Calming Voice of Civility In Uncivil Times", The New York Times, July 8, 1992
- Letitia Baldrige on NPR