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Hugh Auchincloss: Life and Legacy of a Political Icon



Hugh Auchincloss may not be a household name, but his impact on American history is significant. Born in 1897 to a wealthy and influential family, Auchincloss went on to have a successful career as an investment banker and lawyer. However, it was his personal connections to some of the most prominent figures of the 20th century that make his story truly remarkable. From his marriage to Jackie Kennedy’s mother, to his close friendship with President Eisenhower, Auchincloss played a pivotal role in shaping the political and social landscape of his time. In this article, we will take a closer look at the life and legacy of Hugh Auchincloss, exploring his achievements, relationships, and the lasting influence he had on American society.

Table of Contents

Hugh Auchincloss: A Brief Biography

Hugh Dudley Auchincloss was an American stockbroker and lawyer, born on August 15, 1897 in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the son of Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Sr., a wealthy industrialist, and Emma Brewster Jennings. Auchincloss graduated from Yale University in 1920 and went on to study at the Columbia University Law School.

Auchincloss had a successful career in finance, working for the family business and then branching out into his own ventures. He was also known for his social connections, marrying several influential women including Nina Gore, the mother of writer Gore Vidal, and later Janet Lee Bouvier, the mother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. He had a total of three wives and seven children throughout his lifetime.

Year Event
1897 Born in Newport, Rhode Island
1920 Graduated from Yale University
1924 Married Nina Gore
1942 Married Janet Lee Bouvier

Despite his success in business and his high-profile family connections, Auchincloss remained a private person throughout his life. He passed away on November 20, 1976 at the age of 79 in his home in Georgetown, Washington D.C. His legacy continues through his descendants, including grandchildren who have made their own mark in various fields.

The Political Career of Hugh Auchincloss

Hugh Auchincloss was a prominent figure in American politics, serving as a member of the House of Representatives from 1943 to 1959. He represented the state of Rhode Island, and was known for his conservative views and strong support for the military.

Throughout his political career, Auchincloss was involved in several significant pieces of legislation. He played a key role in the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, which reorganized the nation’s military and intelligence agencies. He was also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he advocated for increased defense spending and a strong national defense.

Key Achievements:

  • Member of the House of Representatives from 1943-1959
  • Supported the National Security Act of 1947
  • Advocated for increased defense spending
Year Position Notable Achievement
1943 Elected to House of Representatives
1947 Supported National Security Act Reorganized military and intelligence agencies
1959 Retired from politics

Hugh Auchincloss and the Kennedy Family Connection

Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr. was an American stockbroker and lawyer, but he is perhaps best known for his connections to the Kennedy family. He was the stepfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the wife of President John F. Kennedy, and played a significant role in the lives of the Kennedy children.

Auchincloss was married to Janet Lee Bouvier, Jackie Kennedy’s mother, from 1942 until his death in 1976. Together, they had two children, Janet Auchincloss Rutherford and James Lee Auchincloss. Hugh was a supportive and influential figure in the lives of his stepchildren, particularly after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. He provided stability and comfort to the family during a time of great turmoil and grief.

Some key points about Hugh Auchincloss’s connection to the Kennedy family include:

  • He was present at the wedding of Jacqueline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy in 1953.
  • He gave away the bride at the wedding of Caroline Kennedy, Jackie’s daughter, in 1986.
  • His home, Hammersmith Farm, served as the “Summer White House” during the Kennedy presidency.

Despite not being a blood relative, Auchincloss’s influence on the Kennedy family is undeniable. His contributions to their lives, both personally and publicly, have left a lasting legacy.

Legacy of Hugh Auchincloss: Philanthropy and Public Service

Hugh Auchincloss was a man of many talents, and his legacy continues to live on through his philanthropic and public service efforts. He was a successful stockbroker and lawyer, but he is perhaps best known for his work as a public servant. He served as the Deputy Director of the Office of Price Administration during World War II and later as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President Eisenhower.

Auchincloss was also a generous philanthropist, supporting numerous causes throughout his life. He was a major contributor to the American Red Cross, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Kennedy Center. His commitment to giving back to his community was a cornerstone of his legacy, and his contributions continue to make a positive impact today.

Additionally, Auchincloss was passionate about education and the arts. He was a trustee of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Newport Art Museum. He also established the Auchincloss Foundation, which provides grants to organizations focused on education, health care, and the arts. His dedication to improving the lives of others through philanthropy and public service is an inspiration to all.

Organization Contribution
American Red Cross Major Donor
National Symphony Orchestra Benefactor
Kennedy Center Supporter
Rhode Island School of Design Trustee
Newport Art Museum Trustee

Through his unwavering commitment to philanthropy and public service, Hugh Auchincloss has left a lasting impact on the world. His legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of giving back and using one’s resources and talents to make a positive difference in the lives of others.


Q: Who is Hugh Auchincloss?
A: Hugh Auchincloss was an American stockbroker and lawyer, best known for being the stepfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Q: What was Auchincloss’s background and upbringing?
A: Auchincloss was born into a prominent and wealthy family in Newport, Rhode Island. He attended Groton School and then Yale University.

Q: What was Auchincloss’s professional career?
A: Auchincloss worked as a stockbroker and later as a lawyer, specializing in maritime law.

Q: How did Auchincloss become involved with the Kennedy family?
A: Auchincloss married Janet Lee Bouvier in 1942, becoming the stepfather of her two children, Jacqueline and Caroline Bouvier. He also had a daughter with Janet, named Janet. After Janet’s death in 1989, Auchincloss was married two more times, first Mary “Mimi” Lee and then Betsy Pender.

Q: What was Auchincloss’s role in the Kennedy family?
A: Auchincloss was a supportive and influential figure in the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her siblings. He played a significant role in the family’s personal and financial affairs.

Q: What was Auchincloss’s legacy?
A: Auchincloss is remembered for his contributions to the Kennedy family and for his successful career as a stockbroker and lawyer. He passed away in 1976, leaving behind a lasting impact on those who knew him.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Hugh Auchincloss was a prominent American businessman and stepfather to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. His influence on the Kennedy family and his contributions to various industries have left a lasting impact on American society. As we continue to study and learn from his life and work, we can gain valuable insights into the history and culture of the United States. Thank you for taking the time to explore the legacy of Hugh Auchincloss with us. We hope that this article has provided you with a deeper understanding of his significance in American history.

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