March 5 - 2007: When Jackie put Jack back in his box

1639: Barnstable becomes Cape Cod's third town; 2007 Kennedy infidelity letter exposed
Above: White House, Christmas 1961, Back row on right, Ted Kennedy and his wife Joan. Front from left, Joseph Kennedy, Rose Kennedy, JFK and Jackie.

2007: When Jackie put Jack back in his box

JFK was phoning his mistresses Mootsie or Pootsie from the White House

On this day in 2007, a letter turned up which exposed Jack and Ted Kennedy's womanizing and the letter Jack's wife Jackie warned her sister-in-law Joan of Ted's reputation.

The two women were married to two of the worst philanderers in modern American politics. Now, a newly discovered letter has revealed an astonishing heart-to-heart appeal from Jacqueline Kennedy to her sister-in-law, Joan, whose then husband, senator Edward Kennedy, had been caught cheating with other women.

The candid handwritten note covering four pages warned Joan Kennedy, "forbidden fruit is more exciting", adding: "It takes much more of a real man to have a deep relationship with the woman he lives with. The routine of married life can be boring." Although the letter is undated, it was written after the November 1963 assassination of Jacqueline's husband, president John F. Kennedy, who had a series of affairs with other women, including actress Marilyn Monroe.

Senator Kennedy at this time was the second-longest serving member of the US Senate and one of its most left-wing members, but his chances of becoming president like his brother were ruined by his womanizing. Concern over his private life came to a head in 1969 when his car ran off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, after a party at Martha's Vineyard, an island just off the coast of Cape Cod. His companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, a young campaign worker, was drowned, and the way in which the incident was handled caused outrage.

In no uncertain terms, the former first lady appears to draw on her own experience to urge her sister-in-law to stand up to her cheating husband. "Men under pressure have to let off steam sometimes - that's why the Catholic Church has carnival and Mardi Gras," Jacqueline wrote. But referring to his mistresses' nicknames, she added: "Having your own little black book, so that you can talk to Mootsie or Pootsie every night, right in the house with his wife and children — and bringing them there when you're away.

"What kind of woman but a sap and a slave can stand that, and still be a loving wife and care about him and work like a dog for him while campaigning? It is so old-fashioned - probably got it from his father."

Read the rest of this story in The Age here.

1639: The day the Town of Barnstable was incorporated

Area known as Mattakeese misspelled after English town of Barnstaple

On this day in 1639, the town of Barnstable was incorporated as a municipality, one of three towns established on the Cape that year, along with Sandwich and Yarmouth.

The first group of settlers of European descent to live in Barnstable were led by the Rev. John Lothrop, a Congregational minister who had been imprisoned in England and emigrated to America with two dozen followers.

Hyannis came a generation later

The group first settled in Scituate and moved within five years to Barnstable, then known as Mattakeese, and settled near the vast salt marshes at Great Marsh. The new town would be named - and misspelled - after its sister town of Barnstaple in England.

Another generation would pass before colonists settled in the village of Hyannis to the south and in 1685, the county of Barnstable was established, with the town of the same name designated as the county seat.

Read a history of Barnstable here.

Photos courtesy of the Kennedy Library.


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