America

Remembering Letitia Baldrige, The 'Doyenne Of Decorum'

We want to note the death of Letitia Baldrige, who as The Washington Post writes "was social secretary to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and also became known as a 'doyenne of decorum' and chief arbiter of good manners in modern America."

Letitia Baldrige, when she was first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's social secretary.

Letitia Baldrige, when she was first lady Jacqueline Kennedy's social secretary. JFK Presidential Library and Museum hide caption

itoggle caption JFK Presidential Library and Museum

Baldrige died Monday at a nursing facility in Bethesda, Md. She was 86.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum says that Baldrige:

"Assisted the First Lady in planning the many state dinners and social gatherings in the White House. Before working at the White House, Ms. Baldrige worked in the American Embassies in Rome and Paris at a time when women were rarely given overseas jobs. She then became the first female executive at Tiffany & Co in 1956. After leaving the White House, she founded Letitia Baldrige Enterprises, a marketing and public relations agency that was one of the first companies in the country run by a female CEO. She has written numerous books on social etiquette and has been an adviser to five subsequent First Ladies."

In 2007, Baldrige played "Not My Job" on Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! Asked about the state of etiquette in the nation today, she pointed — politely, of course — to two problems:

— "Children are not disciplined. ... They run around and scream and yell."

— "People aren't kind. ... They don't stop and think they're hurting feelings."

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