This essay examines representations of Jacqueline Kennedy's French connections in American and French popular media and in accounts of the Kennedy presidency to assert her significance in French-American relations and in United States foreign relations broadly construed to include, in Kristin Hoganson's words, “imaginative engagement with peoples“ of other nations and cultures. While biographers routinely acknowledge French influences in Mrs. Kennedy's life and in her practices as first lady, this study focuses on them in depth, notably the undergraduate junior year she spent studying in France in 1949-50 that consolidated her knowledge and appreciation of all things French, and cultivated her interest in other cultures generally. As first lady, she was uniquely positioned to perform these qualities on an international stage. This deployment of Frenchness enhanced her own and JFK's popularity at home and abroad, and suggested a more cosmopolitan way of being American at the height of the Cold War.
This article examines Arvède Barine's extensive and popular published output from the 1880s to 1908, along with an extraordinary cache of letters addressed to Barine and held in the Manuscript Department of the National Library of France. It asserts that in the process of criticizing contemporary feminist activists and celebrating the achievements of women, especially French women, in history, she constructed the historical and cultural distinctiveness of French women as an ideal blend of femininity, accomplishment, and independence. This notion of the French singularity, indeed the superiority of French women, resolved the contradiction between her condemnation of feminism as a transformation of gender relations and her support for causes and reforms that enabled women to lead intellectually and emotionally fulfilling lives. Barine's work offers another example of the varied ways that women in Third Republic France engaged with public debates about women and gender.