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Southampton Hospital gives Jackie Kennedy's birth records to JFK library

President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline

President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, arrive at Love Field in Dallas from Fort Worth early on the day he was assassinated. (Nov. 22, 1963) Photo Credit: AP

On July 28, 1929, a healthy baby girl was born in Southampton Hospital.

The girl, Jacqueline Bouvier, grew up to marry John F. Kennedy, and the former first lady later became Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

Her birth records were found in an envelope in a safe at the hospital by Robert Ross -- vice president of community and government relations -- when he was looking for historic records in 2009 for the hospital's 100th anniversary.

She died in 1994, so donating the records to the Kennedy presidential library in Boston seemed logical, but the hospital's attorney said nothing should be done without the permission of her next of kin. Daughter Caroline approved, and last week Ross drove the records to Boston.

"It was like holding a piece of history in your hand," Ross said.

Rachel Flor, director of communications for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, said an archivist will determine what must be done to preserve the records before they can be displayed.

While the records lay all but forgotten in the hospital vault for decades, someone clearly knew what they were, Ross said. The words "Mrs. Jack Kennedy" written in pencil on the partly-torn envelope, were later changed to "Mrs. President Jack Kennedy." And, finally, they became "Mrs. President Jack Kennedy Onassis," he added.


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