Jean Kennedy Smith, the last remaining child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, is to write a book, “The Nine of Us,“ about her famed family. It is due for release in October.
The former Ambassador to Ireland, now 88, who played a major role in the Irish peace process has signed a major contract with Harper to write the book.
Smith was the eighth child in the most famous 20th Century family in America, which included President JFK; Attorney General Robert Kennedy; Senator Edward Kennedy; Jean Kennedy herself; Eunice Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics; Patricia, who married screen star Peter Lawford; Kathleen Kennedy, who lived in Britain during the war, married into high society and died in a plane crash; Roseary Kennedy, who was born with severe mental problems and underwent a mental lobotomy; and Joe Kennedy Jr, who died on a World War 2 dangerous flying mission
Jean Kennedy was represented by agent Laurie Abkemeier at DeFiore and Company. Abkemeier said the book features “charming stories” about the Kennedy clan, as well as “the lessons [the Kennedy] parents worked so hard to teach [their kids] as they set off to help others and make a difference in the world.”
As the last of the clan and now aged 88 Jean Kennedy continues to lead an active life.
Jean Kennedy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in February 1928 on her elder sister Kathleen's eighth birthday.
She has been described as the shyest and most guarded of the Kennedy children. She attended Manhattanville College where she met and befriended two future sisters-in-law: Ethel Skakel, who married her older brother Robert in 1950 and Joan Bennett who married her younger brother Ted in 1958.
On May 19, 1956, she married Stephen Edward Smith in a small chapel of the Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. During the early 1960s, they settled in New York City. They had four children.
Smith was considered to have a great political mind and was deeply involved with the political career of her older brother John, working on his 1946 Congressional campaign, his 1952 Senate campaign, and ultimately his presidential campaign in 1960.
She and her siblings helped Kennedy knock on doors in primary states like Texas and Wisconsin and on the campaign trail played the role of advisor more than volunteer, citing her parents’ family lesson of “working together for something.”
Kennedy Smith and her husband were present at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, when Sirhan Sirhan shot and fatally wounded her brother Robert after he had won the Democratic 1968 California U.S. presidential primary.
In 1974, Kennedy Smith founded Very Special Arts, now known simply as VSA "the international organization on art and disabilities. "VSA is dedicated to creating a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.
VSA annually serves over 7 million people across American and in 52 countries. Smith has traveled extensively throughout the world on behalf of VSA to advocate for greater inclusion in the arts for people with disabilities. In 2011, Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for her work with VSA and the disabled.
In 1993, Smith was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland continuing a legacy of diplomacy begun by her father, who was the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James's (United Kingdom) during the administration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As ambassador, she played a pivotal role in the peace process in Northern Ireland for almost five years before retiring from the post. She successfully advocated for the U.S. government to grant a visa to Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, which directly led to the IRA declaring a ceasefire in 1994.
Irish President Mary McAleese conferred honorary Irish citizenship on Smith in 1998 in recognition of her service to the country. During a ceremony, McAleese praised Smith's "fixedness of purpose." Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern told Smith, "You have helped bring about a better life for everyone throughout Ireland."