The diary of JFK Jr. and Caroline Kennedy’s nanny, as well as letters sent by Caroline to the English-born nanny, are set for auction.
The diary of Maud Shaw, the White House nanny who cared for the children of JFK and Jackie Kennedy for seven years, is to be put up for auction, alongside letters sent by a young Caroline Kennedy to her nanny while she was overseas.
Malta-born Englishwoman Shaw began working for the Kennedys just days before Caroline was born in 1957, tasked with breaking the news of their father's death to the children in 1963.
According to Michael Powell, writing for The Washington Post in 1999, the nanny was asked to tell Caroline, then almost 6, and Jack Jr., aged 3, about their father’s death by their maternal grandmother.
“Your father has gone to look after Patrick,” she is believed to have said to JFK Jr., referring to their younger brother Patrick who had died at two days old just a few months before.
“Patrick was so lonely in heaven. He didn’t know anybody there. Now he has the best friend anybody could have.”
JFK’s young son is said to have asked Shaw if his father had taken his big plane with him, to which she answered, “Yes,” while the young boy still wondered when he would come back.
Writing herself of the experience of telling Caroline of John F. Kennedy’s death in her memoir “White House Nannie,” Shaw said, "I sat on the edge of [Caroline]’s bed [that night] and felt tears well up in my eyes. Caroline looked up at me.”
“‘What’s the matter, Miss Shaw? Why are you crying?’ I took her in my arms. ‘I can’t help crying, Caroline, because I have some very sad news.’”
“Then I told her. It was a dreadful time for us both. Eventually, she fell asleep while I sat on the bed, still patting her. At last, I tiptoed from the room, leaving the door open just a crack, as always.”
Having spent many years caring for children around the world, Shaw spent seven years with the Kennedy family until retiring and returning to England in 1965.
In the diary of her time in the White House, the English nanny noted developments in the two children, taking down their heights and changes in their personality, showing pride when a doctor tells Caroline has “above average intelligence.”
“I nursed the children from the cradle and came to love them just as if they had been my own,” Shaw wrote.
“Happily they repaid me with their own love and affection.”
This love and affection can easily be seen in the postcards and letters sent by Caroline Kennedy to her nanny which will also be up for auction with the diary.
“Thank you so much for The Finding Out Treasury. It is so good. I read about how Smallpox Vaccination was invented. It was very interesting. I didn’t have time to read anything else as I was busy opening presents. John loves his book too. Thank you again. I MISS YOU!” one letter written from Antigua in the West Indies states.
“I miss you. We are in Mexico now. It is beautiful!” reads another.
The Fine Autographs and Artifacts from RR Auction is currently underway and concludes on April 11, 2018.