No 'cuddly grandma': Book sheds light on Kennedy early years

Oct. 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM ET

Rose Kennedy's Family Album
Bobby, Rose, and Pat at the Kennedy home in Hyannis Port, circa 1942.

The early years of the Kennedy family life, the subject of a nation’s fascination for dozens of years, are chronicled in a new book that centers on the dynasty’s matriarch.

"Rose Kennedy's Family Album" features letters and more than 300 photographs, including many never seen by the public. The book focuses on the family's life from the 1870s into the first half of the 20th century, 

NBC correspondent Maria Shriver, Kennedy’s granddaughter, said her grandmother set the tone for the family.

Video: NBC special correspondent Maria Shriver shares the story of her grandmother, Rose Kennedy, as well as some images from her photo album. Containing more than 300 pictures, many never before seen, it is about to be released to the public.

“She really was the linchpin in our larger extended family. She was the history. She was the faith. She was the glue,” Shriver said.

Shriver called her grandmother the family’s “first political strategist” who got deeply involved in the political races of her children.

“She wasn’t a fuzzy, cuddly grandma who cooked or did any of that,” she said. “She was always dressed to the nines. Super smart, super well educated, super curious and pretty strict.”

Shriver said most people think of the Kennedy men when the family name comes up.

"But the Kennedy women are strong women,” Shriver said. “That started with Grandma.”

Chronicling the Kennedys from the 1870s and into the first half of the 20th century, “Rose Kennedy’s Family Album” culls together many never-before-seen photographs of the family from the collection of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Here are just a few of those intimate pictures.