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

Kennedy 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.

“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.”

  • Slideshow Photos

    ‘Rose Kennedy’s Family Album’: Intimate photos from the private collection

    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.

  • ‘Rose Kennedy’s Family Album’: Intimate photos from the private collection

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    'A uniquely American dynasty in its formative years' -

    Chronicling the Kennedys from the 1870s and into the first half of the 20th century, “Rose Kennedy’s Family Album” (Grand Central Publishing) lovingly culls together many never-before-seen photographs of the family, with over 300 images preserved from the collection of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Here are just a few of those intimate pictures.

    Rose and Joe Jr. go sledding, circa 1916-1917

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Rose and Joe Jr., circa 1917.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    An early school photograph of Jack, circa 1925.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Jack on the occasion of his First Communion, Brookline, Mass., June, 1925.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Eunice, Kathleen, and Rosemary in Brookline, Mass., circa 1925.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    The Kennedys' sixth child and fourth daughter, Patricia Kennedy, in Brookline, Mass., circa 1925.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Joe Jr. and Jack in Hyannis Port, Mass., circa 1925.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Rose and Eunice sitting on the stairs leading to the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, May 1941.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    Jack and Eunice in Palm Beach, circa 1942.

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

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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    A pantsless Jack with his former Harvard roommate, Torbert MacDonald, in Hyannis Port, Mass., circa 1942.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
  • ‘Rose Kennedy’s Family Album’: Intimate photos from the private collection

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    "Dear Children: We have missed you all very much since you left, although I must say while you were here it seemed a little more hectic than usual. When you all were little and I could regiment you and have you all come and leave at a certain time and at the same time, and when I was sure of what clothes you were going to wear and how you were goint to have your hair cut (Kathleen) and what hat you were going to wear, it seemed to me much more simple. However, time marches on and I suppose I must get used to the new uncertainties and excitement... Much love to you all." - Letter from Rose Kennedy, January 5, 1942

    Excerpted from "Rose Kenney's Family Album." Copyright © 2013 by The John F. Kennedy Libary Foundation, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Rose Kennedy's Family Album
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