TODAY | October 09, 2013
>> want to take a turn now and talk about the kennedy family 's history. it's been told thousands of times. now we're getting a look at the early years in a book called rose kennedy 's family album . it's a collection of 300 photos, some never before seen all from the archives of rose kennedy . maria shriver is here with more on that. good to see you.
>> morning, matt. this is a life remembered. a history through letters and photos. she was the daughter of a mayor, the wife of an ambassador and mother of nine children including the president, ambassadors and the woman that started the special olympics and she was also my grandmother.
>> i think of grandmothers all over the world but when i think of the word grandma, i think of my grandmother. when people think of the kennedys they think of the kennedy men but the kennedy women are strong women. that started with grandma.
>> as i said to my children, their time and their talent and their financial resources were not for their own particular benefit but were to be used to help other people.
>> reporter: she was the lynch pin in our large and extended family . she was the history, she was the face, she was the glue. she set the tone for all of us. she was the first political strategist in the family. she was deeply involved in her son's races.
>> it's a great pleasure to introduce my son robert kennedy .
>> reporter: she wasn't a fuzzy grandma that cooked. she was always dressed to the nines. super smart, super well educated, super curious and pretty strict.
>> on sundays we would talk about the gospel. if they didn't pay attention one sunday they would the next as they knew they would be question questioned.
>> reporter: her children adored and were in awe of her and she demanded their respect and she got it.
>> my brother and i -- the reason she never introduced any of us before is because we never go on the same platform with her. we couldn't possibly compete with that.
>> reporter: when she walked in the room everybody stood up. when she spoke everybody was quite. her story, like every woman or man's story is complicated. it's never black or white . it's grey. so she talked always about how blessed her life was and she talked about how difficult it was to lose children but that she always turned to god.
>> you have faith. you know every day that you are doing the will of god that he will not give you a cross any heavier than you can bear.
>> reporter: much has been written about my grandparents relationship and she always saw it as a love story .
>> i was very much in love.
>> reporter: i wanted to read you the letter. it's from my grandfather to my grandmother and he says i want you to know that going away on trips like this makes me realize just how little anything amounts except you. as years go on i love you more than anything in the world. she always said if people ask me would i liked to have been the president to mother of the president, i would always have choosed to be the mother of the president. she thought there was great power in motherhood and she took it seriously.
>> when you hold your baby in your arms the first time and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it's a tremendous responsibility. what you do with him and for him can influence not only him but everyone he meets. not for a day, a month, a year, but for time and for eternity.
>> reporter: it's my grandmother's photo album and it's really her life through photos that she kept and the history of her life and i think she is a woman worth admiring. she is inspirational. she is worth reading about. she is worth listening to because she was one heck of a woman. and i have to thank my cousin caroline kennedy for putting this book together in conjunction with the kennedy library . the proceeds benefit it and the kennedy foundation which works on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities . it's a great book to share with your family. get to thinking about the role of your grandmother or your grandparents in your life. it's really awesome.
>> we have said these photos are never before seen some of them. have you seen them?
>> i've seen some of them but not all of them. i have seen a lot of photos of my family over the years.
>> what i like about this is you say your grandmother wasn't the fuzzy cuddle type. she was powerful but her favorite role was that of mother.
>> yeah and she really emphasized how powerful that is. i think that's a great thing for women to remember every day of our lives, those of us who are blessed to be mothers and fathers as well, that's the most important job we do because she always stressed that what you put in to that person can effect people every single day of that person's life. so she was a great role model. she was strict, though.
>> reporter: so, you know, she was worth paying attention to.
>> it worked for her. it did. always good to see you. the book is called rose kennedy 's family album . over