The future first lady discussed the time that the couple was spending apart

By Emily Zauzmer
October 26, 2018 04:08 PM
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Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images

A contemplative love letter that Jackie Kennedy wrote to John F. Kennedy — a clue to one of the most talked-about marriages of the 20th century — is up for auction.

In the rare look into their relationship, the future first lady reflects on her “atypical” marriage and the time that the couple was spending apart while also expressing her love for JFK.

The three-page letter was written in 1957 or 1958, when JFK was a senator, according to RR Auction, which is handling the sale.

“I can’t help it if when I go away from you I write stiff letters — it is hard for me to communicate — which you do so beautifully,” Jackie writes.

“I know everyone says married couples should never separate — as you get off the same wave length … but I think it is usually good when we go away from each other as we both realize so much,” continues Jackie, who went on to help her husband win the presidency in 1960.

Jacqueline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy
| Credit: Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

RR Auction previously sold the letter in 2016 to an Arizona collector, who reconsigned it, Bobby Livingston, the executive vice president at RR Auction, tells PEOPLE.

Livingston believes that the letter came from the estate of Robert White, who began collecting Kennedy-related artifacts in the 1960s and died in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We are so different,” Jackie writes in the letter. “You would write ‘don’t ponder our relationship too much’ etc.”

She mentions daughter Caroline Kennedy — who was born in 1957 after Jackie had a miscarriage in 1955 and delivered a stillborn child in 1956, according to The New York Times. In the letter, Jackie calls Caroline “at last a baby we both love.”

“You are an atypical husband … so you mustn’t be surprised to have an atypical wife,” she says.

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John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at their wedding
| Credit: Bachrach/Getty

“I can’t write down what I feel for you, but I will show you when I am with you — and I think you must know,” she concludes to her husband.

“[The letter is] pretty incredible because she was a prolific letter writer. We get lots of letters from her. We have her talking about the president. We’ve seen letters talking about the assassination or his character, but we’ve never had a letter from Jackie written to Jack,” Livingston tells PEOPLE.

“She’s talking about their marriage and their relationship. It isn’t about visiting the in-laws or something. It is a love letter,” Livingston continues. “She loved him, and it shows there.”

RR Auction is also auctioning five photographs of Jackie at age 16 — two solo shots, two pictures of Jackie next to her sister Lee Radziwill and one picture of Jackie at a table with Radziwill and the girls’ father John Bouvier III.

“This is innocent, smiling, radiant 16-year-old Jackie Bouvier,” Livingston says. “That’s what makes [the photographs] special.”

Jackie Kennedy at age 16
| Credit: RR Auction

Livingston expects the letter to sell for over $20,000 and the photographs to sell for around $1,500.

In January, author J. Randy Taraborrelli — who wrote Jackie, Janet and Lee — shed more light on Jackie and JFK’s unusual relationship, telling PEOPLE that Jackie knew about JFK’s alleged affairs.

“There were many senators and people who worked for the president who were really well aware of the conversations that Jackie had with JFK, in which she made it really clear that she knew what was going on,” Taraborrelli said. “She wasn’t naïve to it. They did have many conversations about it, and she did tell him that she was sick of it and she didn’t like it.”

In the book, Taraborrelli describes two times when Jackie considered divorcing her husband over his infidelities. But on both occasions, Jackie’s mother Janet Auchincloss and Radziwill persuaded her to stay in her marriage in spite of JFK’s dalliances with other women.