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Letitia Baldrige, Jackie Kennedy's social secretary, dies at 86

October 31, 2012|By Rebecca Trounson
  • Letitia Baldrige, shown in 1998, worked in U.S. embassies abroad, served as social secretary to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and wrote books and a syndicated column advising readers on good manners.
Letitia Baldrige, shown in 1998, worked in U.S. embassies abroad, served…

Letitia Baldrige, an etiquette arbiter who served as social secretary to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and later wrote books and a syndicated column advising readers on good manners in contemporary America, has died. She was 86.

Baldrige died Monday at a nursing facility in Bethesda, Md., said Mary M. Mitchell, a longtime friend and writing collaborator. Baldrige had severe osteoarthritis with cardiac complications, Mitchell said.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

In 1960, Baldrige was called by Jacqueline Kennedy, a friend from their days at a private girls’ school in Connecticut, and asked to help at the White House. In her new role, Baldrige -- who had already served as an advisor and social secretary to the U.S. ambassadors in Paris and Rome -- would oversee the glittering state dinners and gatherings for which the Kennedy White House became known.

A complete obituary will follow at www.latimes.com/obits.

rebecca.trounson@latimes.com

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