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Jackie Kennedy letters college announces it is to close

President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy as they attend one of five inaugural balls in Washington Image copyright AP
Image caption President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy as they attend one of five inaugural balls in Washington

An Irish college, which abandoned plans to sell letters from the widow of former US President John F Kennedy, has announced it is to close.

The correspondence between Father Joseph Leonard, a priest at All Hallows College, and Mrs Kennedy was due to be auctioned next month.

The college announced on Monday it was withdrawing the items from auction.

It said financial difficulties had forced it to take the decision.

The college, which is a college of Dublin City University, employs about 80 staff.

It said it would be winding down its operations with immediate effect.

Fr Patrick McDevitt, the president of All Hallows College, said the withdrawal of the letters had had a very significant bearing on the decision to close.

The college will now begin a month-long consultation with staff and will endeavour as far as possible to enable existing students to complete their degrees.

Personal feelings

The extremely private Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy wrote to Father Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest at the north Dublin college from 1950 until his death in 1964.

In her letters, she revealed her feelings of happiness in meeting and marrying JFK but also her worries that he might be turn out like her father, a bit of a philanderer.

Image copyright AP
Image caption A picture taken in 1961 of Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

She later revealed her distress at her husband's murder.

The letters also detailed her happiness in her Irish visits before she married into the Kennedy family.

For years, the letters remained undiscovered, as far as the public was concerned, in All Hallows College.

Then the Vincentian Fathers announced they were going to auction the correspondence.

It is thought the letters could have fetched as much as $5m (£2.97m) at auction.

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