The newspaper in Jacqueline Smith’s home town of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, covered Jackie’s life and death, and the trial, extensively. Click here for more thorough coverage. Click here for additional photos related to the case.
The Lebanon Daily News interviewed around two dozen people who had known Jackie, including her family, former classmates, neighbors, teachers, and even her dentist. They all described her as a quiet and reserved girl who kept to herself but was pleasant in demeanor.
Jackie was an only child and the center of her parents’ lives.From her first crayon drawings as a child, they saved all of her art work.
An achiever, Jackie was a straight-A student active in the Student Senate and the high school poetry club. She did some modeling locally and was voted best-dressed in her high school class. Her uncle described her as being the only girl who would show up at the high school wearing a cashmere sweater.
Jackie’s art teacher, Julia Weirman, praised Jackie has having imagination and originality and had recommended her for the job she took at Textile Printing and Finishing Company, where she worked for about 18 months after graduating from high school. Jackie had saved money from that job to relocate to New York and finance further art classes there.
Jackie wasn’t part of a clique and usually didn’t join other students in social events. She never dated in high school and never expressed interest in any of the boys at school.
Though the family had lived in a variety of rented houses while Jackie was growing up, Shortly after Jackie moved to New York they bought a small cement-block ranch house that they planned to give to Jackie after she graduated from art school.
Jackie had been hoping to marry Tom Daniel. Her father said that for several months prior to her death Jackie bought cooking utensils and other things for the house in anticipation of her marriage. Ever trip Chester Smith made to New York, Jackie would send him back to Lebanon with more things for her “hope chest.”
The Smiths had been planning to visit Jackie in New York over Christmas and meet the man she was hoping to marry, but Jackie told them she and Daniel had other plans for the holiday and asked that they come after Christmas.
Conrad Gersuny, who had dated Jackie before she met Daniel, told reporters he had urged her to move back home to Pennsylvania because she was “too nice for this city.”
- “Jacqueline Smith Described As Quite And Reserved By Friends,” Lebanon (PA) Daily News, January 12, 1956