Henry Martin Jackson was born May 31, 1912 to Peter Jackson (formerly Gresseth) and Marine Jackson (née Anderson), both Norwegian immigrants. He was the youngest of five children, Gertrude being the eldest, followed by Arthur, Agnes, and Marie Jackson. Agnes died of infantile paralysis shortly before Henry's third birthday. Henry was estranged from his brother, Arthur, but was very close with both his mother and sisters. Gertrude and Marie never married, and lived together with their mother at 3602 Oakes Street in Everett throughout most of their adult lives.
Peter Jackson was a profound influence on Henry's early life, instilling in his son a pride in their Norwegian heritage, and encouraging Henry's professional ambitions, often accompanying the young Congressman on visits to public works projects around Washington state. The loss of his father in 1948 hit Henry particularly hard, but became a catalyst for him to become even more serious about his political career. Henry's mother, Marine Jackson, was active in the Lutheran church during Henry's childhood and taught her children tolerance and compassion toward all, an ethic that informed Henry's later international travels,as well as his stance on issues of civil rights and human rights.
In 1961, Jackson met Helen Hardin, the receptionist for Senator Clinton P. Anderson, of New Mexico, while riding in an elevator in the Senate Office Building. Their engagement was announced on November 29, 1961, in the Capitol Hill paper, Roll Call. Henry M. Jackson and Helen Hardin were married in the Central Methodist Church in Helen's home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on December 16, 1961.
Henry and Helen Jackson had two children, Anna Marie, born in 1963, and Peter, born in 1966. In 1967, the family moved from the old family home in Everett to their new home at 1703 Grand Avenue, where Jackson would reside when Congress was not in session. They were joined there by Jackson's two sisters, Gertrude and Marie.
For Jackson, his family remained of central importance. He always managed to make time for them, whether he was supporting Peter in his Boy Scout troop or delivering a speech during Anna Marie's high school graduation, even as he worked and campaigned tirelessly on behalf of regional, national, and international issues that concerned him and his constituency most.
Kaufman, Robert G. 2000. Henry M. Jackson: a life in politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Ognibene, Peter J. 1975. Scoop: the life and politics of Henry M. Jackson. New York: Stein and Day.
Prochnau, William W. and Richard W. Larsen. 1972. A certain Democrat: Senator Henry M. Jackson; a political biography. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.