Tag Archive for JFK

(Digital Collections) Political Maneuvering: Updates and Changes to the Digital Collections, Fall 2015

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Screengrab of portion of the new BCPM homepage, available at http://www.baylor.edu/lib/bcpm

We’re taking the opportunity of this week’s blog post to highlight some changes to one of our partner institutions and – as it directly relates to us – their digital collections.

Announcing the Baylor Collections of Political Materials
Digital Collections!

Our friends at the W.R. Poage Legislative Library recently announced a return to their longstanding practice of referring to their unit as the Baylor Collections of Political Materials (BCPM), housed in the W.R. Poage Legislative Library. Debbie Davendonis-Todd, the Bob Bullock Archivist at the BCPM, sent along this history on the use of the BCPM name:

In 1979, the W. R. Poage Legislative Library Center was established to honor the public service of former Representative and Baylor alumnus W. R. “Bob” Poage. The Center has been home to a number of departments including a unit of the Baylor Libraries focusing on legislative materials. On April 18, 1991 an official name was unveiled: Baylor Collections of Political Materials or BCPM.”

Returning to a previous moniker and launching a shiny new website meant we had a chance to do a little reorganizing of the BCPM digital collections, with some collections relocating into new, thematically-focused curated collections and others receiving updated branding to reflect the Poage/BCPM name change.

The BCPM Digital Collections
These collections, created from materials housed in the BCPM, have been updated to reflect their holding institution’s name change; they can all be accessed from the BCPM institutional page in our Digital Collections site, or via the links below.

Two New Curated Collections

The JFK Assassination Analysis Collection
This collection contains materials related to the ongoing analysis surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Its contents span the spectrum of thought on Kennedy’s murder in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The JFKAAC is comprised of the following collections:

Political Campaign and Propaganda Materials
This collection contains materials related to political campaigning, propaganda and the pursuit of political office, as well as ephemera related to political campaigns. The PCPM is comprised of the following collections:


 

We hope you’ll take a moment to peruse the new BCPM site, and to take a look at the materials in the collections highlighted in this post. We’ll be adding new content from the BCPM in the coming weeks and months, and as new batches are ready for public consumption we’ll be highlighting them in this space. In the meantime, please follow the BCPM’s blog, “like” their Facebook page and check out their Tumblr site.

(Digital Collections) A Diverse Topic Demands A Diverse Collection: The John Armstrong Collection

This is the final installment in our series of blog posts exploring the digital collections related to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. To read the previous posts, click here for part one, here for part two and here for part three.

THE BEGINNING of a life-long obsession can often be hard to pinpoint exactly, but in the case of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it often starts on that blood-soaked day in Dallas: November 22, 1963. Much like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, no one who was alive and over the age of five can forget where they were when they heard reports that the president had been shot while riding in his presidential motorcade as it rolled through Dealey Plaza.

In the decades since that fateful day, many thousands of pages have been written about the event that changed American society forever. They run the gamut between carefully worded, scholarly examinations to full-on philippics attacking the author’s personal bête noir/cause of death. But the common thread that ties them all together is the author’s need for raw material, for the documents, photos, films and newspaper reports that serve as the basis for their various theses, regardless how far-fetched or ponderously grounded they may be.

For sheer scope of content, no other JFK-related digital collections in our care match the range of materials to be found in the John Armstrong Collection. Spanning dozens of notebooks and ultimately tallying more than 2,100 items, the Armstrong collection is a rare peek into the mind and method of a Kennedy author as he works to create his magnum opus (900+ pages and an accompanying DVD of more than 2,000 images).

A typical example of an item from the John Armstrong Collection, which features Armstrong’s notations on a sticky note (at top).

Armstrong spent years filing FOIA reports, photocopying articles from newspapers and generally being an obsessive collector of any and all documentation related to his task.  While some of the material in this collection may be found elsewhere, there is no doubt that the sheer volume of the material available in one place – especially the items that were cleared through FOIA requests – makes it of particular value to researchers.

While the collection has been crawled with OCR technology to make it keyword searchable, users should be advised that due to the nature of the source materials – which include poor quality photocopies of original documents, as well as materials that have been heavily redacted – it is advisable to browse the collection by its well-documented tab- and box-level listings, which are available on the collection’s home page.

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ON FRIDAY, November 22, Americans will pause to honor the memory of a young president, struck down by an assassin’s bullets and ultimately added to the honored rolls of great men lost in their prime. As the nation continues to determine what President Kennedy’s lasting legacy will be even at fifty years removed from his death, we are proud to partner with our friends at the Poage Legislative Library to present these materials to the world so that they, too, can make their own evaluations on the events before, during and after 11/22/63.

For more information on the John Armstrong Collection, visit the Poage Legislative Library’s collection homepage. For more digital collections content from the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, visit our homepage.

(Digital Collections) Extending the Discussion: Penn Jones, “The Continuing Inquiry” and the Uncomfortable Questions About the JFK Assassination

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here, part two here and part three here.

The quest to uncover the “truth” behind the Kennedy assassination (as understood by those who discount the official narrative outlined in the Warren Commission’s report, at least) has drawn legions of adherents almost since the day the fatal shots were fired in November 1963. This has become fodder for comedians and others who lampoon those who embrace a range of theories including the Mob Theory, the Cuban Theory and the Alien Theory. The upshot is that people who present genuinely compelling questions about the case are often lumped in with people who earnestly believe the Israeli government was behind the event.

For those who steadfastly resist toeing the Warren Commission line, there was a powerful voice whose publication presented alternative information about the assassination for more than seven years. From 1977 to 1984, Penn Jones – a World War II veteran and Texan and firebrand author – published “The Continuing Inquiry,” a newsletter dedicated to giving a voice to those whose beliefs about the Kennedy assassination were outside the mainstream.

Masthead of the August 22, 1984 edition of “The Continuing Inquiry”

As part of the digital collections derived from the Poage Legislative Library, the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections contains a run of “The Continuing Inquiry” from the March 22, 1977 issue to the August 22, 1984 issue. These full-text searchable items give startling insight into Jones’ obsession with proclaiming the “real story” behind 11/22/63. It includes illustrations, diagrams, photos and other illustrative techniques designed to refute and/or support the purported version of events being presented.

To learn more about Penn Jones’ life and “The Continuing Inquiry,” visit the Poage Library’s website. Access the Digital Collections’ copies of “The Continuing Inquiry,” visit our website.

We will conclude this series of posts on November 21 with a look at the John Armstrong Collection, our largest collection of Kennedy-related materials.

(Digital Collections) More Than the Sum of Its Parts: The JFK – Other Materials Collection

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here and part two here.

 The impact of the Kennedy assassination can be measured in any number of ways, from changes in government policy to the stain it left on the reputation of Dallas, Texas. Accompanying these shifts in the cultural landscape were reams of documentation and artifacts that were preserved in quantities too small to justify the creation of entire digital collections but no less important for being less in number. For materials like these, we created a “JFK – Other Materials” collection.

“The Truth Letter” – Typewritten, Equal Opportunity Printer of News

Among the more interesting items in this collection are the “Truth Letter” newsletters. Published by Joachim Joesten between 1968-1971, the “Truth Letter” billed itself as “An Antidote to Official Mendacity and Newsfaking in the Press,” as well as a purveyor of “All the News That’s UNFIT to Print.” These typewritten, single-spaced publications were a platform for Joesten’s personal theories, responses to other publications and overall discourses on the subject of Kennedy’s assassination.

“Truth Letter” Vol. I, no. 14 – April 1, 1969

Representations of the “Mainstream” Media

There are several examples of materials drawn from the more prominent outlets of the media included in this collection. Two of particular note at the teletype transcripts of the assassination’s coverage, one from UPI and the other from the AP. These fragile artifacts were the forerunner to Twitter-style updates on a breaking news situation: short, declarative statements with “time stamps” provided a continuous stream of information for reporters across the country.

Excerpt from UPI teletype, November 22, 1963

Newspaper articles make an appearance in the collection via a notebook containing dozens of clipped and pasted articles that form a notebook donated by Robert Cutler. These annotated clippings document mainstream media coverage of the fallout from the assassination, as well as related events like the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition to these materials, the JFK – Other Materials collection provides several one-off items related to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy that did not fit easily into an existing collection, so we encourage you to explore them as you dive deeper into the multifaceted story of November 22, 1963.

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We will continue to highlight additional JFK-related collections throughout October and November as we participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. If you have any questions, please email us at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or visit the Poage Legislative Library’s JFK Materials Website for more information.

(Digital Collections) A View to a Kill: The Jack White Slide Collection Makes Its Case Through Visuals

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues. Read part one of the series here.

It would be easy to assume that an event as well-documented visually as the Kennedy assassination would be immune from multiple interpretations and ambiguities. But anyone who thinks that may change their mind after viewing the materials in the Jack White Slide Collection, part of the JFK-related collections held at the Poage Legislative Library. The result of decades of research by Jack White (1927-2012), the collection contains more than 2,200 slides and photos pertaining to the assassination, including many of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Ad Man’s Quest

Jack White was a native Texan who made his mark in the advertising business, working at several large firms in Fort Worth and opening his own shop in the 1980s. A Navy veteran (1945-1946) and erstwhile journalist, White had a lifelong interest in art, photography and design. During an assignment to write a centennial history of Fort Worth National Bank, White became interested in acquiring historical photos and the preservation of artifacts. This pushed his interest in photography into overdrive and he applied this focus to his acquisition of materials related to the Kennedy assassination.

White’s pursuit of materials and information surrounding the Kennedy assassination led to his producing videos on the photographic studies he created of the event, as well as an opportunity to serve as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film JFK. White also developed a slide lecture – the images from which are featured in this collection – which he presented to students and gatherings related to the assassination.

What the Cameras Saw (Allegedly)

The slides featured in this collection run the gamut from stills derived from the Zapruder film to blurry images taken on cameras seconds after the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza. Also included are personal photographs of Oswald and numerous other personages involved in the investigation, as well as people long thought part of the “conspiracy” around the assassination. The cast of characters shown in this collection read like a “who’s who” of assassination-related men: The Umbrella Man, The Old Tramp, The Cuban and Frenchy all make appearances here.

“The Umbrella Man” and “the Cuban” on Dealey Plaza at time of first shots.

In all, there are 2,276 slides in the collection, drawn from ten carousels’ worth of materials. Major headings in the collection – the titles of which were assigned by White – include “Z [Zapruder] Film,” “Film Enlargements,” “Lee Harvey Oswald” and “The Oswald Problem: LHO2 The Power of Two.”

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We will continue to highlight additional JFK-related collections throughout October and November as we participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. If you have any questions, please email us at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or visit the Poage Legislative Library’s JFK Materials Website for more information. Biographical information on Jack White adapted from the Poage Library’s Jack D. White Materials web page.

(Digital Collections) The Architect, the Assassination and the Conspiracy Advocate: Robert Cutler’s “Grassy Knoll Gazette”

As we approach the 50th commemoration of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, we will be highlighting a number of JFK-related collections here on the Digital Collections blog. The William R. “Bob” Poage Legislative Library has become a hub for materials related to the assassination and its fallout, and we look forward to exposing those collections to a wider audience via the blog, our Facebook page and other promotional avenues.

This week, we explore the Grassy Knoll Gazette, a newsletter written by Robert Cutler and dedicated, per its mission statement, to answering the question, “Who are the murderers of America’s leaders – its Presidents, its Presidential candidates, and who has forced others still not to run for President?”

Robert Cutler: Veteran, Architect, Seeker of Truth

By all accounts, Robert Cutler was a man who did nothing by half measures. A native of Massachusetts, he was a Harvard alum who became an accomplished rower. He served on a team with his brother and three Harvard crewmates in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games (the infamous “Nazi Games”) and remained an avid tennis player throughout his life. Following a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II – where he served in the Pacific Theater – Cutler practiced architecture in New York City, Boston and Manchester, Massachusetts.

Like many of his generation, Cutler became fascinated and deeply moved by the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Cutler became convinced that there was a conspiracy surrounding the assassination and he came to reject the “lone assassin” conclusion of the Warren Commission. He began publication of a newsletter, The Grassy Knoll Gazette, to serve as a showcase for his insights, research and opinions into the “real” events surrounding the assassination.

Cutler also put his architectural and drafting skills to use by creating numerous technical drawings of Dealey Plaza and the surrounding area. These drawings included information on where the principal players in the assassination were said to be located, the trajectories of the bullets that struck the president, and details about the event as related to individual frames of the famous Zapruder film.

One of Cutler’s technical drawings titled, “The Assassination of President Kennedy” / The Quest for Truth

The Grassy Knoll Gazette as Primary Resource

It should be disclosed at the outset that Cutler’s publication makes no bones about its disdain for – and lack of trust in – the findings of the Warren Commission. Cutler uses no-nonsense, at times confrontational language to address his audience of “truth seekers” and he openly questions the “official story” told by politicians in Washington and the American media. As such, it is categorized by some as a fringe publication, but it does contain a fascinating array of alternative theories, provocative questions and a bulldog tenacity for covering stories long after they had passed out of the mainstream media cycle.

The JFK-Cutler Collection contains a full run of The Grassy Knoll Gazette, dating from its first issue in 1977 to its last in 1996, as well as dozens of technical drawings and other illustrations. Each Gazette is keyword searchable but users are advised that the accuracy of the optical character recognition is lower in the issues that are not typeset.

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Visit the JFK: Cutler – Grassy Knoll Gazette Digital Collection for a full list of items.

We will continue to highlight additional JFK-related collections throughout October and November as we participate in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. If you have any questions, please email us at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or visit the Poage Legislative Library’s JFK Materials Website for more information. Biographical information on Robert Cutler adapted from the Poage Library’s Robert B. Cutler page