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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.