One of the more desired of the newspapers reporting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has always been the “Dallas Morning News“, published in the city where he was killed. Unbeknownst to most–including us for many years–is the curious obituary found on page 6 of the last section. Inconspicuously listed among the 33 entries in the “Deaths & Funerals” section is the one shown in the photo. It is a paid obituary notice inserted by a private funeral home announcing the death of an American president. The O’Neal Funeral Home handled President Kennedy’s remains in Dallas and furnished the casket in which he was sent to Washington. Although certainly not a local funeral, I suspect the funeral home sought the opportunity to gain some stature & credibility by letting all know they handled the remains of a President of the United States.
Has anyone else discovered this obituary notice?
And of note as well, relating to the Kennedy assassination, is the death notice of “J.D. Tibbit”, the police officer killed by Oswald shortly after the Kennedy assassination. In fact it was for Tibbit’s death that Oswald was initially arrested, the connection to Kennedy’s assassination discovered afterwards.
Fifty years ago this week my older sister and I came in from carving Matchbox-car-sized roads through the previously well-manicured turf of our backyard to find our mother staring at the semi-snowy, partially visible screen of our black and white television with tears streaming down her face. Not being prone to such outward displays of emotion, her anguish screamed to us that something tragic had happened. This moment was emblazoned in our minds for life… and was reinforced days later when she took us by the hand to lead us on the long trek to the railroad overpass a few miles from our home to peer over the edge to watch a train draped with a flag pass under our feet. President John F. Kennedy was dead! While at the time my sister and I had no idea whether or not he was a good president (for to a child, all presidents are good), one thing we knew for sure, something vanished from people’s eyes which has yet to return – American innocence.
As we reflect on this snap-shot of innocence lost, we wonder where it all began – that is, the overwhelming common-man devotion which inspired many to “Ask not what your country can do for you…”. When did the admiration of the crowd begin? Was it when he was proclaimed a WWII hero as the Captain of PT-109, or did it spring-forth from his impact as a Massachusetts Representative with his first political election victory? While it may be hard to sort out how he had become so beloved, one thing is certain: a split-second in time along a Dallas street changed everything.
Feel free to share your “memory” of November 22, 1963.
To commemorate this historic moment (November 22, 1963), we’ve assembled a host of “assassination-report” newspapers from all over the country. They are viewable at: JFK Assassination.
Always in the search for the most dramatic front page on the John F. Kennedy assassination, this issue of: “The Michigan Daily–Extra” of Ann Arbor, Nov. 22, 1963 (see below) just might “take the cake”. Have you seen a better front page? Feel free to share.
Although newspapers reporting JFK’s assassination were saved by many, one issue which would have no reason to be saved, yet offers some interesting content relating to the assassination, is the “Dallas Morning News” of November 22, 1963. Although it was the day he was assassinated, being a morning newspaper it obviously has no mention of the horrible event, but rather is focused on Kennedy’s visit to the city.
The headline reads: “Storm of Political Controversy Swirls Around Kennedy on Visit“. At the bottom of the front page is a map of the: “Presidential Motorcade Route”. It also includes the controversial full page notice by the: “The American Fact-Finding Committee” which is very critical of President Kennedy (see photos). This has become a rather well-know–and much desired–report in a period newspaper.
Also of curious interest–and only to be found in a Dallas newspaper–are two inconspicuous advertisements to be found on facing pages inside. One is for the ‘Texas” movie theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested (trivia: he was watching the movie “War Is Hell”: see photo) and the facing page has an advertisement for the “Carousel”, the night club owned & operated by Jack Ruby (see).
Because this issue had no reason to be saved, it is very rare today despite offering some great content relating to John F. Kennedy.
The “New York Journal American” newspaper of Nov. 22, 1963 did this “Extra” edition reporting Kennedy’s assassination. Making this issue a bit of a curiosity is the photo which accompanies the headline, as it shows a smiling Lyndon B. Johnson, a laughing Mrs. Johnson, and a smiling Jackie Kennedy. The photo was almost assuredly planned to accompany another story about their visit to Dallas but that edition was interrupted to quickly produce this “Extra” with the breaking news of the assassination. The photo was not replaced in the haste of getting the edition on the streets, producing this rather bizarre photo/headline combination which gives the appearance of a joyful reaction to the news that JFK had been assassinated.
One of the interesting opportunities newspapers present is the ability to read news with hindsight. The early edition of the “Dallas Times-Herald” newspaper of Nov. 22, 1963 (see below), the edition prior to the later edition reporting the assassination, has much coverage of JFK’s visit to Texas and the excitement around his planned visit to Dallas later that day. One ironic headline on the front page reads: “Secret Service Sure All Secure” with the article providing much detail on the security efforts to make for a safe visit to Dallas.