DescriptionLee Harvey Oswald Christmas Card Inscribed and Signed. Oblong folded and embossed color Christmas card, 5.5" x 4", n.p. [Minsk], n.d. [early December 1961]. After 15 months in the Soviet Union, Oswald had grown disaffected with life in Russia, and his wish to become a citizen of the USSR had soured. By February 1961, he began communicating with the American Embassy, hoping to enlist their help in returning to the United States, but this would be a long and involved process, and he was told to go back to his life and his job and wait for news. On March 17, 1961, Oswald attended a trade union dance in Minsk, where he met a beautiful 19-year-old pharmacology student named Marina Prusakova. He courted her aggressively and a month later they were wed. By the first of December, Lee's frustration over the Soviets' failure to award him an exit visa led him to send a letter to the American Embassy asking them to lie for him and claim he was being held against his will by Soviet authorities. Of course the American authorities refused.
A few days after writing to the American Embassy, Lee and Marina sent this Christmas card to Lee's mother, Marguerite, in Fort Worth, TX. The front of the card bears an embossed color image of pine boughs and pinecones surrounding a clock that strikes 12 o'clock, and a holiday greeting in Cyrillic. The blank interior bears the following inscription by Oswald: "Merry Christmas, Dear Mother, from us both. Lee." It is also signed by Marina Oswald, in Cyrillic. The card has been laminated in flexible plastic and bears a sticker on the back identifying it as an exhibit from the Warren Commission: "Commission No. 186." In fine condition.
Less than a week later, December 11, 1961, Oswald was fired by the Belorussian Radio and Television Factory in Minsk, citing careless and unsatisfactory work and a negative attitude/demeanor as reasons for letting him go. Almost miraculously, two weeks later on Christmas Day, the Oswalds were granted passports and exit visas, and within a few short months they were on their way to Texas. The Christmas card is accompanied by the Original Transmittal Envelope, accomplished in Lee's hand and bears what appears to be a return address written in Russian in another hand, probably Marina's. Several ink Soviet postal marks on recto; U.S. postal mark on verso dated December 12, 1961. Laminated in flexible plastic by the Warren Commission. Envelope is in very good condition. From the John K. Lattimer Collection.
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