DescriptionLee Harvey Oswald Archive. An extensive archive of 39 letters (many with the original envelope), totaling 69 pp., written to his mother and brother dated from September 1959 to October 1962. An evocative grouping that collectively provides great insight into Oswald's life and activities in the years prior to his assassination of John F. Kennedy. In fact, 19 of the letters (18 to his mother and one to his brother) were seized as evidence by the Warren Commission. Unfortunately, the letters investigated by the Commission were laminated and many bear the original numbered tags used by the Commission as identification.
In the earliest letter, one page, 6.25" x 9.75", dated Sept 4, , Oswald wrote to his mother regarding his upcoming discharge from the Marines: "Well, I will get discharged Sept 11, and should be home on Monday the 14th, you will probably start receiving my mail as I gave them your home address to forwarding mail too. Keep it for me please. I will still have to be in the In-active reserves for awhile but that only means they will send me a post card every few years. Ha-Ha. Received the birth certificate. . . . Love xx Lee." (All misspellings and ungrammatical language have been retained.) Oswald had enlisted in the Marines in 1956, but had sought an early discharge claiming falsely family hardship; he claimed he had to care for his injured mother. In another letter (n.d., one page, 5" x 8") about his upcoming discharge to his brother Robert, which was likely written during this time: "Well, I just got back off a short maneuver. The C Rations are still lousy, in case you've forgotten. How is the baby and How is Vada? Well, pretty soon I'll be getting out of the corp and I know what I want to be and how I'm going to be it, which I guess is the most important thing in life. . . ."
Upon final discharge from the Marines, Oswald immediately began to plan his migration to the Soviet Union. He had learned rudimentary Russian. Unable to apply for a visa in the United States to the Soviet Union, he submitted applications to European universities (including Schweitzer University, see lot 12231). After spending three days with his mother, Oswald departed for New Orleans, where he boarded a ship for France on September 20. In a letter postmarked Sep. 19, 1959, New Orleans, Oswald informed his mother: "Well, I have booked passage on a ship to Europe. I would of had to sooner or later and I think Its best I go now. Just remember above all else that my values are very different from Roberts or your's. It is difficult to tell you how I feel. I did not tell you about my plans because you could hardly be expected to understand. . . . Lee" The letter has been laminated together with the envelope, and appears clean and highly legible. The letter is addressed in Oswald's hand to "Mrs. M. Oswald / 3124 WEST 5th ST. / FORT WORTH, / TEXAS".
Upon arrival in France, Oswald immediately set upon getting to the Soviet Union. He first made his way to England, and then to Finland where he applied for a visa at the Soviet embassy. Oswald received his Soviet visa on October 14, and promptly departed Finland the next day, arriving in Moscow on October 16. Oswald made immediate his intentions to renounce his American citizenship. The Soviets must have been suspicious of his zeal, because on October 21, Oswald's application for Soviet citizenship was denied. Oswald did not bear the rejection well, and made a half-hearted attempt to take his own life. Soviet authorities cautiously kept him under psychiatric observation at a hospital following this event.
All but one of the remaining letters in the archive were written during his years in the Soviet Union. These particular letters are most interesting because they show his progression from complete enthrallment to Communism and the Soviet Union to disillusionment and paranoia. In an antagonistic two page letter (5.5" x 8", not laminated) to Robert, dated Nov. 8, 1959, he wrote of his passion for the Soviet Union and his hate for the United States: "Well, What shall we talk about? The weather perhaps? Certainly you do not wish me to speak of my decision to remain in the Soviet Union and apply for citizenship here, since I'm afraid you would not be able to comprehend my reasons. You really don't know anything about me. Do you know for instance that I have waited to do this for well over a yea r, do you know that I [in parentheses he has written a small phrase in Russian] speak a fair amount of Russian which I have been studying for many months.
I have been told that I will not have to leave the Soviet Union if I do not care to. this then is my decision. I will not leave this country, the Soviet Union, under any conditions, I will never return to the United States which is a country I hate.
Someday, perhaps soon, and then again perhaps in a few years, I will become a citizen of the Soviet Union. but it is a very legal process, in any event, I will not have to leave the Soviet Union and I will never leave.
I received your telegram and I was glad to hear from you, only one word bothered me, the word 'mistake'. I assume you mean that I have made a 'mistake' it is not for you to tell me this, you cannot understand my reasons for this very serious action.
I will not speak to anyone from the United States over the telephone since it might be taped by the americans. . . ."
Two weeks later, he wrote again to Robert (8pp., 5.5" x 8") on November 26, 1959, elaborating on his negative feelings about the U.S. government. Quoted in small part below:
"I shall begin by anserwing [sic] your question on why I and my fellow workers and communist's would like to see the present capitalist government of the U.S. overthrown. Do you remember the time you told me about the efforts of your milk company to form a union? Try to see why workers must from unions against their employers in the U.S.. It is because the government supports an economic system based upon credit which give rise to never ending cycle of depression , inflation, unlimited speculation (which is the phase America is in now) and war. In this system art, culture, and the spirit of man are subjected to commercial enterprising, religion and education are used as a tool to suppress what would otherwise be a population questioning their government's unfair economic system and plans for war. Science is neglected unless it can be directly used in making war or producing more profit for the owners of business's. These are some of the reasons. look around you, and look at yourself. See the Segregation, see the unemployed and what automation is, remember how you were laided [sic] off at convair? I remember well the days we stood off-shore at Indonesia waiting to surpress [sic] yet another population, when they were having a revolution there in Mar. 1958. I can still see Japan and the Phillipines [sic] and their puppet governments. More important I can see the american in uniforms men who were there because they were drafted or because they were adventursom [sic] or unemployed in civilian life. I will ask you a question Robert. What do you support the American government for? What is the Ideal you put forward? Do not say 'freedom' because freedom is a word used by all people through all of time. Ask me and I will tell you I fight for communism. This word brings to your mind slaves or injustice, this is because of american propaganda, look this word up in the dictionary or better still, read the book which I first read when I was 15, 'CAPiTAl', which contains economic theorys [sic] and most important the 'communist manifesto'. . . . When I talked to a reporter I gave most of my reason's, however the story I found out later was badly slanted and left out my real reason, the reporter was only interested in a colorful story. . . my Marx'ist [sic] learning brought me here to the Soviet Union. I have always considered this country to be my own. . . . These people are a good, warm alive people These people would never think of war, they wish to see all peoples live in peace but at the same time they wish to see the economically enslaved people of the west free. . .
I want you to understand what I say now, I do not say lightly, or unknowingly, since I have been in the military as you know, I know what war is like.
1. In the event of war I would kill any american who put on a uniform in defence of the american government - any American -.
2. That in my own mind I have no attachment's of any kind in the U.S.
3. That I want to, and I shall, live a normal happy and peaceful life here in the Soviet Union for the rest of my life.
4. That my mother and you are (in spite of what the newspaper said) not objects of affection, but only examples of workers in the U.S.
. . . If you would give the contents of this letter (except for that which is for your benefit) to some reporter, it will clarify my situation. . . . Lee"
Oswald's feelings about the Soviet Union took a marked turn, and eventually all content was about wanting to return to America. He met and married Marina and through his letters, he shared his affection for his new bride and their struggles to leave the Soviet regime. He wrote: "[July 14, n.y. but likely 1961, to Robert]. . . . On the 8th of July I and my wife went into the american Embassy, I cannot write you what went on there, because the Russians, read all letters going in and out. But anyway I have the American Passport, and we are doing everything we can to get out. . . . The Russians can be crule and very crude at times. They gave a cross-examination to my wife on the first day we came back from Moscow, they knew everything because they spy, and read the mails. . . . [Dec. 13, 1961, to his mother, laminated and labeled 'Commission No. 187']. . . . I think we'll get together if we finally get back to the states, and maybe we'll be able to settal in Texas. I hope everything is allright with you, why do you change addresses's so often?. . .[Jan. 2, n.y. but likely 1962, to his mother, laminated and labeled 'Commission No. 189']. . . . Well, I have pretty good news we shall receive our visa's about the middle of February, which means we may arrive in the U.S. about the 1st of March. . . . I would like you to. . . get in touch with Red Cross in Vernon, ask them to contact a organization called 'International rescue committee', or any organization which aid's persons from abroad get resettled. There are many such organizations. We need $800.00 for two ticket from Moscow to New York and from N.Y. to Texas. . . ." Content is too extensive to cite, but a full inventory of the letters written by Oswald is posted on our website at www.ha.com/692*1111111 http://www.ha.com/692*1111111 .
Oswald's last letter is a brief note in pencil to Robert, written upon his return to America: "[Nov. 17, n.y.]. . . Dear Robert, In answer to your kind invitation for Thanksgiving we'd love to come and will be in Ft. Worth Thanksgiving morning we shall come by bus and I'll give you a ring on the phone from the bus station. . . ."
Also included in this lot is a compelling correspondence between Oswald's mother, Marguerite, and John Lattimer. Dr. Lattimer had purchased a few of Oswald's letters from Charles Hamilton, and decided to approach Marguerite directly to ensure obtaining all available material in a more cost efficient manner. There are over twenty letters from Mrs. Oswald to Dr. Lattimer, most discussing details of the sale of her son's items, including prices. They date from March 12, 1969, to February 6, 1973. Marguerite was a tough bargainer, and yielded little in negotiations. From various letters: "[June 5, 1969]. . . . Three letters I wish to sell under the same arrangement as before are ---- Comm. No. 186 193 - 196. These are offered toghter [sic] only as a quick sale to you as a private buyer. . . . Please understand that by selling direct I do benefit by immediate cash, but lose out on the publicity of which I also fell [sic feel] is important. . . . [Undated]. . . My price remains the same as quoted to you. There are not many more left, so willhold [sic] onto these if I cannot get my present asking price. Will you please return the copies to me/. . . . Enclosed booklet is salable by me in lots of not less than twenty. I will pay postage. Autographed $15.00 --- with three line comment # 50.00. [a copy of this pamphlet is included] Now those booklets show the other side of the picture, most people saw Kennedy funeral via T.V. and also Wm. Manchester book. You see I believe both sides of the coin should be known. . . . Maybe you could interest a historian to see that my knowledge is put into a book so the public will know what I know." Lee's infamy put Marguerite in a much desired spotlight. This is best exemplified by the odd signature she adopted as seen on a greeting card to an unnamed recipient: "Marguerite Oswald / mother of / Lee Harvey Oswald". She added in a postscript: "Am writing a short book but I do have a deadline to finish. . . ."
Dr. Lattimer, a meticulous researcher, kept all corollary materials associated with the Kennedy assassination, some of which are included in this lot. There is a set of copies of Oswald's letters to brother Robert, all bearing handwritten annotations by Robert explaining the circumstances of the letter.
Also with this lot:
Two vinyl records. 1. LP Record. "Lee Harvey Oswald Speaks!, Recorded Live. The Real Lee Harvey Oswald Revealed in His Own Words, the Man Nobody Knows." In plain-white paper sleeve in original shrink-wrapped album cover. Fine. 2. "The President's Assassin Speaks. Dynamic documentary by Dr. Billy James Hargis. Featuring an actual debate between Communist Lee Harvey Oswald and Cuban freedom fighter Carlos Bringuier as it was broadcast three months before the assassination." Three months before the assassination on August 21, 1963, Oswald had a debate with Carlos Bringuier, a Cuban-born resident of New Orleans, about Fidel Castro on station WDSU out of New Orleans. No paper sleeve, but in original shrink-wrapped album cover, which has one small piece of tape near opening. Fine.
The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Volumes I, (volume II is missing), III, IV, V (two copies), VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, and the Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations U.S. House of Representatives, 1978 and 1979. The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. After investigating through 1978, the Committee issued its final report which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at the president, but that there was "a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy" and that the president "was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy." The committee was unable to identify the other possible gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.
Western Union Telegram (laminated) to Marguerite: "YOURS ELEVENTH ADDRESS INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE IS 251 PARK AVENUE SOUTH, NEW YORK CITY, PHONE OR 4-4200 = ALLYN C DONALDSON DIRECTOR SPECIAL CONSULAR SERVICES DEPT OF STATE. . . ."
Small black and white photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, 3.25" x 4", in an envelope labeled "LEE AT 15 1/2 IN HIS CIVIL AIR PATROL UNIFORM (FROM HIS MOTHER) TO DR. LATTIMER". Trimmed, with a few surface creases.
Official Photostat copy of the search warrant and list of "articles picked up at the Suspect's house" on 11/22/63. Warrant, 2pp., 8.5" x 14"; list, 2pp. 8.5" x 11"
"HANDS OFF CUBA" handbill, n.p., n.d., 6" x 9". One of the handbills Oswald was distributing in New Orleans. Oswald reportedly ordered 1000 handbills, which he distributed in attempts to establish a New Orleans branch of the New York organization Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The distribution of these handbills would result in a public disturbance and Oswald's eventual arrest by New Orleans Police on August 9, 1963.
Marina Oswald signed TIME magazine cover, 8" x 11", cover dated Feb. 14, 1964, featuring Marina's picture on the cover and a story titled "The Warren Commission Probing Kennedy's Death".
"Aftermath of an Execution. The burial and final rites of Lee Harvey Oswald as told by his mother", by Marguerite Oswald. 32pp. 8.5" x 11", Challenge Press: Dallas TX. 1965. A few foxing spots on cover otherwise very good. Filled
with many photos of the family in attendance of Oswald's sparsely attended funeral and copies of the funeral service and arrangement as held at the Miller Funeral Home in Ft. Worth.
Because of the extensive nature of this archive it is strongly recommended that bidders examine the grouping to review both for condition and content. Please visit our website at www.HA.com/692*35178 to view additional images of individual letters and items. From the John K. Lattimer Collection.
Letters from Lee while in the US Marine Corps.
Letter dated September 4 to Mother. With 6.5" x 3.5" envelope. 1 pp. Approx. 6.5" x 10".
Letter Dated: "Sept.". Postmarked September 19, 1959. To "Mother". Laminated with envelope. 1pp. Approx. 6.5" x 10".
Letter addressed to Robert. Not Dated. Approx. 5" x 8"
Honolulu Postcard: Addressed to Marguerite Oswald. Postmarked August 31, 1957. 5.5" x 3.5"
Letters To Robert
November 17. 5" x 8".
November 8, 1959. Moscow. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".
November 26, 1959. Moscow. 8 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.5" x 3.75".
April 12, 1962. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5".
July 14, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".
July 28, 1961. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". Signed Marina, but in Lee's handwriting. With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5".
August 21, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5".
October 22, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".
November 20, 1961. Minsk. 3 pp. 5.5" x 8".
November 30, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".
December 20, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". Laminated. Warren Commission no. 188.
December 14, 1961. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". Minsk. With envelope. 6.25" x 4.25".
January 30, 1962. Minsk. 3 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope 6.25" x 4.25".
September 10, 1962. Minsk. 3 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5".
Postcard: October 5, 1962. Moscow. Approx. 4" x 6".
Envelope addressed to Robert Postmarked in Vernon Texas on December 12, 1961. 6.25" x 4.5".
Letters to Mother
June 1, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5" Both Laminated.
June 25, 1961. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 9.75". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Laminated; Warren Commission no. 180.
June 28, 1961. Minsk. With envelope. Both laminated.
August 3,1961. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 181.
August 19, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". Laminated.
October 2, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 182.
October 22, 1959 (misdated-1961). Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 183.
November 1, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5" Both laminated.
November 23, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 5" x 3.5".Both laminated.
December 13, 1961. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 187.
December 20, 1961. Minsk.1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With Laminated envelope. 6.25" x 4.5".
January 2, 1962. Minsk. 3 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 189.
January 20, 1962. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5" Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 191.
January 23, 1962. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 190.
February 9, 1962. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Laminated. Warren Commission no. 193
February 15, 1962. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 194.
February 24, 1962. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 195.
March 21, 1962. Minsk. 3 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated.
March 28, 1962. Minsk. 2 pp. 5.5" x 8".With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 196.
April 22, 1962. Minsk. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. 6.25" x 4.5". Both laminated. Warren Commission no. 197.
May 30, 1962. Moscow. 1 pp. 5.5" x 8". With envelope. Both laminated. 6.25" x 4.5". Warren Commission no. 198.
Postcard: October 5, 1962. Moscow. 5.75" x 4.25".
Report: Select Committee on Assassinations
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. I
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. III
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. IV
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. V
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. V
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. VI
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. VII
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. VIII
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. IX
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. X
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. XI
Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy-Vol. XII
Album: Lee Harvey Oswald Speaks!
Album: The President's Assassin Speaks
Holiday card signed by Marguerite Oswald(2)
Personal Card penned by Marguerite Oswald
Time Magazine cover featuring and signed by Marina Oswald
Hands off Cuba! Handbill
Oswald search warrant
Official photocopy of the original list of items taken during search of Oswald's house.
Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald at age 15 in envelope. Identified in hand of Marguerite Oswald.
Photo of Marguerite Oswald by the Grave of Lee Harvey Oswald at Rose Hill Memorial Cemetery.
Telegram to Marguerite Oswald. (Laminated)
Booklet: Aftermath of an Execution. by Marguerite Oswald.
Clipped newspaper picture of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald
Cardboard photo of Jack Ruby Shooting Lee Harvey Oswald
Envelope from Joe B. Brown addressed to Mr. Bill Decker
Binder with Provenance.
Folder with correspondence between John K. Lattimer and Marguerite Oswald. Primarily regarding the purchase of letters and other personal items in this archive.
Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Miscellaneous Collectibles, Large (view shipping information)
Sales Tax information | Terms and Conditions
Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments
Glossary of Terms
Buyer's Premium per Lot:
19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.
- Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
- Bid online
- Free Collector newsletter
- Want List with instant e-mail notifications
- Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
- Cash Advances
- More Bidders
- Trusted Experts
- Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
Learn about consigning with us
We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.View More Testimonials
HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)