Dallas displays Oswald fingerprints, mug shots
From the mug shots police took of Lee Harvey Oswald to the homicide report for the president he was accused of killing, a collection of rarely seen artifacts related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy has gone on display at Dallas City Hall.
The items from the city's Municipal Archives went up for viewing this month ahead of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination as he rode through downtown Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
"Most of the collection has never been displayed publicly," said city archivist John Slate. "Generally, we don't bring them out because of their fragile nature," he added.
The exhibit titled "Code Three: Selections from the John F. Kennedy/Dallas Police Department Collection" will remain on display on the second floor of City Hall through Dec. 9. "Code three" refers to the Dallas police incident code for emergency in 1963.
Slate said that he hopes that the items help show "the enormity of this historical event."
Items on display include a police assignment list for security at Dallas Love Field, where Air Force One landed that day. A page from a small desk calendar from the aviation department from Nov. 22 contains a handwritten note that says, "Parkland, Critical," a reference to the president being taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital after being shot.
Slate said that letters sent to the police department regarding the family of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit, slain by Oswald about 45 minutes after Kennedy's assassination, are particularly poignant. One handwritten letter asks for the names and ages of the three Tippit children in order to send them Christmas presents.
A map drawn by hand of the crime scene where Tippit was killed is also on display, in addition to his personnel record.
Then there are the fingerprints police took from Oswald after his arrest, in addition to the mug shots and fingerprints of Jack Ruby, the man who two days after the assassination shot Oswald to death as police were transferring him to the county jail. Ruby's prints show a missing left index finger, which was amputated in a fight.
Other items on display include a police radio transmitter used that day. It's paired with a microphone and speaker from that era loaned for the exhibit by Motorola.
This month also marks the unveiling of the digitization of more than 11,000 Dallas police documents from the investigations into the deaths of the president, Oswald and Tippit to be included in the University of North Texas' statewide digital library, the Portal to Texas History.