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Recovery of a Collector's Item: JFK Assassination File by DPC Jesse Curry

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"We don't have any proof that Oswald fired the rifle, and never did. Nobody's yet been able to put him in that building with a gun in his hand." Jesse Curry

For quite a few years I couldn't get my hands on an heirloom of a souvenir/ coffee table book, I inherited from a friend (in the late 1980s). Yea, I know, it was lost! It turns out it was underneath some of my teaching ephemera/aids and (haphazardly) stuffed in a remote corner of my closet.

jesse curry retired police chill

The souvenir book was hidden much better than O.H. Lee had supposedly hidden the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that fateful day. At long last the collector's item is back in my hand! *(This document itself acts as a makeshift-backup to the possibility of preservation for posterity.)

By the way, the book is JFK Assassination File by retired Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry (1913-1980). It was self-published by Curry in 1969, is a Limited Collector's Edition, and provides a personal account of what happened in Dallas. While under his watch as Dallas Police Chief, the 35th President was felled by a sniper's bullet, a police officer (J.D. Tippitt) was shot and killed in Oak Cliff, and the alleged assassin himself was popped in the gut in the Dallas Police Basement, during an ill-advised transfer from the city jail to the county jail.

jesse curry

The coffee table book was printed at the American Poster and Printing Company, Inc., 1600 S. Akard, Dallas, Texas 75215, which I'm sure is no longer in operation. The binding has a glossy surface, yet it's still just a paperback book. Nonetheless, it evokes a level of quality, or tender-loving-care, if you will, that hasn't been around for a great many years. Its width is 8 x 1/2 inches, and its length is 11 x 3/4 inches. It has 133 pages, but no index is included. *(Note: It has original illustrations, but the artist isn't credited, as far as I know.)

The artwork on the front and back cover looks like watercolors to me. On the back is a portrait of JFK and Oswald side by side with the Depository Building as a backdrop. A little odd, since it gives you a strange feeling, but it works for me. The front cover has an golden embossed police chief badge, and gives the pristine monograph a personal seal of authenticity, a courtesy of the famous police chief, who got himself in quite a fix that November weekend 48 years ago.

jesse curry oswald and tippet

There are several features to the book that make it an exclusive resource for serious students, curious about the assassination. One feature is some fragments of the police radio logs are reproduced. It's interesting to note that Curry initially told his officers to get up on the overpass and to cover the rail yard area. Attention on the School Book Depository didn't come until much later.

Many important documents from Curry's files are also published. One such document is a statement from eyewitness J.M. Smith, a Dallas Police Officer in 1963. Astonishing! Here's the last paragraph of his statement. "I was standing in the middle of Elm Street from the southeast curb of Elm and Houston Streets at the time of the shooting. I heard the shots and thought they were coming from bushes of the overpass."

jesse curry back cover

The statement is dated July 16, 1964. It's curious that Officer Smith calls the infamous Grassy Knoll 'bushes of the overpass' at this early date. We forget, this was before a huge mythology was created surrounding the picket fence and the sloping knoll of grass, that juxtaposes Elm Street, on the northwest section of Dealey Plaza. Have you ever seen photos of Oswald's belongings, such as his sandals or all of his communist pamphlets?

A chapter list is provided: 1. A Turbulent City, 2. The Security Planning, 3. The Fatal Motorcade, 4. Lee Harvey Oswald, 5.Assassination Evidence, and 6. The Oswald Killing.

This antiquated, yellowing coffee book is a rare and valuable resource that will remain with me until I die. I take it seriously that Jesse Curry believed it was a conspiracy. He was the designated keeper of the evidence, until he had to give it away to the FBI.

Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry JFK assassination- Kennedy Detail - YouTube

John Kays identifies timeless remnants from our past that will endure, or be admired by future generations.

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