4 JFK Assassination Teletypes From Merchant Ship
A small group of four original teletype rolls reporting the assassination of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. The news bulletins were received at sea by a merchant ship subscribed to a transportation news service. Provenance information includes photocopies of some of the transcripts, as well as newspaper clippings related to the recent sales history of similar assassination transcripts at auction.
While transportation news services primarily reported port conditions, weather forecasts, market activity, and the like, they also reported general news. Consequently, information about Kennedy's shooting trickled in between commodity price reports for such items as sugar, coal, grain, ammonium sulfate, fertilizers, cotton, and scrap metal. The disconcerting juxtaposition between the extraordinary (assassination news) and the ordinary (market prices) is jarring but realistic. A merchant mariner perusing the teletype that day would have experienced the same mixture of horror and disbelief. The teletype rolls are ephemera in the truest sense of the word; these daily bulletins were read and then nearly always discarded.
The media outlets that produced the teletypes were Western Union Telegram and United Press International (UPI) as transmitted via Transportation News Ticker, Inc. of New York. (A firm of the same name, Transportation News Ticker (TNT), specializing in transportation-specific news, still operates today by monthly subscription service.) Two of the teletypes were printed in turquoise ink on cream paper and two of the teletypes were printed in black on manila colored paper. Expected wear includes gentle curling, minor isolated chipped edges, closed tears, holes, water stains, edge discoloration, and color smear or bleed-through, else very good to near fine. The teletypes average around 8.25" wide and range from 36.25" long at the shortest to 63.25" long at the longest.
Teletypes were typed quickly by hand and sent via telephone lines to newsrooms (and vessels) across the country and the world. As such, their transcripts contain numerous spelling errors, factual errors, and typographical errors, all mistakes testifying to the fact that the reports were transmitted in as close to real time as 1963 technology would allow. Information is received in scraps, later confirmed, retracted, or expanded by minute-by-minute bulletins. The result makes riveting reading. Current events merge into the historical record before our very eyes.
The lot is comprised of:
1. UPI teletype roll measuring 8.375" x 42.5." The teletype reports that Kennedy was just shot and speculates on whether the president is still alive.
In part, with original spelling:
"Add President Kennedy shot
Blood was spattered over the limousine, which had been flown in specially to carry the president in a welcoming parade. The driver was Secret Service man Bill Greer.
Mrs. Kennedy apparently was safe. Mrs. Connally also was safe, it appeared. Both women were stunned.
Kennedy, according to a member of his staff, was still alive at 12.55 PM CST…"
2. UPI teletype roll measuring 8.25" x 63.25." The bulletins confirm that Kennedy was indeed dead; that a suspect was arrested; that Dallas Police Department police officer J.D. Tippit was killed; that Lyndon Johnson was sworn-in; and that the suspect was identified as Lee Harvey Oswald.
In part, with untouched spelling:
"Add President Kennedy Assassinated
The shooting occurred as Kennedy and his wife, riding with Gov. Connally and Mrs. Connally, were riding in the White House 'bubbletop' limousine through a crow of 250,000 people, in downtown Dallas.
As it neared the tirple underpass leading toward the Trade Mart where Kennedy was to address a lunch, three bursts of gunfire sounded…
President Kennedy was shot at approximately 12.30 P.M. CST /1.30 PM EST/ and died at approximately 1 P.M. CST /2 PM EXT/. H was the fourth U.S. President to be killed in office…
The Chief Executive, first Roman Catholic President of the United States and in Dallas on a politicking mission for a second term, was smiling broadly as he rode through downtown streets.
'Then that awful look crossed his face,' said a man at curbside only 15 feet away.
The identity of the assassin or assassins was not immediately known…
Assassin Suspect Identified
Dallas, Nov. 22 - UPI -- Police today seized Lee H. Oswald, identified as chairman of a 'Fair Play for Cuba Committee,' as the prime suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Police said Oswald, 24, was accused in the slaying of a Dallas policeman shortly after the shooting of the president.
Police Capt. Pat Cannaway said the suspect was an employe in the building where a rifle was found.
Cannaway said the suspect had visited Russia and was married to a Russian. This was not immediately confirmed…"
3. Western Union Telegram teletype roll measuring 8.375" x 36.25." The teletype confirms that both Kennedy and Connally were shot and receiving medical treatments; and reported that markets, including the American Stock Exchange, had been shuttered.
In part, with original spelling:
Governor John Connally of Texas was also shot. It as still not known whether either was killed.
Latest reports from Dallas say that both Pres Kennedy and Governor Connoly are alive and undergoing treatment in the emergency room at the hospital…"
4. Western Union Telegram teletype roll measuring 8.5" x 40.5." News reports confirmed the death of Kennedy; reported Johnson's swearing-in; and surveyed international reaction from the Vatican and Kremlin.
In part, with untouched spelling:
"Kennedy Dead '''''''
This report emminated from a priest at the hospital we awaiting confirmation ''''
Washington confirms President Dead '''''
John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before defeating Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election by a narrow margin. He was the youngest person elected to the presidency, as well as the only Catholic president. Lyndon B. Johnson's Executive Order 11130 issued on November 29, 1963 announced the appointment of a "Commission to Report Upon the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy." The 7-person task force was commonly known as the Warren Commission after its Chairman, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. Though the commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter, many conspiracy theories still surround Kennedy's assassination.
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This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.
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