An Archive of Letters and Statements from Physicians Who Tried to Save President Kennedy’s Life
[JOHN F. KENNEDY.] Archive of nine items related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy from the perspective of doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital, ca. 1980s-1990s. All in very good condition, housed in protective sleeves.
Immediately after Lee Harvey Oswald fired two bullets into President John F. Kennedy, the presidential limousine sped away to Parkland Memorial Hospital, a distance of just over three miles. The limousine and police motorcycle escort arrived at the hospital at 12:38 p.m., eight minutes after leaving Dealey Plaza. For the next twenty minutes, doctors worked feverishly to save President Kennedy’s life but pronounced him dead at 1:00 p.m. A few minutes after 2:00 p.m., Secret Service agents removed President Kennedy’s body from Parkland over the objections of hospital personnel and transported it to Air Force One to be flown to Washington.
Two days later, Parkland was the scene of the death of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been shot by Jack Ruby at the Dallas Police Headquarters. Just over three years later, in January 1967, Parkland was also the scene of the death of Jack Ruby, incarcerated for the murder of Oswald and awaiting a new trial.
Items and Excerpts
Malcolm Perry, “Historical Letter on JFK assassination,” Typed Letter Signed, ca. 1982. 2 pp., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“I appreciate your problem in trying to assess all the many things that have been written about those tragic events in 1963. I regret that I can be of so little help to you, but I testified before the Warren Commission about my findings as best I could and 19 years have not improved my recall. The basic problem centers on the fact that when I saw the President he was in agonal respiration and it was necessary to immediately perform certain procedures if we were going to successfully resuscitate him.”
“I did not have time to check the clock but I was told later that we worked on him for about 20 or 25 minutes before I gave up.”
“It’s also of interest to me that there are a number of people now claiming to know a great deal about our attempts to resuscitate Mr. Kennedy, and yet to my knowledge they weren’t there during the procedure or at best just peeked in the room while we were working. Also, many of the people who were there now claim to know much more about it than they did when they gave their deposition and I can’t understand that either, since I don’t know what their source of new information is. I personally have learned nothing new since then and am certain that I have forgotten a lot of things that I testified to in Washington. All in all I have serious doubts about the accuracy and the importance of those things which are currently being written, since many of them in my opinion are based on flimsy evidence, nonexistent data and hearsay.”
Robert N. McClelland, Autograph Letter Signed, to Mr. Wilson, June 17, 1994. 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“I was on duty at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day President Kennedy was assassinated.”
Robert N. McClelland, Printed Copy of President’s head wound, signed by McClelland in 1998. 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
Robert N. McClelland, Autograph Response Signed, to printed question, “After all these years, what memory is most vivid?” 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“Seeing Mrs. Kennedy kiss the President’s bare right foot as she left Trauma Room One at Parkland Hospital after the President had been pronounced dead.”
Robert N. McClelland, Autograph Response Signed, to printed question, “The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman and that he fired 3 shots at President Kennedy from an elevated 6th floor window of the Texas School Book Depository Building. Based on the injuries you observed at Parkland; Do you accept the Commission’s findings?” 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“Based on my Parkland experience and the Zapruder film, I think the President was first shot in his back from behind and the second shot was fired from in front of him from behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll.”
Robert N. McClelland, Autograph Response Signed, to printed question, “The Warren Commission concluded that President Kennedy was shot from behind by Lee Harvey Oswald. However, many witnesses standing on the grassy knoll claim that a shot came from behind the fence. Based on your observations of President Kennedy’s wounds, what is your opinion?” 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“As I saw it, President Kennedy was first shot from behind with the bullet exiting the front of his neck low on the right side. Several seconds later, he was shot in the head from the front (this bullet killed him).”
Robert N. McClelland, Autograph Response Signed, to handwritten questions, “Based on what you witnessed at Parkland Memorial Hospital; what was the scene like surrounding the removal of Pres. Kennedy’s body by the Secret Service? Was it hostile? Was the removal protested?” 1 p., 8.5ʺ x 11ʺ.
“Dr. Rose, the forensic pathologist at Parkland Hospital, objected orally to the Secret Service agents about removing the President’s body but they ignored Dr. Rose and left with Presidents body.”
Photograph of diagram of location of wounds on the back of Kennedy’s body. 1 p., 6.5ʺ x 8.5ʺ.
Photograph of Jack Ruby in front of his Carousel Club with two female employees. 1 p., 6.5ʺ x 8.5ʺ.
Malcolm O. Perry (1929-2009) was born in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1951. He graduated from Southwestern Medical School in 1955, completed an internship, then joined the U.S. Air Force for two years, during which he was stationed in Spokane, Washington. He worked at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where he was one of the doctors to attend President John F. Kennedy. Later, he rarely spoke of the assassination. He served as chief of vascular surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan from 1978 to 1988, then as a professor in the Department of Surgery at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, in the early 1990s. He was later a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Robert N. McClelland (1929-2019) was born in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his medical degree at the university’s medical school in 1954, then spent two years in Germany as a medical officer in the U.S. Air Force. McClelland completed his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in 1962, and joined the faculty of the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, where he spent his entire career. He was among the physicians who attended President John F. Kennedy after he was shot. McClelland was showing a film to a group of students and residents when he received news that President Kennedy had been brought to Parkland. McClelland retired from Southwestern Medical School in 2007. He was an outspoken critic of the findings of the Warren Commission and insisted that two assailants shot President Kennedy.
From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.
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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