University Archives


JFK Assassination G. Ford Signed Copy of 100+ Pages Ruby's Testimony, Ex-Forbes

I read “a small comment in the newspaper that...Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back for the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. That caused me to go like I did....”

GERALD R. FORD, Signed Photocopy of Typed Testimony of Jack Ruby, for President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission), June 7, 1964. Stamped “Confidential” initially, and “Classification Canceled” in January 1975. 104 pp., 8.5? x 11?. Excellent.

Ruby: “I would like to be able to get a lie detector test or truth serum of what motivated me to do what I did at that particular time, and it seems as you get further into something, even though you know what you did, it operates against you somehow, brain washes you, that you are weak in what you want to tell the truth about and what you want to say which is the truth.” (p3)

Ruby: “What State are you from, Congressman?”
Ford: “Michigan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.” (p30)

Ruby: “alongside that letter on the same sheet of paper was a small comment in the newspaper that, I don’t know how it was stated, that Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back for the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. That caused me to go like I did; that caused me to go like I did. I don’t know, Chief Justice, but I got so carried away. And I remember prior to that thought, there has never been another thought in my mind; I was never malicious toward this person. No one else requested me to do anything. I never spoke to anyone about attempting to do anything. No subversive organization gave me any idea. No underworld person made any effort to contact me. It all happened that Sunday morning.” (p56)

Ruby: “I realize it is a terrible thing I have done, and it was a stupid thing, but I just was carried away emotionally.... I had the gun in my right hip pocket, and impulsively, if that is the correct word here, I saw him, and that is all I can say. And I didn’t care what happened to me. I think I used the words, ‘You killed my President, you rat.’ The next thing, I was down on the floor.” (p59)

Ford: “Are there any questions that ought to be asked to help clarify the situation that you described?”
Ruby: “There is only one thing. If you don’t take me back to Washington tonight to give me a chance to prove to the President that I am not guilty [of involvement in the assassination of Kennedy], then you will see the most tragic thing that will ever happen. And if you don’t have the power to take me back, I won’t be around to be able to prove my innocence or guilt.” (p94)

Historical Background
Just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his successor Lyndon B. Johnson appointed House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford to a seven-member “President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.” The commission was chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included two Senators, two Congressmen, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the former director of the World Bank. As a member of the Warren Commission, Congressman Ford had responsibility for preparing a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), the accused assassin. Two days after the Kennedy assassination, Dallas nightclub manager Jack Ruby killed Oswald while he was in police custody, leaving many questions unanswered.

Over the six months after Kennedy’s assassination, Ruby repeatedly asked to speak to members of the Warren Commission, which showed no interest in having him testify. Ruby’s sister Eileen wrote letters to the Commission, which became public, and the Warren Commission agreed to interview Ruby. In June 1964, Warren, Ford, and some staff members of the Commission traveled to Dallas to interview Ruby, producing the testimony in this document. The Commission concluded in its report that there was not a “significant link between Ruby and organized crime” and that Ruby acted independently in killing Oswald.

During this testimony, Ruby repeatedly expressed fears for the safety of his family and of the Jewish people in general. He repeatedly asked for the use of a polygraph or “truth serum” to verify his assertions that he played no part in any conspiracy to harm President Kennedy and that he did not kill Oswald as part of a conspiracy, but rather as an impulsive attempt to prevent Mrs. Kennedy from having to return to Dallas to testify at Oswald’s trial. As Chief Justice Warren and Congressman Ford promised, the Federal Bureau of Investigation scheduled a polygraph test for July 16, 1964. After Ruby’s family and counsel objected, the Commission sent Arlen Specter to represent the commission and explain to Ruby that the Commission was not requesting the test but merely fulfilling its commitment to Ruby. Ruby insisted on taking the test, and on July 18, Ruby answered a series of 56 Yes-No questions, confirming key parts of the testimony he gave earlier to the Commission and recorded in this document.

The Warren Commission interviewed more than five hundred witnesses and submitted its report to President Johnson on September 24, 1964. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, assassinated President Kennedy. The Commission published an 889-page report in November 1964, along with twenty-six volumes of supporting documents.

The evidence and conclusions of the Warren Commission have been the subject of intensive review and examination, and conspiracy theories abound. Some believe that Ford intentionally altered a part of the final report to support the “Single Bullet Theory,” the Commission’s conclusion that a single bullet fired by Oswald penetrated both President John F. Kennedy’s neck and Texas Governor John Connally’s torso and wrist before lodging in Connally’s thigh. Those who support a conspiracy insist that two separate bullets wounded the two men.

In describing President Kennedy’s first wound, the staff of the commission originally wrote: “'A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.”' Ford suggested changing that statement to read: “A bullet had entered the back of his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine.” The final report said: “A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.” Members of the conspiracy community seized upon this change as evidence that the Commission covered up the evidence of two bullets and two assassins in their commitment to the Single Bullet Theory.

Three subsequent U.S. government investigations in the 1960s and 1970s agreed with the Warren Commission’s conclusion that two shots struck President Kennedy from the rear and were fired by Oswald. The last such investigation suggested that another unknown assassin fired at the President but missed, but this conclusion has also been disputed.

Gerald R. Ford Jr. (1913-2006) was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska, but his parents divorced months after his birth, and he grew up in Michigan. His mother married Gerald Rudolff Ford in 1916, and she renamed her son after her new husband. Ford did not legally change his name until 1935. He became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1935 and from Yale Law School in 1941. Ford served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and U.S. Navy during World War II. Returning to Michigan, he became active in Republican politics and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948. He served in Congress from 1949 to 1973, the last nine years as House Minority Leader. In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford as one of nine members of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in October 1973, Ford became Vice President to President Richard M. Nixon. Ten months later, Nixon resigned, and Ford became President. He narrowly lost reelection to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Jack Leon Ruby (1911-1967) was born in Chicago as Jacob Leon Rubenstein into a Polish Jewish family. His childhood was marked by juvenile delinquency and truancy. He was drafted in 1943 and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a mechanic until 1946. After his military service, he returned to Chicago but moved to Dallas in 1947. In Dallas, he shortened his name to Ruby and managed various night clubs, strip clubs, and dance halls. He also became involved in illegal gambling, narcotics, and prostitution. After learning of Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, Ruby was in the Dallas Police Headquarters on several occasions, sometimes impersonating a reporter. Late in the morning of November 24, Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald once in the abdomen with a revolver in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters, and Oswald died fewer than two hours later. Immediately arrested, Ruby was convicted of murder in March 1964 and sentenced to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Ruby’s conviction, but he died of cancer in prison awaiting a retrial.

Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.

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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