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Lot 194

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Description:

Lee Harvey Oswald ALS Re: Delays in Returning to U.S. & Texas Gubernatorial Election Which Would Bring John Connally to Office

A superb 1p autograph letter signed by Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963), suspected presidential assassin, as "Lee" at lower right. Written in Minsk, the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, on April 22, [1962]. The blue-lined paper is inscribed in pencil. Expected light folds and a few stains verso. Encased in acetate by all accounts done by his mother Magritte to preserve the letter she needed to supply to the Warren commission. A partly typed label from the Warren Commission, number 197, is adhered at upper left. 5.625" x 7.875." Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist; Dr. John K. Lattimer; Charles Hamilton Galleries, Inc. (New York, New York). Accompanied by an impressive sheaf of provenance materials, to be enumerated below.

In full, with original spelling and punctuation:

"April 22.

Dear Mother,

Well as you can see we still have not gotten off yet. the holdup is from the Embassy which is apparanitly trying to get us money from other sourse's than itself for our tickets to the U.S. probably they'll approuch you for money again. don't pay any attention to them.

June is getting big now already 2 1/2 months old. she's real cute I know you'll like her.

Who is mr. Phillips? Since you work at a new place now, do you still have contact with him?

when will the election's for governor be in Texas?

Do you get any word from Pic?

Write soon.

love
Lee."

Lee Harvey Oswald wrote this letter to his mother Marguerite Oswald (1907-1981) in the spring of 1962. This letter is remarkable in that it touches on major underlying themes and influences in Oswald's political and personal life. It was written at a time when Oswald was reevaluating his admiration for the Soviet Union and attempting to return to the United States after having lived abroad for two and a half years. Oswald was incredibly politically engaged during his brief life, not only while in Soviet exile, but upon his return to the U.S. On a personal level, Lee shows an affectionate interest in both his infant daughter June and his step-brother John Edward Pic.

Last, the letter is enriched by a historically ironic reference of then unknown significance. When Lee inquires about the upcoming 1962 Texas gubernatorial election, little did he know that Democratic candidate John Connally would win the election that November, or that Connally too would be in his cross hairs when Lee shot at the presidential limousine in Dallas.

Oswald had surreptitiously traveled to Moscow in October 1959, seeking political asylum there one month after receiving a hardship discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps. Once behind the Iron Curtain, Oswald attempted to denounce his American citizenship and expressed a fervent desire to remain in the Soviet Union. Soviet officials permitted him to stay. Oswald was sent to Minsk, a provincial city located some 700 km southwest of Moscow. There, he was given a job in an electronics manufactory, a subsidized apartment, and financial assistance from the government. Though he made many friends there and dated even more, Oswald chafed at Soviet restrictions. Officials routinely surveilled Oswald and his young family (Russian wife Marina, and their infant June) by using peepholes, magnifying glasses, and listening devices.

A lack of financial resources--combined with the machinations of the complex Soviet bureaucracy--had prevented the Oswalds from returning to the United States. Lee rather cynically states in the letter that the U.S. Embassy was dragging its feet because it didn't want to pay his repatriation fees. Just a few months later, on June 1, 1962, Lee Harvey Oswald signed a promissory note at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the amount of $435.71, or nearly $4,000 in 2020 currency, which enabled him to travel home. (In the spring of 1971, Marguerite Oswald approached the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization, for reimbursement of expenses incurred in Lee's return to the United States nearly ten years earlier.)

In the letter, Lee fondly mentions daughter June Lee Oswald, who had been born just a few months earlier, in February 1962, and also inquires after his older step-brother John Edward Pic (1932-2000).

Provenance

The letter is accompanied by:

- A print-out showing this April 22, [1962] letter as Exhibit 197 of the Warren Commission. "Warren Commission Hearings," Volume XVI, p. 576.

- A cut-out of the auction description from an original Charles Hamilton Galleries sale catalog. The letter was offered as Lot 202 at their May 28, 1968 sale.

- Photocopies of the Charles Hamilton Galleries sale catalog, auction description, and list of prices realized from the sale, with Lot 202 highlighted.

- A photocopy of Dr. John K. Lattimer's original Charles Hamilton sales receipt dated May 29, 1968 listing this Oswald letter. The purchase price was $425. Dr. John K. Lattimer (1914-2007) was a world-renowned Kennedy assassination expert and collector.

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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