By Alicia Kubas and Karen Carmody-McIntosh
Recent news coverage has focused on a trove of newly available documents related to the 1963 assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. In October 2017, the U.S. National Archives released about 2,800 previously classified documents to researchers and the public. Anyone can now access these records online.
The tragic event took place more than 50 years ago; November 22 is the 54th anniversary.
About 88 percent of materials – millions of documents – related to the JFK assassination have been publicly available since the late 1990s. However, thousands of documents remained fully or partially withheld due to security concerns from U.S. intelligence agencies.
About 300 documents remain classified and are currently under review.
JFK assassination records
Freely Available News Articles
- CNN: Will Trump Allow Release of Final JFK Assassination Documents? October 6, 2017
Gives background and context to why the documents had not been released in the past and the prompting to get them released.
- New York Times: JFK Files Released, Highlighting Hoover, L.B.J. Among Others, October 26, 2017
Points out some interesting documents found so far.
- CNN: Trump releases some, but not all, JFK assassination records, October 27, 2017
Explains why some 300 documents are being withheld/redacted and what the procedure is for releasing these remaining files
- President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection
Warren Commission Report and Hearings
Congressional Record eulogies and tributes
- NARA The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection
Includes 2017 release documents and what has been released in the past
Includes background on the collection and a search portal (that’s rather terrible)
- FAQs related to the records and JFK assassination
Included in NARA’s website, but worth pointing out separately
Questions include: Can I see the rifle or other artifacts? Can I view Mrs. Kennedy’s Pink Suit? Can I access the Autopsy Report?
- FBI Press Release Update on the Release of the FBI’s JFK Assassination Files, October 30, 2017
Why there are still a few documents being withheld
- The Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies. Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. United States Senate. April 23, 1976
Report about how the JFK investigation was handled by federal intelligence agencies and their relationship to the Warren Commission
Widespread conspiracy theories
Despite evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald acted on his own to kill the president, the JFK assassination has spawned a variety of conspiracy theories. Some recent news coverage and polling sheds light on the way Americans think about these events.
- FiveThirtyEight: Most People Believe In JFK Conspiracy Theories
FiveThirtyEight conducted a poll in October 2017. They share and explain their results in this article.
- New York Times: The J.F.K. Files: Decades of Doubts and Conspiracy Theories
A New York Times journalist has compiled information about the history of JFK conspiracy theories.
University of Minnesota Libraries expertise
The following librarians can provide you assistance in seeking additional source material on this subject:
- Alicia Kubas, Government Publications & Regional Depository Librarian
- Rafael E. Tarrago, Librarian for History, Political Science, and Iberian, Ibero-American & Chicano Studies