Online Collection

Image of Lee Harvey Oswald in handcuffs at the Dallas police headquarters

Object Number: 1994.003.0024.0002
Category: Photographs
Photographer: Bill Winfrey
Type of Object: Negative (b&w)
Dimensions: 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (5.7 x 5.7 cm)
Medium: Film
Description
Original black and white negative by Dallas Morning News photographer Bill Winfrey. The image shows suspect Lee Harvey Oswald being escorted by homicide detective Elmer Boyd into the third floor hallway of Dallas police headquarters after his first interrogation session with Captain Will Fritz. Associated Press photographer Ferd Kaufman can be seen behind Oswald on the left.

Curator's Notes

Perhaps the most famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald following his arrest, this image by Dallas Morning News photographer Bill Winfrey has been discussed and debated for years. To some, Oswald appears to be making a defiant gesture with his raised fists, perhaps giving a Communist sign. Others believe that the prisoner was showing off his handcuffs to the news media. News film of this instant shows that Oswald's fists were raised very briefly, for less than two seconds, as he was quickly escorted out of Captain Fritz's office. Nevertheless, whenever this image is published in books and magazines, the photo caption typically makes a determination on the meaning behind Oswald's raised arms. - Stephen Fagin, Curator

Dallas Morning News chief photographer Tom Dillard kept many of his unpublished negatives, as did other News photographers.  Dillard also kept negatives taken by other photographers in his department, such as this and several other Bill Winfrey negatives.  Of all the assassination-related images from Dallas Morning News photographers, this one is probably the most famous. - Gary Mack, Curator

All requests for permission to reproduce, publish or broadcast materials in this collection must be submitted to the Museum's registrar, using the Rights & Reproductions Request Form. Inquiries may be sent to registrar@jfk.org.