Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from Carol Tagg

Object Number: 2007.016.0144
Category: Documents
Original owner: Rev. William A. Holmes
Type of Object: Letter
Dimensions: 8 x 6 1/4 in. (20.3 x 15.9 cm)
Medium: Paper
Letter sent to Reverend & Mrs. William A. Holmes from Carol Tagg.

Reverend Holmes revealed for the first time in a 2008 program at The Sixth Floor Museum that a teacher in his congregation who spoke to him of schoolchildren cheering upon hearing of Kennedy's death was Carol Tagg.

Letter is handwritten on white stationary and reads as follows:

"December 12

Dear Nancy and Bill,
I think of you every day and marvel at the enormity of the tempest that one phrase can produce. Poor, poor Dr. White - trying to wish it away.
Ann McCollough and I have been sick with guilt because all we seem to be able to do is keep quiet while you take it on the chin. I know how hard it must be for you, Nancy, and the children. You are a courageous lot and it must be a great comfort to you that you spoke when something needed to be said. I'm proud to tell people that I know Bill Holmes.
With admiration,
Carol Tagg"

Envelope is hand-addressed to:
"Mr. and Mrs. William Holmes
9018 Aldwick Dr.
Dallas, Texas"

"3939 Deep Valley
Dallas 34, Tex."

Envelope is postmarked: "DALLAS, TEX. / DEC 13 / PM / 1963" and stamped with a 1963 U.S. Christmas stamp.

A blue post-it note that has been attached to the front of the envelope reads: "Teacher's letter".
Curator's Notes

When I first interviewed Rev. Holmes in March 2007, he was surprised to hear that there was still historical interest in his controversial sermon from the weekend of the Kennedy assassination. He and his wife soon decided to donate to the Museum the collection of more than 450 letters and cards that they received from around the world after excerpts of the sermon were broadcast on CBS.

Although several letters were critical of Holmes, the vast majority supported his beliefs as expressed in the sermon. Holmes was most proud of the letter he received from Christian philosopher Paul Tillich (1886-1965), while his children were thrilled with the letter from actor Hugh Brannum (1910-87), who played "Mr. Green Jeans" on the children's program "Captain Kangaroo."

Carol Tagg's identity as Holmes' source for information that Dallas schoolchildren cheered news of the president's death was a closely guarded secret for more than four decades. Even when interviewed by the Museum in 2007, Holmes declined to name his source. However, with permission from the Tagg family and with Carol's son, Eric Tagg, in the audience, Holmes publicly revealed his source for the first time on November 20, 2008, at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. - Stephen Fagin, Associate 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