Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from James E. Sheldon, Jr.

Object Number: 2007.016.0030
Category: Documents
Original owner: Rev. William A. Holmes
Type of Object: Letter
Dimensions: 11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm)
Medium: Paper
Letter sent to Reverend William A. Holmes at Northaven Methodist Church from James E. Sheldon Jr. of Mount Tabor, New Jersey.

Letter is handwritten in blue ink on plain white paper and reads as follows:

"November 27, 1963

In reference to your appearance on Walter Cronkite's news program last night, let me say that you possess an amazing amount of courage.
It would be hypocrisy for me or any one else not living in the city of Dallas, to sit in judgement on it. However, for someone as well acquainted with the emotions of the populace of the area as you are; to call the shots as you see them; takes all the intestinal fortitude that God has given you.
What this country needs now, is more men like yourself, who are not afraid to speak the truth regardless of the discomfort it might cost you and your family. Many thanks from a fellow American, and may God bless you and your family.
James E. Sheldon Jr."

Envelope is hand-addressed in blue ink to:

"Rev. William Holmes
Northwood Methodist Church
Dallas, Texas"


"J.E. Sheldon Jr.
31 Fletcher Place
MT. Tabor, New Jersey"

Envelope is postmarked: "MONTVILLE / NOV 27 / 3 AM / 1963 / N.J." and stamped with a 5 cent postage stamp depicting Cordell Hull.
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." - 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