Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from Harriett O'Boyle

Object Number: 2007.016.0011
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 Harriett O'Boyle of Dallas after he preached his controversial sermon following the assassination.

Letter is typewritten on plain white paper and reads as follows:

"8114 Santa Clara
Dallas, 18, Texas
Rev. Mr. William Holmes
Northaven Methodist Church
Dallas, Texas

Dear Mr. Holmes:
Bravo! for a citizan who will point his finger at himself (ourselves.) I am sick to death of hearing that "it could happen anywhere." Dallas has long been the climate for ridiculous extremes.
Is it an accident that the day after Gen Walker stirred up the Birch Society with his paranoid garbage that Adelai Stevenson was attacked? I happened to sit next to a Negroe that evening and someone was kind enough to put a "stink bomb" beside us. It seemed to me that the police were so blandly tolerant of the goings-on that they lent tacit approval to the harressment.
If the alledged "cheering in the halls" did not happen (and I am sure that it did), it most certainly could have. Which is worse? My children were told by their schoolmates that "Kennedy was a suspected communist."
And thank you for naming the "Dallas Morning News." A long-time promoter of this right-wing propaganda.
I have friends who would love to support a housecleaning in Dallas, but we need a leader.
Yours truly,
Harriett O'Boyle (signed)
Mrs. Edward J. O'Boyle"

Envelope is type-addressed to:

Rev. Mr. William holmes
Northaven Methodist Church
11211 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas


Mrs. Ed O'Boyle
8114 Santa Clara
Dallas, 18, Texas

Envelope is postmarked: "DALLAS, TEX / 1230 PM / 29 NOV 1963 / 3A" and stamped with a 5 cent U.S. postage stamp depicting George Washington.

There is a red check mark on the front of the envelope.
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