Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from Mr. & Mrs. Ed Curran

Object Number: 2007.016.0245
Category: Documents
Type of Object: Letter
Dimensions: 11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm)
Medium: Paper
Description
Letter sent to Reverend William A. Holmes of Northaven Methodist Church in Dallas from Mr. & Mrs. Ed Curran of Dallas, Texas.

Letter is typewritten on thin typing paper and reads as follows:

"November 27, 1963

Dear Sir:

Your action in issuing a statement for nationwide television on the Walter Kronkite news program which could only result in more ridicule and criticism for Dallas is so distressing and so unworthy of a minister that I feel compelled to write to you.
The events of last weekend stunned and shocked us all and now the nation and especially the citizens of Dallas must re-examine our aims, ideals, and principles. Now is the time for patience and tolerance not histrionics and name-calling. Now is the time to form a stronger, better Dallas, but we cannot begin to do this until all our citizens, especially those in a position to lead other people, will act with dignity and restraint (underlined).
Why not comment instead upon the grade school children whose teachers led them in prayer upon hearing of the President's death, or upon the thousands of Dallas people who thronged to memorial services in sincere sympathy and in a genuine quest for guidance in a time of terrible crisis?
Your remarks, thoughtlessly made, were unwarranted, unkind, uncalled for, and unnecessary. What about love and hope and charity? Love for your fellowman, charity to forgive him his errors without needlessly calling attention to them, and hope for a better, more moral city to emerge from this tragedy.
The cause of a repentant city and the church which you purport to serve would have been better served if you had perhaps spoken to those school children and told them why their actions were wrong and inappropriate. We believe that the duty of a minister is to lead people not misguide (underlined) them.
If my children had acted the way you did I would have called it "tattling." Perhaps this word applies to adult action just as well.

Sincerely,
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Curran (signed)"

Envelope is type-addressed to:
"Rev. William A. holmes
9018 Aldwick Drive
Dallas, Texas"

From (on back):
"Mr. and Mrs. Edward J. Curran
5614 W. Stanford Ave.
Dallas 9, Texas"

Envelope is postmarked: "DALLAS, TEX. 3A / 500PM / 29 NOV 1963" and stamped with a 5 cent U.S. postage stamp depicting George Washington.
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 registrar@jfk.org.