Online Collection

Letter to Reverend William A. Holmes from Harry J. Garrett, Jr.

Object Number: 2007.016.0252
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 of Northaven Methodist Church in Dallas from Harry J. Garrett, Jr. of Dallas.

Letter is typewritten on business letterhead paper and reads as follows:

"Harry J. Garrett & Co.
Investment Properties

1050 W. Mockingbird Lane
Brook Hollow District
Dallas * ME 1-6565

November 1963

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

Dear Rev. Holmes:

I was quite stunned when I heard that you had spoken before a television audience of possibly some fifty million people (which remarks in turn are bound to have reached throughout the world) and stated that the assassination of President Kennedy brought cheers of joy from certain school children in Dallas. Without giving any thought as to whether this is true or not, I am appalled that you saw fit to make such remarks beyond your own pulpit, remarks that are bound to bring tremendous damage to our City.

I think that I know what the intent of your remarks was, but the world at large is not at this hour taking the trouble to delve into your intent. Remarks of this kind made within the confines of your own pulpit would have been far less likely to have reached the out-of-city audience, and I consider what you have done to be the worst possible taste and that it is feeding fuel to an already too hot fire.

All these remarks have accomplished is to further give outsiders the reason to feel that the people of Dallas, and their children, are actually guilty of some of the things that we have been accused of in connection with the assassination of the President.

Even if these children did cheer, and I am not wholly convinced that they did, it is likely that they were either too young to realize what they were doing or perhaps they might have been cheering about a holiday from school. Regardless of any alleged cheering, there was no possible excuse for your having relayed the report to the world. I am appalled that a man of your apparent intellect would have done such a thing, but no retraction that you could make at this time could wipe away what the world has already heard.

I would suggest that you confine yourself to preaching the Word of God from your own pulpit, and assuming that your lectern is not wired for sound. I might add in closing that I was born and reared in the Methodist Church, and I believe that you are a Methodist minister -- so you will not feel that I am in any way an anti-Methodist.

I am sending a copy of this letter to KRLD-TV in Dallas and to the President of the Columbia Broadcasting System in New York City. I hope that these officials will know that every one I have talked to about this matter is stunned that the news media even saw fit to feed it to the world. We have heard a lot about a so-called "shame of Dallas," and I think these remarks are more shameful than anything that has thus far come about in these regrettable experiences of recent days.

Yours very truly,
Harry J. Garrett, Jr. PB (signed)
HJGJr:pb Harry J. Garrett, Jr.

cc: President
Columbia Broadcasting System
New York City, New York

Station Manager
Dallas, Texas"

Envelope is type-addressed to:
"The Reverend Mr. William Holmes
Northaven Methodist Church
11211 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas"

"Harry J. Garrett & Co.
Investment Properties
1050 W. Mockingbird Lane
Brook Hollow District"
Dallas 7, Texas

Envelope is postmarked: "DALLAS, TEX. 3A / 730 PM / 27 NOV 1963" and stamped with 5 cents U.S. postage from a meter.
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