Through the generosity of Harold Weisberg (1913-2002), Hood College has obtained the world's largest accessible private collection of government documents and public records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Through the use of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIAPA), Weisberg acquired from the government some 250,000 pages of documents, largely Warren Commission, FBI, Secret Service, Justice Department, and CIA records. The archive also includes about 85,000 pages of FBI documents on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and some material relating to the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Weisberg, an Office of Strategic Services officer during World War II, and later a U.S. Senate staff member and investigative reporter, devoted 40 years of his life to researching and writing about the Kennedy and King assassinations. His first book, Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report (1965), was the first critical study of the government's official version of what happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Seven of the eight books Weisberg published after Whitewash were about the Kennedy assassination. Over time, Weisberg became recognized, both nationally and internationally, as the dean of writers critical of the official version of the JFK assassination known as the Warren Commission Report.
The Library is pleased to note that a large majority of the documents are
available electronically on the Harold Weisberg Archive’s website. This has been made possible through the
indefatigable efforts of one of the Archive’s co-curators, Mr. Clayton Ogilvie, with the support and assistance of our second co-curator, Dr. Gerald McKnight,
Professor Emeritus of History at Hood, and with the technical assistance of Dr. George Dimitoglou of Hood's Computer Science Department.
The collection also holds the records of at least a dozen major FOIAPA lawsuits against the government. Each of these civil action suits is accompanied with appendices of pertinent government documents. One of these FOIAPA cases, CA 75-226, includes the depositions of three FBI agents who were responsible for the Bureau's scientific testing of the weapon and the bullets that allegedly killed President Kennedy, and who conducted the spectrographic and neutron activation analysis of the physical evidence in the case. These lawsuits are a rich documentary depository, providing a unique collection of records on FOIAPA litigation that should be of interest to historians and legal scholars.
The archive includes a voluminous and valuable subject index file which contains Weisberg's collection of contemporary magazine and newspaper clippings, background research, and correspondence with two generations of researchers and writers sharing his interest in the Kennedy and King assassinations.
In addition to his published works, Weisberg wrote about 30 book-length studies that remain unpublished. These manuscripts are in-depth critiques of many of the major published works on the JFK assassination that received some attention by reviewers. All of these critiques are based on the evidence as cited in government documents and are an invaluable guide to the official evidence.
Other document collections housed in the Weisberg Archive (most of which are also accessible through the website) include materials given by David Keck, Raymond Marcus, and Sylvia Meagher.
To schedule an appointment to visit the archive (weekdays only), please call 301-696-3934.