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The University of Texas at Austin


Briscoe Center Acquires Seth Kantor Papers
Journalist accompanied JFK in Dallas, questioned Warren Commission

November 15, 2013

Book jacket for Who as Jack Ruby? by Seth Kantor

The Briscoe Center has acquired the papers of print journalist Seth Kantor, who was deeply involved in coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy. Kantor was traveling in the White House press bus behind the presidential limousine as the motorcade made its way through downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963. He authored the book, Who Was Jack Ruby? (1978), which questioned official accounts of the assassination and remains a valued piece of investigative journalism.

"The Kantor Papers join other important collections at the center that shed light on the events around the assassination of President Kennedy," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "The 50th anniversary of this tragic event is upon us, and the center's collections are open to scholars, students, and members of the public who wish to research the topic."

Seth Kantor was born in New York in 1926. He served in World War II and worked for the Detroit bureau of the Associated Press during college. From 1957 he was a reporter in North Texas, first with the Fort Worth Press and later with the Dallas Times Herald.

Kantor arrived at Parkland Hospital while Kennedy was receiving medical care and testified before the Warren Commission that, while there, he entered into a conversation with Lee Harvey Oswald's murderer, Jack Ruby. Ruby later denied having been at the hospital and the Warren Commission accepted Ruby's position over Kantor's protestations. In his book, Who Was Jack Ruby? Kantor posited, among other things, that the Dallas police had allowed Ruby into the jail basement where Oswald was being held specifically to kill Oswald.

The Kantor Papers include draft versions of Kantor's publications, research notes, photographs, news clips, correspondence, ephemera from the House Committee on Assassinations, and cassette recordings of his personal remembrances and journalistic interviews. His papers are housed alongside the Dallas Morning News Kennedy Administration Editorial Records, 1961–1963; the John F. Kennedy Collection, which contains memorabilia concerning Kennedy's visit to Texas; the Henry B. Gonzales Papers, which include the congressman's effort to establish a congressional committee to investigate the assassinations of Kennedy and Martin Luther King; and the Shel Hershorn Photographic Archive, which includes photos of Lee Harvey Oswald and of Dallas after the assassination.