The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


JFK Letters

After the announcement on Nov. 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, letters to Dallas’ Mayor, Earle Cabell, started pouring in. The letters ranged from sorrowful love for the city of Dallas to deep, enraged hatred toward the events that took place here. SMU’s own DeGolyer Library archives this historical treasure trove. The Daily Campus has read through the letters and will showcase some of them in a series to run three times a week leading up to the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. These letters are verbatim, please excuse spelling and grammatical errors.

Earle Cabell jpeg.jpg
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, Earle Cabell Papaers, Mss16

Dear City of Dallas:

This last July, my family and I were in your city for three days. We fell in love with Dallas because of the friendly people we met there, in our Motel, in the restaurants and even along the highway, while we were riding in our car. These gestures of genuine, sincere friendship when one is away from home, cannot ever be forgotten!..

Dallas, beloved city, if I could only hold you in my arms now and comfort you as you did me, I would crawl down there to you on my KNEES — right this very minute! Look up Dallas — you are not to blame! WE ALL ARE, every single American that breathes. This could have happened ANYWHERE! You just happened to be the spot where all of the bad Past came to a head. From all of this, good will come. And you will lead the way! I know, because I know you Dallas!


My love to you,

A woman from Portland, Oregon


Dear Sir:

Years from now when I reconstruct to my now infant son, the tragic sequence of events of the last few weeks including the death of President Kennedy, the kidding of his murderer, the wounding of your govenor, the associated bloodshed, and the spating upon of Mr. Stevenson, you may rest assured that when my son asks ‘how could so much happen in one city’, I shall reply, ‘because Dallas thinks of Dallas first and of America second.”

Your city has become a blemish on the complexion of human civilization. I wish to never visit you again and shall sever all contacts that I have with your city.

These crimes are upon the hands of your city officials. Congratulations… you and your city will live forever in infamy.

A man from St. Louis, Missouri, Nov. 1963


Dear Mayor Cabell:

The happenings in our fair city the past few days have been most harrowing and to say the least nerve-wracking.

I want to compliment you on your address today before the City Council. There were words of wisdom and should come to all people as an “oil on the turbulent waters.” I am sure that your message will have a good effect on all our citizens.

What happened was something that was beyond anyones control, and I feel that the police department, under Chief Curry, did everything that was humanly possible to forestall the tragic events that befell us. I sincerely hope that all of our citizens will meditate on the events that befell us and that we have learned a lesson and that we show our learning by not trying to undermine those who give us our fine protection.

Respectfully yours,

A man from Dallas, TX


Dear sir,

What kind of a stinking police department lets a strip-tease, criminal record man, kill, without any attempt to stop him??

Dallas must be a low corrupt city of the worst kind.

You invite the murder of a President.

It is to be hoped you and your kind are given the punishment you deserve.

A person and city as low as you and Dallas will no doubt pay any attention to this.

Likely Oswald was killed to silence him.

A man from Oliphant, Chicago, Nov. 24, 1963


Dear Dallas,

Do not grieve along, in shame.

Other cities have known sorrow,

But are not to be blamed, simply,

Because they were there.

Washington lost its Lincoln,

But today we still love her temples and gates.

Tokyo planned a Pearl Harbor,

But today we still love her gracious people.

Berlin bombed London,

But today we stand ready to shed our blood

To defend her walls.

Jerusalem crucified our Lod,

But today we still kneel in worship toward her hills.

You are not to be blamed, simply,

Because you were there.

Your sorrow is our shame!

It is the price of sin.

Keep on being, your own proud self.

We love you still.

A male student from Andrew’s University, Barrien Spring, Michigan, Nov. 25, 1963

More to Discover