The Day Kennedy Was Shot

After the tragic assassination of President Kennedy, Bishop quickly resolved to write a book on the subject in the format of his famous "day" series of books. Bishop began research on the book almost immediately, beginning his work the Sunday after Kennedy's assassination. After five years of exhaustive research, in which he read over 16 million words on the subject including the entire Warren Commission Report, The Day Kennedy was Shot was finally published, five years to the day after the assassination. Over the course of his research, Bishop composed 25 notebooks each filled with research notes. 24 of the notebooks corresponded to the events that occurred within each hour of the day of the assassination, while the 25th notebook was filled with extra material that Bishop would use throughout the book. The notebooks were filled with newspaper clippings, transcripts of police interviews, and diagrams of various locations, along with notes written by Bishop himself. In addition, Bishop was able to secure the only interview with President Lyndon Johnson and his wife Ladybird about their perspective of the events that occurred on the day of the assassination.

    Throughout the course of the book's production, Bishop was locked in a bitter feud over the publication of the book with Jacqueline and Bobby Kennedy. Jackie Kennedy tried to prevent Bishop from doing research for the book, demanding friends of the Kennedy family not accept any interview requests from Bishop. She also sued Bishop's publisher, Funk & Wagnalls, in an attempt to block publication of the book. Jackie had picked William Manchester to write a book on Kennedy's assassination, and she wished to prevent other versions of the book that she could not supervise from being published. Ironically, Bishop had suggested to Jackie that she pick a writer to write a version of the assassination book that she would approve of, but he only made the suggestion because he believed Jackie would pick him to be her writer. Due to this, literary reviewers often depicted Bishop's book as the "Johnson version" of the assassination, while Manchester's book was depicted as the "Kennedy version".    

Much of the content that was published in the final version of the book is present in Bishop's research notes. In writing the book, Bishop remained quite faithful to the research material he had collected, deviating little from his notes. He does, in a few parts of the book, expand on, or speculate about, the thoughts or feelings of some of the figures that the book follows. But this speculation is not drastic, and is often based on something which Bishop recorded in his notes. Bishop takes this artistic license in order to ensure that the narrative of the story flows smoothly. It is likely that  Bishop's other speculation is based on those interviews, as well. Unfortunately this cannot be confirmed, as the transcripts from these interviews have not survived. In addition, Bishop did not interview the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald, and it is unknown why he did not. Oswald's mother gave interviews to many other journalists, and it's likely that Bishop could have obtained an interview with her. Her exclusion from Bishop's research is an anomaly within the otherwise thorough research that he conducted.   


Description of Collection:

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [maps]

Physical Description:

Three maps of the City of Dallas with blue marks drawing Kennedy's route through town. Map of Fort Worth on the reverse side with marks in blue ink.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [picture]
1 picture  20 x 25cm

Physical Description:

Black and white picture of John F. Kennedy with the Bishops.  Kennedy is sitting in his rocking chair.


The Kennedy Was Shot    [newsclippings]
1 file

Physical Description:

Publishers' Weekly.  Sept. 26, 1966.  Bishop Plans Kennedy Book Despite Family's Objection."

Buffalo Courier Express.  Oct. 2, 1966.  "Kennedys Invoke Censorship."

Olean Times Herald.  Oct. 18, 1968.  "Jim Bishop's Book to Get Premiere at Bona."

Buffalo Courier Express.  Nov. 23, 1968.  "Bishop Says Jackie Opposed Book."

Allegany Citizen.  Nov. 28, 1968.  "New Jim Bishop Book Released at University."

Buffalo Evening News.  11-9-73.  Titled "JFK Remembrance set for Nov. 21 in City Hall."

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [pink sheet]
1  21.5 x 28cm

Physical Description:

This is a pink sheet of paper with drawing of President Kennedy's route and the position of cars and motorcycles and a note see p. 147.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [book jacket]
59.5 x 23.5cm

Physical Description:

Book jacket for 'The Day Kennedy Was Shot'.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [photocopies]
9 sheets  40 x 46cm

Physical Description:

These are photo copies from newspapers that were on microfiche.  They are enlarged from negative prints.  On the side is the date 22 Nov 22.  7:20am is in pencil on the side.  The telephone number of Harold Krieger is on the back of some of the sheets.  Three of the sheets are from The 'Dallas Times Herald' 11-22-Fri 1963, four sheets are from Thur Nov. 21, 1963, and two from Sat 23, 1963.  On the Nov. 23 sheet is the note 'also see p.69-Aldous Huxby in Cal.'.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [draft]
5 leaves  43.5 x 34cm

Physical Description:

This is a draft of the title page from Vincent Torre, 10 East 39 St. New York 10016.  The draft is done in pencil and the rest is stamped in red in the lower left corner.  There is a title page, part title and page layout, single and double.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [galley]
360 sheets  20.5 x 60cm

Physical Description:

"Author's 1st Proof Mark corrections and answer queriers on this and return this proof" Aug. 2, 1968".  This is stamped in green on every page.  There are very few corrections, deletions, or insertions but when done they are in blue pencil, pencil, and blue ink.  There are three different initials in the lower right corner on every page.  The third page on to the end has 'OK to REPRO' stamped in blue.  There are little pieces of green paper stuck to the back of almost every sheet.  They appear to have been stuck to the back and folded over to the front. The front part has been torn off.  There is a draft of a Parts Title done on parchment paper and clipped to the back of the front sheets.  Parchment paper is 23 x 28.5cm. There are two pages per sheet.  Accession number 32412 is written on some pages in blue ink.  The last nine sheets are the index.  There are two pages per sheet except 1st sheet.  There are no marks on these sheets.

The Day Kennedy Was Shot    [notebooks]
19 notebooks     15 x 22cm

Physical Description:

These are small, three hole, black notebooks filled with research notes.  A majority of the pages are typed and the rest are scrapbook style.  Text from other sources is cut and pasted onto the sheets to make a page.  Each notebook covers a time period such as 7:00am to 7:59am and so on.  About half are done this way and the rest are assigned a month and a year.

The Day Kennedy was Shot    [typescript]
750 leaves  21.5 x 28cm

Physical Description:

There are a lot of marks on all the pages.  However, they seem to be printer's and editor's marks.  The printer's marks are done in pencil and the editor's marks are done with blue pencil and red pencil.  The page insertions are numbered with a number and a letter.  Several pages are left blank for additions to be made later.

Key from Hotel Texas, Room 850
Room key with attached fob.  Acquired by Bishop when he stayed there during research on the book. (2008-002)

The Day Kennedy Was Shot   [correspondence]

See Miscellaneous-Kennedy materials

described by Rayola Appleby
Introduction by Colin Bearer, archival intern, Fall 2012.

For information about the Jim Bishop Archives contact:

telephone: 716.375.2322

Friedsam Memorial Library
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778 USA
Telephone: 716.375.2323
Fax: 716.375.2389
Information Desk: 716.375.2164;

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last updated: 14 November 2012 nec