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Z_CNHI News Service

March 6, 2007

Town unlikely home to Kennedy assassination documents

IPSWICH, Mass. — It's not in Dallas, where the assassination took place.

Nor is it in the John. F. Kennedy library in the capital of his home state. And you won't find it in our nation's capital, either.

No, the largest archive of Kennedy assassination-related documents in the world is up a flight of stairs in an unremarkable office - with a business card stuck in the door frame to identify it - over the Choate Bridge Pub in downtown Ipswich. The pub's frying oil leaves a pungent scent, the smell perhaps a metaphor for what some think was left behind after what they consider the biggest cover-up in history.

The Mary Ferrell Foundation is dedicated to carrying on the work of the Dallas legal secretary whose suspicions about Kennedy's assassination began the moment Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for it. It became an obsession that lasted until her death seven years ago, by which time she had amassed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents related to Kennedy and his assassination, along with books, magazines and newspaper articles.

"She ended up being one of the hubs of research," said Rex Bradford, the foundation's archivist. She was the person writers and historians studying the assassination turned to, he said.

Bradford, a resident, is the chief reason the foundation is headquartered in Ipswich.

After Ferrell's death, an anonymous benefactor who lives in Boston bought her vast collection. Bradford was a well-known archivist in the circles of assassination buffs, so Ipswich seemed a natural choice.

Theoretically.

The events that began in Dealey Plaza in Dallas at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, and those that followed, probably constitute the most investigated murder in history. One presidentially appointed commission and a House committee pored over every detail of the assassination, as did uncountable private investigators, amateur and professional.

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