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About the Archive

The Mary Ferrell Foundation Archive is the largest searchable electronic collection of materials related to the JFK assassination. It includes both primary and secondary sources:

  • Documents - Over 1,300,000 pages of scanned reports and documents, more than half declassified since 1997. See the Document Archive FAQ for more information.

John F. Kennedy Assassination

  • Warren Commission: Warren Report, 26 volumes of Hearings and Exhibits, executive session transcripts, Warren Commission Documents
  • Garrison Investigation: Clay Shaw trial transcript, Orleans Parish grand jury transcripts
  • Rockefeller Commission: Report and selected documents
  • Church Committee: 14 published reports, over 100 interview transcripts
  • House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA): Final Report, 12 appendix volumes, executive session transcripts, interview transcripts
  • Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB): Final Report, medical testimony and exhibits, 1995 and 1996 CIA and FBI releases
  • FBI: Headquarters files on Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, Mexico City Field Office File on Oswald, Headquarters files (HSCA Administrative Folders series). Subjects files
  • CIA: Russ Holmes Work File, HSCA Segregated CIA Collection, LA Div Work File
  • Department of Defense: JSC Central Files, Taylor Papers, Wheeler Papers, Lemnitzer Papers, Califano Papers (Vietnam, Cuba)
  • State Department: FRUS volumes
  • Dallas Police: Papers of Capt. Will Fritz
  • Other Agencies and Committees: Documents from President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), Pike Committee, White House Communications Agency (WHCA)
  • National Archives: finding aids, miscellaneous declassified documents
  • LBJ Library: phone call tapes and transcripts
  • Ford Library: Files of John Marsh/Richard Cheney

Martin Luther King Assassination

  • House Select Committee on Assassination (HSCA): Final Report, 13 appendix volumes
  • FBI: MURKIN files

Robert F. Kennedy Assassination

  • Trial of Sirhan Sirhan: Trial transcript, appeal documents, Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
  • FBI: Los Angeles Field Office files
  • LAPD: LAPD Special Unit Senator files
  • Multimedia - Collections of photographs from the JFK Library and National Archives, Warren Commission and HSCA photos, video clips of experts, motorcade films, recorded audio of Presidential phone calls and investigative interviews.
  • Books - Hundreds of books spanning more than four decades to search, rate, and review.
  • Essays - More than 400 essays provide expert analysis on all aspects of the assassination cases and other topics on the website.
  • Journals - Complete back issues of Kennedy assassination journals in electronic form.
  • Projects - Innovative and interactive projects explore key aspects of historical evidence and make the archive come alive.
  • Comments - Comments may be attached to archive materials, and may be browsed and searched. Read what others have to say, and contribute your own thoughts.

Sources of materials in the Archive

  • Books come primarily from the collections of Mary Ferrell and History Matters, supplemented by donations from other private collections.
  • Essays are gleaned from the vast archive that is the internet. The MFF also publishes essays directly on this website.
  • Journals come from the journal publisher. Our archive currently includes Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, published by JFK Lancer Productions and Publications, Third and Fourth Decade journals published by Jerry Rose, and Dealey Plaza Echo, a publication of Dealey Plaza UK.
  • Projects were developed by individuals such as Mary Ferrell and Stewart Galanor. Our CIA Cryptonyms project is participatory, with members contributing.
  • Comments come from our members.

What you can do using the Archive

This website features sophisticated tools for browsing and searching the materials in the archive. Books and essays can be sorted by title, author, or other means. Documents are arranged in a hierarchy which loosely matches the filing system employed at the National Archives.

We also encourage you to enhance the archive by adding useful comments to the materials within it. Books and essays may be reviewed and rated, and comments may be attached to individual pages in documents. These comments may include embedded links to help point readers toward related materials. See How to Comment for more information.

Feeding the Archive: How we process materials

  • Scanning - Paper-based materials such as documents, books, and journals are first scanned into image files on a computer.
  • OCR - Next, optical character recognition is done to find the searchable text within the image of each page.
  • Indexing - Indexing is the process of adding titles, section markers, cataloging information, and other metadata to each document.
  • Upload and registration - Materials are then uploaded to our web server and registered into the database program operating there. The searchable text is added to our master search index.

About the website technology

The content of the Mary Ferrell Foundation website is delivered in a open format to encourage the widest audience possible. We use several technologies from the Apache Software Foundation:

Web server
The web server is httpd.
Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages
Apache Tomcat runs the Mary Ferrell Foundation's custom archive viewing, navigation, and commenting engines.
Lucene provides Java-based indexing and search technology.

We manage authored content with MediaWiki. MediaWiki gives us the ability to update the authored portions of our site in realtime, and opens the possiblity to encourage direct participation in the continuing work of the Mary Ferrell Foundation web site.

We convert the original TIFF scans of documents in the archive to PNG or JPEG format using ImageMagick. No special applications are required to see the scanned archive pages, other than a web browser.

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