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About Mary Ferrell

Mary and Buck Ferrell
video tribute

Mary Ferrell was a woman of rare ability, regarded internationally as one of the most knowledgeable and respected historical researchers of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. She aided many authors and other researchers in their work, and compiled a vast name database and a detailed set of chronologies. Her skills as an investigator and historian were matched by her ability to educate and stimulate those around her. This website is devoted to carrying on her work and spirit.

Mary Elizabeth McHughes Ferrell was born in Memphis, Tennessee on October 26, 1922. She married Hubert Afton "Buck" Ferrell in 1940, and together they had four children. Mary and Buck moved to Dallas with their family in 1957, where she worked for more than thirty years as a legal secretary for a law firm and also in the Governor's office in Houston.

On November 22, 1963 Mary was at work in downtown Dallas. Upon hearing the news of the assassination of President Kennedy, Mary thought the crime would be difficult to solve, and was astounded when the police arrested a man, Lee Harvey Oswald, hardly more than an hour later. Mary had three teenaged sons at home, and she told her husband Buck to place one boy at the loading dock of both papers in Dallas to get a copy of each edition that weekend.

Mary and her boys obtained a complete set of all the editions of the Dallas papers from that weekend, and thus began what turned into a legendary collection of books, newspapers, magazines, reports, and declassified documents, now held by the Mary Ferrell Foundation. Mary Ferrell died in 2004 at the age of 81.

A lifelong inquiry...

Mary's lifelong inquiry brought her into contact with researchers, authors, journalists, law enforcement personnel, the United States Congress, and people from all over the world. Here is what a few of them had to say about her:

"Mrs. Ferrell is rightly known to reporters and researchers around the world for her tireless and meticulous research. She has been personally responsible for important breakthroughs."
- Anthony Summers, from the Preface of Not in Your Lifetime.

"I owe special gratitude to Mary Ferrell of Dallas, one of the most brilliant of the critics, who has amassed a fabulous store of documents on the assassination."
- Henry Hurt, from the Acknowledgments of Reasonable Doubt.

"For three decades, Mary Ferrell has been a guiding star for those who have devoted a part of their lives to pursuing the truth about the Kennedy assassination."
- Gaeton Fonzi, HSCA investigator and author of The Last Investigation.

A quote from Mary

Gaeton Fonzi's introduction to The Last Investigation also includes a quote from Mary herself, taken from her opening remarks to a 1992 symposium of Kennedy assassination researchers in Dallas. Here are her words:

As the thirtieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy descends on us, I am much concerned that we are on the threshold of a failure from which there will be no forgiveness.

We must win this struggle for truth ... and do so very quickly, lest the assassination of President Kennedy flounder on some remote shoulder of highway, in a century whose history is on the way to the printer. In the next century, this case could be relegated to obscure questions on high school history examinations....

Time is our most relentless and uncompromising enemy. But what happens during this conference can make a difference. Of course we will be scoffed at and demeaned by the media and the wagging fingers of Warren Commission survivors, scolding us for refusing to believe the conclusions of these honorable men....

But history teaches us that significant changes are often accomplished by small numbers of people, facing large odds. Many of them have succeeded in defiance of the government.

Thomas Paine, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Washington and their followers represented a tiny fraction in this country's population. As it was with that tiny faction, I have every confidence that you are representative of millions who share your view....That is what keeps us united in our cause. It is a view, according to the polls, which is held by an overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens--that a conspiracy and government-sponsored cover-up blotted out the rights of our citizens and sanctity of the rule of law.

And that is what will forever be paramount among all of the issues which continually dog our deliberations. Issues about autopsy photos, magic bullets, pictures of Oswald which are obviously not Oswald, numbers and styles of coffins, and all the other issues, cannot eclipse the ultimate violation of the rights of citizens in a democracy designed for the people....

If we are truly living in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we'd better damn well prove it now....

     -- Mary Ferrell, November 1992

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