Marking JFK anniversary, GPO releases digital Warren Commission report

November 18, 2013

The Government Printing Office on Monday marked the upcoming 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death by releasing the  official, digital version of the Warren Commission Report into his assassination.

** FILE ** President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address after taking the oath of office at the Capitol in Washington in this Jan. 20, 1961, file photo. During this historic speech Kennedy wagged his index finger as he said,
President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address in 1961. (Associated Press)

The release includes the 888-page report as well as the 26 volumes of hearings conducted by the commission, and contains numerous photos, maps and diagrams from the scene in Dallas where Kennedy was slain.

While portions of the report have been digitized previously by libraries, the GPO release marks “the first time the complete, official version has been made available,” said Gary Somerset, a spokesman for the agency.

The commission, established soon after Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and chaired by U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, concluded in its controversial report released in the fall of 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot the president. But the report’s findings have been challenged over the years, including by a House select committee in the 1970s.

The GPO printed nearly 235,000 copies of the report when it was completed in 1964, and 5,600 sets of the hearings.

“It was a monumental job for GPO,” said Somerset, who added that the printing took more than five months and included strict security measures to prevent leaks.

The digital version was made from a copy of the report at Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library, a federal depository library.

“The publication and dissemination of the Warren Commission Report is an example of how GPO has adapted to technological changes during the last half century,” said Davita Vance-Cook, public printer for the GPO.

Somerset said the idea developed from discussions earlier this year about how to mark the anniversary. “We knew that obviously there would be a reviewed interest in the report with the anniversary,” he said.

 

Steve Vogel is a reporter for the national staff of The Washington Post who covers the federal government and frequently writes about the military and veterans.
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