Civil Rights Era Archive relating to U.S. Deputy Marshal Dick Bagby (1933-2003) of Dallas, TX, including letters from President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General. Subjects include the Ole Miss Riots and the Montgomery Bus riots, which Bagby helped quell, mafia violence, and more. The JFK letter, dated December 6th, 1962, praises Bagby for his actions at Oxford, Mississippi on Sept. 30, 1962, when violence broke out after James Meredith was admitted as the first African American student at Ole Miss. Kennedy writes, "Your actions that difficult night were in the highest traditions of the dedicated men and women who serve in law enforcement. The courage and dedication which you demonstrated while in great danger prevented a serious and tragic incident from becoming a disaster for our country. Had you failed, our country would have suffered irreparable damage… Sincerely, John Kennedy" (autopen signature). Also includes the envelope for the presidential letter to Bagby and a copy of a "Statement from the President given by telephone at Marshals ceremony in the Attorney General's office Oct. 4, 1962," expressing gratitude for "the tremendous job you did and the attacks to which you were subjected." Note: The registration of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi was a watershed moment in the Civil Rights movement and for President Kennedy. It forced his administration to use Federal military power to enforce Civil Rights in overriding Mississippi's governor, Ross Barnett, who blocked Meredith's efforts to enroll at Ole Miss. Attorney General Robert Kennedy called in federal marshals to escort Meredith on campus, but on the nights of September 30th and October 1st, the marshals, including Bagby, were besieged by a crowd of thousands that turned violent in their protests. The ensuing riot resulted in 2 people dead, 166 injured. 79 of the 127 Marshals Service personnel were injured. President Kennedy ordered 16,000 military policemen to restore peace on the Ole Miss campus. 1st RFK letter: Robert Kennedy signed letter and photograph, also relating to the 1962 Ole Miss incident. In this eloquent TLS, dated December 11, 1962, Robert Kennedy references Bagby's injury sustained during the riots: "I would like to express my gratitude to you for your performance at Oxford. You and your colleagues conducted yourselves with good judgement in the face of crisis, with restraint in the face of great provocation, and — as your injury attests — with real courage in the face of great danger. You have made a great contribution to the attainment of equal rights for all our citizens and to the rule of law in our country. I want you to know I am deeply grateful." 10 1/2" H x 8" W. Envelope included. (Note: similar letters from both JFK and RFK to another U.S. Marshal injured in the riots, Ernest Mike, were sold by our auction house in October, 2012. ) 2nd RFK letter: Robert Kennedy signed typed letter dated August 7, 1961, thanking Bagby for his role in restoring order after the Montgomery, Alabama bus riots of May 20, 1961. Bagby was one of 400 U.S. Marshals called into service after a mob of white persons attacked a racially mixed group of bus riders in Montgomery, Ala. 10 1/2" H x 7 5/8" W. 3rd RFK letter: Typed letter signed by Robert Kennedy dated January 10, 1962, "I am especially glad you were able to take part in the deputy U.S. Marshal training class at the Donaldson Air Force Base recently. I feel these classes are extremely important in preparing our marshals to meet any emergency that might arise…" 10 1/2" H x 8" W. Bagby Archive: Leather bound album with various letters and news clippings from Bagby's career in law enforcement. Includes a copy of a June 2, 1961 letter from Alvin Goldstein, Special Assistant to the Attorney General (Robert Kennedy) to Clive Palmer, executive assistant to the Deputy Attorney General, praising Bagby for the "exemplary manner" and "splendid attitude" in which he assisted in the prosecution of mobster Paul John "Frankie" Carbo. Also includes 8 x 10 black and white photos from newspaper stories on cases in which Bagby was involved; newspaper clippings (some showing Bagby walking with suspects); a black and white photo of the Texas School Book Depository with print date Nov. 22 1963 (date of JFK's assassination); and a copy of a letter written by Bagby applying for a position with the U.S. Marshal Service. Bagby writes that he was 13 when his mother died and he and his brother were placed in Boys Ranch in Copperas Cove, Texas. He completed his high school education through a correspondence course, joined the Marines, and was honorably discharged in 1953. He began working for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department in 1955 and held several positions within the department before going to work for the U.S. Marshal Service. Also included is a handwritten letter from his ex-wife, who compiled and kept this scrapbook for their son, with biographical information. Provenance: By descent from U.S. Marshal Dick Bagby to current consignor. CONDITION: All items (particularly newspaper clippings) with toning, Kennedy letters otherwise excellent. Chipping and some losses to newspaper clippings; job application letter from Bagby missing large section, upper right.
Lot 638: Archive of 25 Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Admin. Items Previous Item Lot 640: 14 Roosevelt/Truman Admin. Items, incl. Signed Photos Next Item